J.B. Williams Maintains Lead at Triple Crown
UNION, KY (July 29, 2020) – A fascinating leaderboard has developed at Triple Crown Country Club through two rounds of the 101st Kentucky Open. Defending champion J.B. Williams maintained his lead on Wednesday, sitting at 134 (-10). This sets him up for the opportunity to win this year’s event wire-to-wire while also having the chance to become the first winner in consecutive years since Rick Cochran III in 2013-2014.
“My own game-plan tomorrow will be the same as it’s been so far while not worrying about what others do,” Williams said. “Trey showed today the low score is out there if you’re clicking on all cylinders. Keeping the ball in play and hitting quality golf shots will reward you out here, and I didn’t do that in the middle of my round where I picked a few wrong clubs that led to bogeys. Once I hit smarter shots though, the birdies came back at the end.”
One stroke behind Williams is Patrick Newcomb who has a total score of 135 (-9) at this point. Steady rounds of 68 (-4) on Tuesday and 67 (-5) today have put the 2011 Kentucky Open runner-up in the mix for his first victory in the championship.
“I’m going to carry the same mindset I’ve had the last couple days into tomorrow,” Newcomb explained. “If you’re hitting the ball where you’re looking, you can make plenty of birdies. All I’ve been trying to do is hit greens and get the ball on the right side of the hole. It’s been boring golf, but I knew bogeys were going to be prevalent this week so that style could be what it takes. It’d be great to win this week though. I won the State Amateur in 2011 and 2012 and I’ve been close to winning this a couple times in the past, so I’d love to join the short list of guys to win both the Open and the Amateur.”
Williams and Newcomb have some slight separation as their nearest chasers are at 138 (-6). Trey Shirley and Stephen Stallings stand at that mark looking to narrow the gap and chase down the two front-runners. Shirley’s placement is particularly of note, as the 2018 Kentucky Open champion recorded the round of the tournament so far with a 63 (-9) on Wednesday. Coincidentally, when he won two years ago at Big Spring Country Club – Harmony Landing Course, it was a final round 62 (-9) that got the job done then. One more round in the low-60s seems attainable and might be enough to send him to a second title in three years.
“I didn’t get off to a great start today, but I made a couple of nice up-and-downs and then sunk a twenty-footer for eagle on the fifth to really get me going,” Shirley described. “From there, I just tried to stay out of my own way. I’m just going to go out tomorrow and stick to how I like to play the course and set myself up for as many birdie opportunities as possible. You can go low here, but you can put yourself in bad spots easily. I’m not going to necessarily try to chase (Williams and Stallings) down, but I’m going to do what I can and see if it’s enough.”
NOTES AND STATS
- Confirmation came in that Shirley’s round of 63 set the new tournament course record at Triple Crown. Further emphasis as to how strong his second round was.
- Seventy-one players will compete in the final round as the cut came at +8. Forty-two amateurs and twenty-nine professionals advance to Thursday’s play.
- No holes-in-one in the second round, but eight eagles were made on Wednesday. The par-five 5th was the only hole on the front nine to surrender any eagles as two were made there. On the back nine, the par-five 10th and par-five 17th each surrendered three eagles apiece.
- Number five was the easiest hole of Wednesday’s play with a stroke-to-par average of -0.30. Forty-four birdies were made in addition to the two eagles.
- The hardest hole of the second round was the par-four 12th. Only four birdies were surrendered while nine double bogeys or worse carded.
Golf House Kentucky will have full coverage of tomorrow’s final round on its Facebook, Instagram and Twitter pages. A live video will become available on Facebook when the final group reaches its final hole. If a playoff is needed, another live video will become available.