J.B. Williams Goes Wire-to-Wire to Win Consecutive Kentucky Opens
UNION, KY (July 31, 2020) – J.B. Williams has won a historic 101st Kentucky Open Championship. With his victory today, it is the eleventh instance a player has won consecutive Kentucky Opens. He also does it in wire-to-wire fashion having led after each round in this week’s competition at Triple Crown Country Club.
After heavy rain pushed the conclusion of the final round from Thursday into Friday, Williams and his playing partners Trey Shirley and Patrick Newcomb resumed play on the 5th hole at 9:00 a.m. EDT. Up by one stroke at the beginning of the day, Williams kept his lead throughout the round and did not let any of the chasers grab even a share of the lead.
Two quick birdies on the front nine’s par-fives allowed Williams to enjoy a multi-shot cushion, but tee shots on the 8th and 10th holes that went into penalty areas created possibilities for the leaderboard to rapidly change. Instead, Williams limited his damage in magical fashion, saving par on the 8th with a putt from approximately thirty feet away. On the 10th, Williams did succumb to a bogey, but it was the last one he would make in the competition.
During the same time frame, Trey Shirley and Billy Tom Sargent were within striking distance of Williams’ lead. Both players’ hopes were heavily impacted by the par-four 12th, however, forcing a double bogey out of each player. Meanwhile, J.M. Butler made a massive charge on the inward nine, recording six birdies in eight holes during the back nine which brought him within one shot of the lead. A bogey on the closing hole ended his charge, leaving him with an inward nine of 31 (-5) which would end up finishing in a tie for fourth place alongside Sargent.
Jacob Cook was the last player to make a closing charge as consecutive birdies on the 16th and 17th holes helped him shoot 32 (-4) on the back nine. That run secured Cook with the year’s low amateur honors and earned a runner-up finish with a total score of 207 (-9). 2018 Kentucky Open champion Trey Shirley finished at the same number, two strokes shy of Williams’ winning score of 205 (-11).
“It feels great to join such a short list of players to win this championship in back-to-back years,” Williams said. “It was such a big goal for me this week that was on my mind every day. It just means a lot and it means that much more when you accomplish it having put your mind to it. The putter really helped me out today; even some chip shots that helped me get up and down for birdies on the par-fives and par-saves truly made this up and down city today. Just a great short game week for me, especially today when I needed it the most.”
Williams will play in Monday’s Youth on Course Pro-Am presented by ISCO Industries at Valhalla Golf Club. He will then play in multiple tournaments on the PGA Tour’s LocaliQ Series throughout the late summer. These tournaments are designed for players on the PGA Tour’s developmental tours such as the Mackenzie Tour and PGA Tour Latinoamerica amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.
NOTES AND STATS
- The score of the final round was turned in by last year’s runner-up to J.B. Williams, Evan Davis. Davis recorded a bogey-free round of 66 (-6) which resulted in a tie for twelfth place.
- Billy Tom Sargent made the only eagle of the final round by doing so on the par-five 10th. The final count for the championship was eighteen eagles; highlighted by the hole-in-one from Rob Crockett II on the 16th hole in the opening round.
- Thirty-two birdies were made in addition to Sargent’s eagle on the 10th. Consequently, it played the easiest in the final round with an average score-to-par of -0.24.
- The par-three 6th was a thorn in the side of players all week and was so again for the final round. It was the hardest on Thursday and Friday, playing at +0.40.
The Kentucky PGA Section would like to thank each player who competed in this week’s championship and for following the adjusted tournament protocols in place because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Section also appreciates the work of John Kells, PGA General Manager, Tim Parsons, PGA Head Golf Professional and their team at Triple Crown Country Club for making the 101st Kentucky Open a success. The 102nd Kentucky Open will take place July 27-29, 2021 at Persimmon Ridge Golf Club in Louisville.