Wilshire Takes Three-Stroke Lead into Final Round of Kentucky Open presented by Persimmon Ridge
Kyle Wilshire leads by three strokes heading into final round of Kentucky Open presented by Persimmon Ridge.
LOUISVILLE, KY (July 27, 2022) – Ever since Kyle Wilshire ended his play on Tuesday night with a hole-in-one, the 103rd Kentucky Open presented by Persimmon Ridge has swung in his favor. He followed up the shot of the championship with the round of the championship in Wednesday’s second round which has earned him a three-stroke lead with one round to go.
Wilshire and 56 other players returned to Persimmon Ridge this morning to conclude round one which resumed at 7:30 a.m. EDT. Restarting on the par-five 15th, Wilshire played his final four holes in -1 to card 67 (-5) for his official opening round score. Patrick Newcomb, who also came back to finish his opening round in the morning, submitted the same number which made them the official round one co-leaders.
Those two players along with everyone else in that wave of tee times quickly went back on the golf course to start round two, which Wilshire took control of early in the afternoon. After going out in 35 (-5) on the back nine, Wilshire made the turn to the front and rattled off six birdies in eight holes. That led to an inward nine of 31 (-5) for a second-round total of 66 (-6). He became the first player in the championship to reach double-digits under par with his total score as a result and is now in position to win the biggest championship of his career.
“I’ve played this tournament since I was 15 years old,” said the now 29-year-old. “It would mean everything to win it; you always want to win your State Open and I’m so proud to be from Kentucky. To give myself a chance up to this point is all I can ask for, but I believe in my game and trust my ability to keep doing what I’m doing.”
Wilshire also emphasized the importance of his hole-in-one on Tuesday night, which became the second ace of his career, and how that turned the tide for him in this tournament.
“To be honest, up to that point I was kind of battling and just trying to hang in there knowing I had some good scoring opportunities up ahead of me. I hit a really good shot off the 14th tee, couldn’t see it go in, but it gave me a spirt of energy that carried me into today after feeling pretty exhausted last night.”
The player closest to Wilshire on the leaderboard is Jansen Preston, who has once again put himself in the mix of a significant golf tournament in Kentucky this summer. Preston was in the heat of the battle down the stretch in last month’s Clark’s Pump-N-Shop Kentucky Amateur and was one shot away from Monday qualifying into the Barbasol Championship on Independence Day. Now, he’s in solo second place with just one player in front of him with 18 holes remaining in the State Open.
Two rounds of 68 (-4) have gotten him to this point, but Wednesday did not begin ideally for Preston. Resuming his first round on the par-four 8th, Preston made double-bogey there and then started round two with a bogey on the 1st but did not allow those holes to hamper his momentum. He recorded six birdies during the remainder of the day, including two on his last four holes. Doing so has made Preston a key figure in a prominent championship once again where he will aim to emerge victorious after some heartbreakingly close calls previously this summer.
“Indian Hills (host of the State Amateur) and Boone’s Trace National (host of the Barbasol Monday Qualifier) have motivated me a lot,” Preston admitted. “I have a lot of trust in my game right now and I know I’m playing well. That mindset almost always puts you in good positions and with a fighter’s chance at the end, and that’s what I’ll have on Thursday.”
Wilshire and Preston will be joined by Patrick Newcomb at 10:00 a.m. in the final group of the final round. Newcomb is in solo third after rounds of 67-71 for 138 (-6) which puts him five shots back of Wilshire, but two shots clear of fourth place. Newcomb had attained a three-shot lead around lunchtime on Wednesday when he made eagle on the 18th hole, his ninth of the round, but playing the front nine in 38 (+2) sent him in the opposite direction of Wilshire and with ground to make up heading into Thursday.
Matthew Troutman and Connor Coombs share fourth place at 140 (-4). Troutman is attempting to become the third person to ever win the Kentucky Open and Clark’s Pump-N-Shop Kentucky Amateur in the same year, a feat accomplished twice by Jodie Mudd in 1979 and 1980 and by Phil Hendrickson in 2007. While Troutman winning would be a rarity in the over-arching history of Kentucky golf, Coombs made a rare moment happen himself today when he recorded two consecutive eagles to vault into contention. Coombs started the run on the par-five 18th to finish round one in the morning and then holed out on the par-four 10th to begin his second round. They will play in Thursday’s penultimate group at 9:50 a.m. with Justin Tereshko, the current leader of the John C. Owens Player of the Year standings, which recognizes the best male amateur in Kentucky.
NOTES & STATS
- 73 players made the cut and will play in the final round. It took a 36-hole mark of 152 (+8) or better to advance.
- Barring an unprecedented comeback, it appears J.B. Williams’ three-year reign as Kentucky Open champion will end on Thursday. Williams struggled on Wednesday during a round of 81 (+9) that led to him making the cut on the number. He trails Wilshire by nineteen strokes.
- Eleven eagles were made in round two which matches the amount made in round one. Joining Coombs as players to make eagles on par-fours were Gabe Wheeler on the 1st and Kyle Alexander on the 16th. Eight eagles were made on the par-fives with five on the 18th, two on the 3rd, and one on the 15th.
- Holes 18 and 15 tied for the easiest in round two with a stroke-to-par average of -0.03.
- The par-four 8th, one of two holes at Persimmon Ridge with a new tee box adding length this year, was the hardest hole in round two at +0.55.
Golf House Kentucky will continue to have full coverage of the championship on its Facebook, Instagram and Twitter pages. When the Wilshire-Preston-Newcomb group reaches the 16th hole in their final round, a live-stream will be available to view on Facebook. If a playoff is necessary to determine the champion, that will also be live-streamed. Spectators are welcome to attend the championship free of charge.
About the Kentucky PGA:
The Kentucky PGA Section (KPGA) is one of forty-one Sections across the country representing the PGA of America and its Members. It is also one of three organizations encompassed within Golf House Kentucky, which also includes the Kentucky Golf Association (KGA) and Kentucky Golf Foundation (KGF). The KPGA contains more than 275 Members and more than 30 Associates working in various roles across Kentucky; all of whom share the goal of bettering the game and its players. The KPGA and its Members assist with the organization of many chief growth-of-the-game initiatives including PGA HOPE and PGA Jr. League among others. The Section also operates more than thirty tournaments throughout the golf season, including the three State Open championships and qualifiers for the Barbasol Championship.
Ethan Fisher, PGA | Golf House Kentucky | firstname.lastname@example.org | (502) 792-9703