PETALING JAYA: Like any aspiring young golfers, Malaysian No. 1 amateur Ervin Chang’s ultimate goal is to compete on the US PGA Tour.
But getting to the pinnacle of the professional golf is no easy feat as one has to earn his PGA Tour playing privileges through its developmental circuit — the Korn Ferry Tour.
And to be eligible for the Korn Ferry Tour, one must first get past the arduous three-stage qualifying series first.
That’s just how tricky it is.
But Ervin has a chance to head straight to the Korn Ferry Tour, thanks to PGA Tour’s recent initiative.
They have introduced the PGA Tour University (a ranking system) meant to help graduating collegiate golfers’ (who had completed four years in university) transition to an elite level starting in 2021.
Through the ranking, the 15 top-performing National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division 1 golfers at the conclusion of each year’s NCAA Championship will be rewarded with the top five getting to play on the Korn Ferry Tour.
The sixth to 15th-ranked players will be able to play full-time on the Mackenzie Tour, PGA Tour Latinoamerica or PGA Tour China – which offer berths to Korn Ferry Tour.
Ervin was pleased as punch as he seeks to take full advantage of his rare fifth year of college golf.
The 21-year-old is one of the many final year students being granted an extra year of eligibility by the NCAA because of the Covid-19 cancellations.
“This opportunity offered by the PGA Tour is definitely a big deal and something all college players can benefit from, ” said Ervin, who has graduated with a sports management degree from Liberty University.
“I was really bummed out on how my senior year ended but I think it’s blessing in disguise that I get to play another year of college golf.
“Qualifying for the PGA Tour is something I have been working towards ever since I decided to pursue professional golf, and now I’m getting my first shot at it via the PGA Tour University.”
In his four-year collegiate golf career, Ervin notched an impressive 18 top-10 finishes, highlighted by a victory at the Sea Best Invitational in Florida in 2018.