Korn Ferry Tour News: Third-Round Notes: Nationwide Children’s Hospital Championship; Phillips and Xiong take over lead heading into Sunday’s Final Round

2023 Nationwide Children’s Hospital Championship

(25th of 26 events on 2023 Korn Ferry Tour Schedule)

Third-Round Notes – Saturday, September 23, 2023


Weather: Mostly sunny throughout the day with a high of 77. NE winds 6-14 mph, with gusts up to 20 mph.


Third-Round Leaderboard

Chandler Phillips            66-72-69 – 207 (-6)

Norman Xiong                69-67-71 – 207 (-6)

Chris Petefish                 67-70-71 – 208 (-5)

Jacob Bridgeman           65-69-74 – 208 (-5)

Joe Highsmith                72-67-70 – 209 (-4)

Chandler Phillips (courtesy PGA Tour)

Things to Know

  • Chandler Phillips and Norman Xiong share the 54-hole lead heading into Sunday’s final round
  • Phillips cards a third-round 2-under 69 to move into a tie for the lead, seeking his second win of the 2023 season
  • Xiong aims for his first win of the season and second of his Korn Ferry Tour career
  • Jacob Bridgeman, solo leader after 18 and 36 holes, cards a third-round 3-over 74 and sits one shot off the lead
  • Following Sunday’s final round, the top 75 players on the Points List will advance to the Korn Ferry Tour Championship presented by United Leasing & Finance
  • Final-round pairings will run from 7:20 a.m. through 1:35 p.m. local time off of the first tee


Third-Round Lead Notes

8            Third-round leaders/co-leaders to win Nationwide Children’s Hospital Championship (David Lingmerth/2022; Curtis Luck/2020; Robert Streb/2018; Justin Thomas/2014; S.Y. Noh/2013; Ben Kohles/2012; Bill Lunde/2008; Daniel Summerhays/2007)


6            Third-round leaders/co-leaders to win on Tour in 2023 (last: Chan Kim/Albertsons Boise Open presented by Chevron)

Norman Xiong (courtesy PGA Tour)

Charting the Co-Leaders (stats entering the week)

Category Chandler Phillips Norman Xiong
Age 26 (Dec. 2, 1996) 24 (Nov. 9, 1998)
2023 Korn Ferry Tour Points List No. 14 No. 59
Korn Ferry Tour Starts – Wins – Top-10s (2023) 21-1-3 19-0-1
Korn Ferry Tour Starts – Wins – Top-10s (Career) 36-1-4 50-1-2
Starts – Wins – Top-10s at Nationwide Children’s Hospital Championship 0-0-0 1-0-0


Chandler Phillips (T1/-6)

  • Carded a third-round 2-under 69 made up of three birdies at the par 4s Nos. 2, 11, and 16, against one bogey at the par-5 fourth
  • Marks his second lead/co-lead after 54 holes (T1/Price Cutter Charity Championship presented by Dr Pepper/finished T2)
  • Entered the third round T5 at 4-under par following a second-round 1-over 72 and first-round 5-under 66
  • Entered the week No. 14 on the Korn Ferry Tour Points List
  • Bidding for his second win of the 2023 season after winning the season-opening event, The Bahamas Great Exuma Classic at Sandals Emerald Bay
  • Bidding for his second win of the 2023 season after winning the season-opening eventIn 21 starts this year, has logged five top-25 finishes and three top-10s, including the aforementioned win and a runner-up finish at the Price Cutter Charity Championship presented by Dr Pepper)
  • Has finished inside the top-10 in his last two made cuts
    • T7 – Magnit Championship
    • T2 – Price Cutter Charity Championship presented by Dr. Pepper
  • Earned status for 2023 with a T10 finish at Final Stage of last year’s Korn Ferry Tour Qualifying Tournament
  • Initially joined the Korn Ferry Tour during the 2020 season, playing in 15 events and posting one top-10 finish
  • Made five career starts on the PGA TOUR, four during the 2019-20 season and one in the 2022-23 season at the Valero Texas Open (finished T64)
  • Played collegiately for four seasons at Texas A&M University (2015-19), where he won seven tournaments, four of which came as a junior in the 2017-18 season
  • 26-year-old who plays from Huntsville, Texas


Norman Xiong (T1/-6)

  • Marks his third Korn Ferry Tour career lead/co-lead after 54 holes and second of the season (54-hole solo leader at at the Visit Knoxville Open, finished T2)
  • Carded a third-round even-par 71 after carding an eagle at the 562-yard par-5 12th in addition to two birdies against three bogeys
    • Only player in the field with multiple eagles this week (R2/435-yard par-4 first; R3/562-yard par-5 12th)
  • Entered Saturday in solo-second position beginning the week with a second round 4-under 67 and first-round 2-under 69
  • Posted a top-25 finish in his one previous start at the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Championship (T14/2022)
  • In 39 career starts on the Korn Ferry Tour (19 this year), has seven top-25 finishes, highlighted by one victory at last year’s Blue Cross Blue Shield of Kansas Wichita Open Benefitting KU Wichita Pediatrics where he earned the start as a Monday Qualifier
  • Ranks No. 59 on the points list this season with four top-25 finishes and one top-10 (T2/Visit Knoxville Open)
  • A 24-year-old native of Tamuning, Guam who resides in Las Vegas, Nevada, Xiong is in his third season as a Korn Ferry Tour member
  • Played a season and a half at Oregon (2017-18), earning 2017 National Freshman of the Year honors and the 2018
  • Jack Nicklaus and Fred Haskins Awards (two of the three collegiate national player of the year awards) off the strength of a six-win 2017-18 season, after which he turned professional at age 19
  • First earned Korn Ferry Tour membership for the 2019 season with a T39 finish at Final Stage of the 2018 Korn Ferry Tour Qualifying Tournament
  • Finished No. 166 on the 2019 Korn Ferry Tour Points List in his rookie season, which left him without status
  • From the start of 2020 through June 2022, made just seven PGA TOUR-sanctioned starts; he Monday qualified into two PGA TOUR and Korn Ferry Tour events, missing the cut in all four starts, and briefly held status on PGA TOUR Canada, recording a top-10 in three starts in 2021




Chandler Phillips on his play this week… “Today might have been the best round I played all year, honestly. Well, up and down round. This course is hard, like really hard. I mean, obviously, seeing the cut line, the highest cut all year, I’d probably say that it’s the hardest course we played all year. That being said, it’s really hard to get it close. And you’re going to miss greens. I was telling my caddie today, walking up 18, I was like, if somebody hits 12, 13 greens today, they golfed that ball. I mean, you’re just going to have to get up and down at some point, and I did. I did really well with that. I got up and down every time, other than No. 4, the par 5. Just got myself in a really bad spot. It’s going to happen. But you just got to take your medicine and try and make a 20 footer for par. And if you don’t, you go to the next hole and try to make it up.”


Phillips on adjusting to a challenging course… “I love it. I wish every tournament this year was like this. I feel like this suits my game a little bit more, just because I’m not somebody that I used to be. I used to be really aggressive, but I’ve changed my ways, and I played a little bit more conservative. And I think on a golf course like this, you play conservative, you can play good golf.”


Phillips on what he learned from winning an event earlier this season… “That you don’t have to do anything crazy. That’s what really showed me in the beginning of the year. I mean, I played four solid rounds there. I didn’t go low any of the rounds, I just played four solid rounds and I ended up on top. Not many places you can do that out here, play four solid rounds and do that. But when you get on a course like this and like Exuma – Exuma, there’s a lot of trouble out there. So more than likely you’re not going to have any penalty shots in the round, down like at that tournament, and I didn’t for four days. I never had one penalty shot, and it was good. But a course like this, I think it’s even more like you don’t have to do anything crazy. I mean, I shot 5-under the first round. Amazing round. I played great. I shoot 1-over and then I shoot 2-under and I’m tied for the lead. I’m right there in it, and I haven’t done anything super crazy. I mean, I’m chipping it really good and I’m putting it pretty well. So we’ll see what it does tomorrow.”



  • Chris Petefish (T3/-5) started the day T3 and remains in that position after an even-par 71 Saturday
    • Marks the third time Petefish is inside the top five after 54 holes this season, and his best position since he was solo-leader after three rounds at The Panama Championship
    • Currently ranks 55th on the Points List after logging just three top-25 finishes in 19 starts this season, highlighted by a runner-up at last month’s Utah Championship presented by Zions Bank
  • Jacob Bridgeman (T3/-5), who held the solo lead after both the first and second rounds, carded a third-round 3-over 74 via five bogeys against two birdies
    • Marks the fourth time this season inside the top 10 after 54 holes (T2/Albertsons Boise Open presented by Chevron/finished T4; T2/Pinnacle Bank Championship presented by Aetna/finished 4th; T6/Memorial Health Championship presented by LRS/finished T5)
    • With a made cut this week, Bridgeman became the 12th player this season to be declared #TOURBound, signaling he is assured of finishing in the top 30 on the Korn Ferry Tour Points List and earning PGA TOUR membership for the 2024 season
  • Joe Highsmith (5th/-4) recorded a 1-under 70 Saturday and enters the final round inside the top 10 for the fourth time this season
  • There were two bogey-free rounds recorded in the third round: Davis Chatfield (T5/-3) and Steven Fisk (T9/-2)
    • Chatfield, in his rookie season on the Korn Ferry Tour, recorded the low round of the day with a 4-under 67 after birdying one par 5 (No. 6) and three par 4s (7, 11, 14); also marks his first time inside the top 10 after 54 holes
    • Fisk tallied three birdies total coming at two par 3s (Nos. 5, 13) and one par 4 (No. 16) en route to a bogey-free 3-under 68