UVA’s Stanger has secured PGA Tour card, but wants to finish Korn Ferry strong

By Harry Farley
JerryRatcliffe.com Correspondent

Photo: jimmystanger.com

Virginia Golf alumni Jimmy Stanger has had his best season on the Korn Ferry Tour this year, capturing his first career win, and is in the highest position on the standings of his career.

Stanger currently sits in 7th on the Korn Ferry Tour Standings with 1,041 points and has essentially locked up his PGA Tour Card for the 2023-24 season.

His first career win came at the Compliance Solutions Championship in Norman, Oklahoma on June 25. After posting a final-round 66 — including a tournament-winning birdie on the 18th hole — Stanger finished at 22-under par.

When discussing the win, Stanger emphasized how much it meant to get his first professional victory.

“I think it’s a huge weight off my shoulders,” Stanger said. “I mean, I’ve had something like 14 or 15 Top 10s outside of that win on this tour over the years. I’ve been near the top, but it’s just never happened where I’ve ended up winning a tournament. And when that happens so many times you start wondering if it’s ever going to happen.

“To actually get the win to finish the tournament, and for them to say that [I was] the champion, incredible. I mean, it’s really been since college that I had a big win like that where it was just in a sense life changing.”

At Virginia, Stanger was wildly successful, becoming the first player in program history to earn first-team All-America honors. He also became the third Cavalier to win the ACC individual championship.

He gives credit to Virginia coach Bowen Sargent, who Stanger says taught him the importance of not only strong wedge play, but true hard work and dedication on and off the course.

“[Sargent] taught me the importance of hard work and understanding. You’re not going to get much out of this game unless you’re willing to put the time and effort into doing so…We’ve stayed in touch over the years, so I’m really thankful for that relationship with him,” Stanger said.

Stanger explained how after five years of pursuit to get to the PGA Tour, he really sharpened his focus this offseason and honed in on the little things. He finished 78th in 2018, 41st in 2019, 50th in 2020, and 40th in 2022 — consistently knocking on the door each season but unable to secure a spot on the PGA Tour. 

“I had five years of experience kind of doing the same thing frozen, just missing onto the PGA Tour… I really just tried to take a look at my habits and see what I could do better, see the areas that I could be a top-25 golfer in my practice or in my sleep or in my diet,” Stanger said.

That heightened attention-to-detail has clearly paid off, as Stanger achieved his first career win, which capped off an incredible run of 8 straight top-30 finishes from April to June. 

While Stanger is excited to finally make the PGA Tour next season, the Korn Ferry Playoffs take place over the next several weeks and he is focused on finishing the year out strong and competing for more titles.

“The mindset doesn’t change when I win or whenever I get the PGA Tour card. It’s still what are the little things that I can do right day in and day out. That will lead to success down the road and the mindset for the next, you know, five, six weeks or four tournaments is that same idea…I just want to see progress and continue to grow in those areas and trust that the results will follow.”

The Korn Ferry Tour also has plenty of Virginia alumni, which has been a great support network for Stanger. Ben Kohles, another former Virginia golfer, currently sits at the top of the Korn Ferry standings and will also be joining Stanger on the PGA Tour next season.

[Ben’s] a heck of a player and a great guy. It’s been a blast kind of getting to know him better on this tour,” Stanger said.

Other notable Cavalier alumni also competing on the Korn Ferry Tour include Thomas Walsh (No. 41 in the standings) and Danny Walker (No. 106 in the standings).


Stanger will compete in one last regular-season event this weekend in Omaha, Nebraska, at the Pinnacle Bank Championship. Then, the playoffs start with the Albertsons Boise Open in late August with the top 156 players and conclude early October with the Korn Ferry Tour Championship, which will include the top 75 golfers and no cut. 

With Stanger and Kohles joining the PGA Tour next season, three Cavalier alumni will now be on the PGA Tour, with Denny McCarthy having truly solidified his role on Tour this season. McCarthy has enjoyed feverish success this season en route to currently sitting at 25th in the FedEx Cup Standings.

Stanger mentioned that while he’s thrilled to be able to compete on the PGA Tour in the 2023-24 season, he will miss some of the niche parts of the Korn Ferry Tour that make it so special.

“There are less people following us but those who do are really dedicated and passionate about it. So, it feels like a family even as players where we’re competing against each other, but in a sense, we’re cheering for each other to do well. I want to go beat my friend, but I want to beat him when we’re both playing good golf and I want to see us both succeed and get to the PGA Tour,” Stanger said. 

Stanger and other Virginia alumni will have plenty of opportunities to compete for titles, both toward the end of this season on the Korn Ferry Tour and next season when Stanger will make his PGA Tour debut.