Josh Rhodes Takes One-Stroke Lead in Lexington
LEXINGTON, KY (September 9, 2020) – It was a spectacular late summer day in the horse capital of the world to begin the 106th Clark’s Pump-N-Shop Kentucky Amateur. Lexington Country Club’s ninth hosting of the championship began with challenging conditions for all, but low scores were available for those in form. 66 (-6) was the number needed to hold the lead and Josh Rhodes met that mark with past champion Andy Roberts and Alex Goff one stroke behind him.
Rhodes’ day was highlighted by an eagle hole-out on the par-four 14th from 175 yards. Beyond that, he made six birdies and two bogeys in his effort to successfully take the overnight lead.
“I hit it close and had a lot of tap-ins all day,” Rhodes stated. “When I got in trouble, I just played to the middle of the green and lag-putted well too. I like this golf course a lot though; it’s one of my favorite places to play in the state and I feel like I play it pretty well. The deuce on the 14th obviously helped me. I was actually slightly blocked by a tree and had to hit a little flighted draw just trying to get it on the front of the green and give myself a two-putt. It went in and came off as a nice little bonus.”
Roberts, who won this tournament four years ago at Bellefonte Country Club and at this golf course ten years ago in the Kentucky Open came into the week as one of the favorites to win and is living up to that expectation thus far.
“Honestly, I don’t know why I play well at this golf course but now I just have good memories of it,” Roberts said. “It’s nice to be able to reminisce as you go around and have positive experiences to fall back on. I drove it well today and kept the ball below the hole quite a bit. There was only one hole today where I didn’t really give myself a shot and that was right off the bat on my first hole.”
Goff is a native of Kings Mountain, North Carolina but ventured northwest to begin his college career with the University of Kentucky. This is his redshirt sophomore season for the Wildcats and has gotten experience playing Lexington Country Club through practice rounds with the school’s golf team.
“I hit it really well today, especially on the front nine,” Goff said. “I hit sixteen greens and ten or eleven fairways, plus I did a good job at leaving the ball below the hole which you have to do here. I just need to stick to my game-plan and not worry about what other players do. I’ve had a few opportunities to win this summer, so I’ve got some recent experiences to draw from these next two days to stay in contention.”
Those three players have given themselves slight separation to begin the tournament. The next closest competitor is Steven Brooks who shot 69 (-3). Allen Hamilton shot 70 (-2) while seven players recorded rounds of 71 (-1) to make it an even dozen players who broke par on Wednesday.
NOTES & STATS
- To go along with Rhodes’ eagle, Jacob Cook made one on the par-five 18th to make it two total eagles made in the first round.
- Thanks in part to Cook’s work, the 18th was the easiest hole of the day, coming in at a stroke-to-par average of -0.12.
- The par-four 10th was the hardest hole of the first round, with only three birdies made on it today. It played +0.86.
- The front nine was significantly easier than the back nine today. The front played to an average of 37.98 while the back’s average was 39.18. The combined stroke average was 77.16.
Golf House Kentucky will continue to have full coverage of the event on its Facebook, Instagram and Twitter pages. A live video will be available to view on Facebook when the final group reaches its last hole on Friday afternoon. Another live video will become available if a playoff is needed to determine a champion. Please remember caddies and spectators remain prohibited throughout the competition.