The youth movement is alive and well in Cabo.
Billy Davis, a 17-year-old junior golf phenom, will make his PGA TOUR debut at this week’s World Wide Technology Championship, contested for the first time at Tiger Woods’ El Cardonal at Diamante in Mexico. Davis stands at No. 2 on the Rolex AJGA Rankings, with four top-six finishes in his last six starts, and he is set to play college golf at Auburn beginning next fall alongside twin sister Anna Davis, winner of the 2022 Augusta National Women’s Amateur.
Davis earned his spot via the event’s Monday qualifier, which was contested Oct. 16 to allow for necessary travel preparations. Davis carded a 5-under 66 in the qualifier, held at Enagic Golf Club at Eastlake in Chula Vista, California, and bested RJ Manke in a 2-for-1 playoff.
Peter Kuest, Hunter Epson and Jeffrey Kang each shot 6-under 65 to round out the four available qualifying spots.
The good keeps getting better for Davis, who hails from Spring Valley, California, and has continually asserted his junior golf prowess in recent months. Davis advanced to the semifinals of the 2023 U.S. Junior, which was contested at Daniel Island Club in South Carolina, before falling to New Zealand’s Joshua Bai. The Davis twins both competed at last month’s Junior Ryder Cup in Rome, Italy; two weeks later, Anna caddied for Billy at the World Wide Technology Championship qualifier.
Anna is two minutes older, and perhaps the elder sibling’s sage advice proved useful at the qualifier, where Billy chipped in for birdie on the first playoff hole to punch his ticket to Cabo.
“Honestly, I am just going to treat it like it’s another junior tournament,” Davis told AmateurGolf.com. “Everyone is really good, so I am just going to try to be a sponge and enjoy myself and soak it all in. My expectations won’t be that high, but I am going to try and compete and make the cut.
“I feel like even from that week at the U.S. Junior, I have gotten better since then. Just all of the tournaments I have played in and all of the courses over time, I have gotten better at it. I know what to expect more and the little things like my attitude, the mental side of the game, and managing of golf courses. I just get better with that every tournament I play in.”
There’s plenty on the line for Kuest in particular, who holds PGA TOUR Special Temporary Membership and is vying to earn full 2024 TOUR status. He currently holds 276 non-member FedExCup Points, which would place him at No. 138 on the current FedExCup Fall standings. Non-members who equal or surpass No. 125 on the final FedExCup Fall standings (after The RSM Classic) will earn full 2024 TOUR membership.
Here’s a capsule look at the four Monday qualifiers for this week’s World Wide Technology Championship, the third-to-last event of the 2023 FedExCup Fall.
Hunter Epson (6-under 65)
Hometown: Long Beach, California
Alma mater: Long Beach State
PGA TOUR starts: 0
Notes: Made eight birdies against two bogeys to cement his first PGA TOUR start … Made two cuts in seven starts on 2022 PGA TOUR Canada, finishing No. 149 on season-long Fortinet Cup … Began his college career at Pepperdine before transferring to Long Beach State, where he won the Nick Watney Invitational in fall 2019 … Turned professional in 2021; competed on Sunshine Tour in 2023.
Peter Kuest (6-under 65)
Hometown: Fresno, California
Alma mater: BYU
PGA TOUR starts: 18
Cuts made: 9
Best PGA TOUR finish: T4, 2023 Rocket Mortgage Classic
Notes: Made five birdies and an eagle in qualifying round (against one bogey) to earn a tee time in Cabo … Holds Special Temporary Membership on TOUR this season, which he solidified with a T17 at the John Deere Classic after a T4 at the prior week’s Rocket Mortgage Classic, and he now chases full 2024 TOUR status via the FedExCup Fall … Has made eight cuts in 12 TOUR starts this season, including four top-25 finishes … Began 2023 with low-level conditional Korn Ferry Tour status after finishing T126 at Final Stage of Q-School last fall … His father Peter played soccer at Fresno State and worked as a painting contractor for 36 years before passing away in November 2021 at age 61.
Jeffrey Kang (6-under 65)
Hometown: Fullerton, California
Alma mater: University of Southern California
PGA TOUR starts: 4
Cuts made: 0
Notes: Made four birdies and an eagle in qualifying round (against no bogeys) to secure his fifth career TOUR start … This marks his fifth successful Monday qualifier on TOUR, all of which have occurred since February 2022 … Was named an honorable mention All-American as a college sophomore in 2011-12, a season that included a victory at the Amer Ari Inrecollegiate at Waikoloa Beach (Hawaii) … As a high school senior in 2010, was named by Golfweek as the top-ranked high school golfer in the United States … His dad is an accomplished drummer in South Korea.
Billy Davis (5-under 66, advanced in playoff)
Hometown: Spring Valley, California
PGA TOUR starts: 0
Notes: Made six birdies against one bogey to earn spot in qualifier playoff, in which he outlasted RJ Manke … High school senior is set to graduate in spring 2024 and has verbally committed to play golf for Auburn University beginning next fall … Currently stands at No. 2 on the Rolex AJGA Rankings; he won the AJGA’s Mayakoba Invitational in April and has recorded three top-five finishes in five ensuing starts … He’s set to play collegiately at Auburn alongside twin sister Anna, who won the 2022 Augusta National Women’s Amateur at age 16.
Source : PGA Tour