Is Kristoffer Ventura the next great Oklahoma State alum from Norway? It’s still early, but his results so far show he’s fitting in well on the PGA Tour.
The 25 year old was a talented junior winning events in Europe to catch the attention of one of the top NCAA programs. At age 16, he finished T-16th at the Norwegen Challenge on the Challenge Tour. Ventura was a bit overshadowed as a Cowboy. Not by poor play, but because the spotlight on their 2018 NCAA Championship team went primarily to teammates Matthew Wolff (2019 NCAA individual champion) and countryman Viktor Hovland (2018 U.S. Amateur).
Ventura had plenty of game to complement them, and it’s now blossoming just a bit later than his cohorts.
He turned pro in the summer of 2018 and posted two top-10s in eight Challenge Tour starts. After getting exemptions into a few PGA Tour in winter 2018-19, Ventura made it through Korn Ferry Tour Q School.
He wasted little time locking up his spot in the race for the top 25 by finishing T-3rd in his second KFT start of the season and winning in his fourth. Ventura picked up another win and third-place finish to wind up fourth on the money list in just 11 starts. No one else in the top 14 played fewer than 21 events and no one in the top 22 fewer than 15.
Ventura made three of his first five cuts of the 2019-2020 PGA Tour season, including T-18th at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open.
Few, if any, rookies go without a slump. Ventura missed six cuts in a row between November-February. He got things right at the Puerto Rico Open (T-20th). Ventura dropped in the priority rankings after the reshuffle and had to play some on the KFT this summer.
He made all three KFT cuts with two top-10s. In that stretch, Ventura took T-21st at the Rocket Mortgage Classic. He was gaining momentum with a T-19th at the Barracuda Championship.
He closed the season with T-37th at the Wyndham Championship. Ventura will keep his card due to the Tour’s decision to extend players’ status through the 2020-2021 season.
Ventura’s status still isn’t great to get into some of the bigger events, but I like him to work his way higher soon. He comes into his Corales Puntacana Resort & Club Championship debut off a T-15th on the KFT and a career-best T-7th on the PGA Tour at the Safeway Open.
Between both tours he’s missed just one cut since February.
Ventura ranked fourth on Tour last season in strokes gained putting (.694) despite seeing greens exclusively for the first time. He was also 28th in driving distance (305.7) and won’t have to worry about holding back on a week with wide fairways.
If he’s in the short grass more than normal, that’ll help out his SG approach and SG around the green stats, which are both sub-150th.