Schuck's Clipboard

Guthrie earns fully exempt Korn Ferry status

By Herald-Whig
Posted: Aug. 13, 2019 1:10 am

Luke Guthrie can play with a little less stress the next three weeks.

By finishing the Korn Ferry Tour regular season ranked 66th in the points standings, the Quincy native will have fully exempt status in 2020, which guarantees him starts on the Korn Ferry Tour no matter what happens in the tour finals.

Unlike this season, when he started with conditional status, he won't have to worry about Monday qualifiers or reshuffle orders just to get a tee time.

Guthrie still could play himself into a spot on the PGA Tour next season as well.

The top 25 in the Korn Ferry points standings earned PGA Tour cards for 2020, while the top 25 in points at the end of the three-tournament finals also earn a tour card. The history Guthrie has in these events suggests he could be in the mix when all is said and done.

The finals begin this week with the Nationwide Children's Championship in Columbus, Ohio. Guthrie finished second there in 2012 in his Korn Ferry Tour debut. Next week, the finals move to the Albertsons Boise Open in Boise, Idaho, which was the first professional tournament Guthrie won in 2012.

Guthrie got himself into position to receive fully exempt status with a run of success in the middle of the Korn Ferry season. He made the cut in eight of nine events with three top-10 finishes. However, he followed up with three consecutive missed cuts and finished tied for 43rd after making the cut last week in the Portland Open.

He played three of the four rounds at the Portland Open in the 60s, giving himself good vibes moving forward.

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Cody Birdsong's introduction to professional baseball was a little rough.

The former Quincy University second baseman was selected in the 31st round by the Atlanta Braves in the June amateur draft, and was assigned to the Danville Braves, a rookie advanced team in the Appalachian League. He hit just .184 with two home runs and 12 RBIs in the first 33 games.

Over the past two weeks, everything has turned around. Birdsong has hit safely in eight of his last 10 games. collecting 15 hits and raising his average to .232. He has one home run, seven RBIs and just seven strikeouts in 39 at-bats.

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The Dunedin Blue Jays are guaranteed a spot in the Class A Advanced Florida State League playoffs, giving Graham Spraker the chance to pitch for a championship for the second time in his professional career.

He has three weeks to make sure he's ready for the playoffs.

The former Quincy University right-hander earned a no-decision over the weekend when the Blue Jays beat the Bradenton Pirates 7-5 by scoring three times in the seventh inning. Spraker had one of his toughest starts of the season, allowing five runs and six hits over 51/3 innings.

Spraker is 7-5 this season with a 2.88 ERA. He's struck out 70 and walked 23 in 100 innings. He is expected to be one of the Blue Jays' top starters when the playoffs begin Sept. 3.