SAVANNAH, Ga. – Jonathan Brightwell had just opened the final stage of Korn Ferry Tour Q-School with a scorching 7-under 64 on Thursday when his phone buzzed.
The text message was from Matthew Wolff: Great playing, man!
Wolff and Brightwell played at rival colleges, Wolff for two years at Oklahoma State and Brightwell for a season at Oklahoma, but they became friends after Brightwell joined Oak Tree National in Edmond, Oklahoma, which is home to many tour pros, including Wolff, Viktor Hovland, Talor Gooch and Kevin Tway.
Some 800 miles away in Playa del Carmen, Mexico, Wolff took the first-round lead with an eye-popping 10-under 61, yet he still had time to send Brightwell a word of congratulations. Brightwell led the 72-hole qualifying event, where the top 40 and ties earn at least eight guaranteed starts, by a shot.
“We were both pumped,” said Brightwell after a second-round, 2-under 68 Friday on the Magnolia Course at The Landings Club that kept his one-shot edge. “He’s busy during these weeks, but he reached out and I sent him something back. He’s a great friend. … We’ve got five or six buddies from Oak Tree here. He’s just checking on all of us, and I know we’re all checking on him.”
Full-field scores from the Korn Ferry Tour Qualifying Tournament
Brightwell, an imposing figure at 6-foot-5 and a skilled ball-striker, has worked hard to shore up his putting before Q-School. He’s grooved his starting lines better, which has allowed him to focus more on his speed and limit pulled putts. He shot 6-under 65 in the final round at second stage to advance comfortably, and the flatstick continues to bring good fortune in Savannah.
“I had a good look on every hole coming in,” Brightwell said. “That was huge.”