QUITO, Ecuador—Coming off his second runner-up finish of the season to grab the lead in the Totalplay Cup standings, Conner Godsey is definitely the player to chase this week at the Kia Open. The last time he came to the Quito Tennis & Golf Club, almost two years ago, he fired a final-round 65 to force a playoff and then drained an overtime 10-footer for birdie to get the win.

“I remember making the putt in the playoff. That’s the biggest memory that I have from it”, said the 31-year old Godsey, a native of Alabama who resides in Jacksonville, Florida. “It’s great to be back. This place is a lot of fun, playing at elevation, a lot of elevation, the ball goes forever, which makes it tough and fun. I have some good vibes here, so I’m excited to play.”

Although he has yet to win during the 2022-23 PGA TOUR Latinoamérica season, Godsey remains a model of consistency. He leads the Tour in total birdies, with 131, 19 more than anybody else. He has the most sub-par rounds, at 20, and with a 69.46 stroke average, his is the lowest among players who have made at least four starts this season. Godsey’s Totalplay Cup points total, which improved to 850 with his runner-up finish in Peru, gives him a 151-point lead over New Zealand’s Charlie Hillier, who ranks third in the standings and is the next best player competing here this week.

“I feel really good about my game. I have a lot of confidence coming into this week, but I’m just really focusing on trying to get better every day,” said the talented lefty who is trying to earn his way back to the Korn Ferry Tour, where he spent the 2022 season after finishing third on the PGA TOUR Latinoamérica points list during the COVID-19 pandemic season of 2020-21.

Making his PGA TOUR Latinoamérica return with Kia as a new title sponsor eyeing a long-time commitment, the Kia Open is the eighth of 12 tournaments on the 2022-23 schedule. Established in 2014 and celebrating its ninth edition this week, this Tour stop is among the players’ favorites.

Aside from the local hospitality, the Kia Open is unique because of the altitude factor. Quito is 9,350 feet above sea level, the thin air allowing for a farther ball flight that forces players to adjust. It’s especially amusing for the Tour rookies playing here for the very first time.

“I played in Kenya to about 6,000 feet, and in South Africa at around something similar, so I have been exposed to (altitude) a little bit, but this is definitely extreme of what we play. It’s so different, and it’s such a refreshing new kind of experience. It’s cool, really cool,” says Scotland’s Sandy Scott, who has recorded two top-10s in seven starts to enter the week ranked 16th in the Totalplay Cup standings.

Scheduled to start Thursday morning, the Kia Open features a field of 144 players from 19 countries, including eight Ecuadorian players. 

Totalplay Cup Points List through seven of 12 events

Pos.PlayerPointsPoints behind
1Conner Godsey (U.S.)850
2Cristobal Del Solar (Chile)*711139
3Charlie Hillier (New Zealand)699151
4Chandler Blanchet (U.S.)676174
5Linus Lilliedahl (Sweden)669181
6Matt Ryan (U.S.)608242
7Marcos Montenegro (Argentina)606244
8Jake McCrory (U.S.)567283
9Leandro Marelli (Argentina)554296
10Davis Shore (U.S.)532318

*Korn Ferry Tour member Cristóbal Del Solar is the only player inside the top-10 who is not playing here this week

No.VenueNo. of EventsTournament(s)
1Los Inkas GC10Diners Club Perú Open
2Quito Tennis & GC9KIA Open
3Córdoba GC8Abierto OSDE del Centro
4Estrella del Mar6Estrella del Mar Open, Mexico Open
5Fuego Maya GC La Reunión5Stella Artois Open

Tournament Fast Facts

Official Name: Kia Open

Hashtag: #KiaOpen

Dates: May 4-7, 2023

Host venue: Quito Tennis & Golf Club, Par-72 (36-36) 7,412 yards

Field: 144 players from 19 countries

Countries and territories represented in the field: Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, England, Finland, France, Guatemala, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Scotland, Sweden, United States and Venezuela

Last champion: Manav Shah (not playing)

Purse: U.S. $175,000 – Winner’s share U.S. $31,500

Totalplay Cup points: Awarded to the top-55 and ties, with500 going to the winner

Cut: Top 55 and ties

Key Information

There are two past tournament winners in this week’s field, with Conner Godsey being the most recent. The 2021 champion, Godsey enters the week ranked first in the Totalplay Cup standings. The other past winner who is back this week is Colombia’s Ricardo Celia. He claimed the title in 2015.

Past Kia Open champions

2014Tyler McCumber (U.S.)67-67-71-70—275 (-13)
2015Ricardo Celia (Colombia)70-66-70-69—275 (-9)
2016Nate Lashley (U.S.)68-67-67-67—269 (-15)
2017Curtis Yonke (U.S.)69-68-68-65—270 (-14)
2018Horacio León (Chile)69-66-74-67—276 (-8)
2019Augusto Núñez (Argentina)68-67-64-67—266 (-22)
2021Conner Godsey (U.S.)67-69-70-65—271 (-17)*
2022Manav Shah (U.S.)63-69-68-66—266 (-22)

* Won in a playoff

PGA TOUR Latinoamérica tournaments left to play this season

May 4-7Kia OpenQuito Tennis &GCQuito, Ecuador
Two weeks off
May 25-28Colombia ClassicRuitoque G&CCBucaramanga, Colombia
June 1-4El Rincon ChampionshipEl Rincón de CajicáBogota, Colombia
Two weeks off
June 22-25Jalisco Open GDLAtlas CCGuadalajara, Mexico
June 29-July 2PGA TOUR Latinoamérica ChampionshipPGA Riviera MayaTulum, Quintana Roo, Mexico

2022-23 PGA TOUR Latinoamérica Player Benefits

2022-23 Final Totalplay Cup PositionReward
No. 1Will receive exempt status on the 2024 Korn Ferry Tour 
Nos. 2-5Will receive conditional status on the 2024 Korn Ferry 
Nos. 1-5Exempt into Final Stage of the 2023 PGA TOUR Qualifying Tournament
Nos. 6-25Exempt into the second stage of the 2023 PGA TOUR Qualifying Tournament
Nos. 1-60Status on the 2024 PGA TOUR Americas Latin America Swing

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