J.M. Butler Attains Three-Stroke Lead Entering Final Round of Clark's Pump-N-Shop Kentucky Amateur
LOUISVILLE, KY (June 16, 2021) – A Tiger is officially on the prowl at Audubon Country Club. Auburn’s J.M. Butler is in the lead by three strokes following 36 holes of play in the 107th Clark’s Pump-N-Shop Kentucky Amateur. After shooting an impressive round of 67 (-5) in Tuesday’s first round, Butler was even better on Wednesday. With four birdies and one eagle on a bogey-free scorecard for 66 (-6), Butler is now in command going into Thursday’s final round.
“I’m just playing solid golf at the moment,” Butler said. “The main thing has been keeping it in the fairway since you have a lot of wedges entering these greens and you can get home in two on most of the par-fives as long as you’re in the short grass. I’d say being forced to lay up on those holes probably costs you three-fourths of a shot each time. The leaderboard being what it is right now doesn’t really matter to me; I just want to play as well as I can tomorrow regardless if I have a three-shot lead or not, and just make that number bigger and bigger throughout the round tomorrow. It would mean a lot though to win this week, especially being from Louisville where we’re playing close to my house. Having my family here to see it would make a win really special.”
Butler’s closest chaser is the first-round leader, Cooper Collins. Collins shot 70 (-2) on Wednesday and had it to -4 at one point during his round today, but a bogey and a double bogey on his inward nine loom large now as those three strokes make up the difference on the leaderboard between him and Butler. Despite that, Collins is still three shots clear of the players in third place and is just one good round away between him and Kentucky’s most historic golfing championship.
“I was flushing it all day but just made a couple of loose swings the first few holes of my second nine,” Collins explained. “Those did some damage, but I did a good job of steadying the ship. I had a good two-putt birdie on the 7th and some other good birdie looks on the 8th and 9th. I like where I’m at overall. You know you’re not going to play perfect golf for 54 holes so hopefully I got the bad ones out of my system today. I’ve won a few amateur tournaments in previous years, but the State Amateur is obviously the most prestigious one you can win in Kentucky. It would mean a lot to me to put my name on that list of champions, but there’s a lot of golf left before we get to that point.”
Sitting in a tie for third place are Denver Haddix and Devin Morley, who have each shot 70-69 the first two rounds to sit at 139 (-5). Based on Haddix finishing earlier on Wednesday compared to Morley, it will be Haddix who joins Butler and Collins in Thursday’s final group.
Four players are in a tie for fifth position, as Jay Kirchdorfer, Andrew Strother, Campbell Kremer, and Zach Norris have all taken 140 strokes thus far to stand at -4.
NOTES & STATS
- 73 players in all have made the cut for Thursday’s final round. +4 was the line to reach in order to qualify for another round at Audubon.
- The most-improved award on Wednesday goes to Bradley Sutherland. After opening with 79 (+7) in the first round and being well outside of the cutline on Tuesday night, he rebounded with 67 (-5) today, the second-best score of the day. That elevated him to T47 and into Thursday’s final round.
- Andrew Strother (T5) and Joseph Muschong (T9) were the other players to shoot 67 (-5) today.
- The eagle count grew to thirteen in the second round after nine were recorded on Tuesday. Once again, the only par-four to surrender an eagle was the 10th. Keith Thompson (T38) was the man behind that magic today.
- The par-five 15th was the easiest hole in round two, with six eagles and sixty-five birdies made there today. Its stroke-to-par average was -0.35.
- Wednesday’s hardest hole was the par-three 3rd at +0.40. Only seven players were able to pick up birdies there in round two.
Golf House Kentucky will continue to have full coverage of the championship on its Facebook, Instagram and Twitter pages. When the final group reaches the 18th hole of Thursday's final round, a live-stream will be shown on Facebook. Should a playoff be necessary, that will also be live-streamed.