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‘Golf’ Articles

Recapping, Streb holds off Malnati in playoff to win 2018 Nationwide Children’s Championship

MATCH RECAP WRITTEN BY & COURTESY OF NCC COMMUNICATIONS

 

 

The tournament's championship trophy (file photo)

 

Robert Streb had a great week of golf (photo by Stuart Mason)

Peter Malnati happy eventhough he finished second. His game is improving each tournament (photo by Stuart Mason)

COLUMBUS, Ohio –  After capturing the 36-hole lead at the Web.com Tour’s Nationwide Children’s Hospital Championship, Kansas State University alum Robert Streb appeared calm and confident, remarking to media that he knew he had what it took to capture the title at the end of the week.

Streb backed up his claim with strong play in the final two rounds in Columbus, carding rounds of 68-71 on the weekend to finish the tournament at 12-under 272, enough to force a playoff with fellow PGA TOUR winner Peter Malnati. The 31-year-old would go on to par the first hole in sudden death, topping Malnati’s bogey to pick up his first win in a PGA TOUR-sanctioned event since the RSM Classic in 2015.

Streb, who held shares of the 36- and 54-hole lead, struggled on Sunday, parring his first two holes at The Ohio State University Golf Club’s Scarlet Course before picking up a bogey on the par-4 third. He moved back into red numbers with birdies on his next two holes, eventually making the turn at 1-under 35, remaining atop a leaderboard that at one point saw as many as six players tied for the lead.

The Oklahoma native turned Kansas resident would hit trouble again after making the turn, bogeying Nos. 10 and 11 to drop back down in the standings.

While Streb struggled, Malnati surged, posting a 5-under 66 in the final round to move into a share of the lead. A par from Streb on the last would send the two into a playoff, the third on Tour this season and the fourth in tournament history.

The duo faced trouble off the tee on the first playoff hole, causing each to hit their second shot from the immediate rough. Streb and Malnati both landed their shots on the green, but a par putt lip-out from Malnati would ultimately be the deciding factor.

“Peter’s a good friend,” Streb commented after sinking his par putt for the victory. “We both more or less achieved what we were trying to achieve [in securing a PGA TOUR card].  I would say it was probably a little more relaxed than normal.  Could have flipped a coin, I think everybody would have been all right.  It was nice to come out on top.”

With their finishes this week, both Malnati and Streb secured a return to the PGA TOUR for the 2018-19 season.

“It’s really nice,” Streb remarked. “It’s been a pretty big struggle all year. I played a lot and was not playing well, so it’s really nice to get that knocked out the first week.  [Now I’m] just going to work on improving and get ready for next year.”

“I can’t tell you how good that feels,” Malnati said of his return. “It’s cool and, you know, I’ve never really played this game to make money, but I don’t want to have to do something else to make money, either. So to get back to the PGA TOUR, it’s just a little bit of freedom.”

Also heading to the PGA TOUR next year is 2018 Nashville Golf Open Benefitting the Snedeker Foundation champion Cameron Davis.

Davis entered Sunday six strokes back of the lead, playing in the fifth-to-last grouping. The 23-year-old didn’t let that deter him, however, notching a 5-under 66 to make a jump up the leaderboard. The performance was reminiscent of his win in Nashville earlier this season, where the Tour rookie overcame a six-stroke deficit in the final round to pick up the title.

“I was in a position where I was going okay,” Davis said, “but I still didn’t really have much to lose so I just went out there knowing that if I had a good round and kind of pieced one together – there wasn’t much wind today so I wasn’t sure I was going to get as high up as I did with that score, but it kind of worked out the way it has.  It’s nice to be up near the top.”

The finish was enough to move Davis into the mix, but with several groups still on the course, the Australian was forced to sit and wait, watching the leaderboard to see if the finish would be enough to lock up a card.

“It would be nice to play the next three weeks without having to think about it,” Davis said as he waited, “but at the same time, even if I do sneak in there, I still want to play well over the next three weeks, so I wouldn’t let it get to my head or anything like that. It would be cool to celebrate knowing that I’m there if I do get in, but otherwise, I still really want to make the most of the next three events.  It’s still really big tournaments and really strong fields, so I just want to make sure I can kind of keep it going and play well the next three events.”

The solo-third finish came with a $68,000 paycheck for Davis, enough to secure the 2017 Emirates Australian Open champion a spot in The 50.

“Any good week will get you in,” Davis remarked of the Finals, “but you’ve got four of them as well, so you don’t have to do it all the first week.  If you don’t have a great week, you still have plenty of time.  So I just kept on telling myself you don’t have to rush and do it all now, but if you play really well, take what you get.  So I did end up playing really well over the last couple of days and it’s nice to be where I am.”

SATURDAY NOTES:
* Sunday weather: Scattered showers, High of 89, Winds S/SW 10-20 mph.

* This week’s purse was $1,000,000, with $180,000 going to the champion, Robert Streb.

* This week marked the beginning of the Web.com Tour Finals, a four-event series that concludes at the Web.com Tour Championship in Atlantic Beach, Florida, Sept. 20-23. Twenty-five PGA TOUR cards were awarded last week following the WinCo Foods Portland Open presented by Kraft-Heinz. An additional 25 cards are up for grabs during the four Finals events, as well as positioning for all 50 cards.

About Robert Streb

HEIGHT: 5-10   WEIGHT: 165
BIRTHDATE: April 7, 1987
BIRTHPLACE: Chickasha, Oklahoma
RESIDENCE: Shawnee, Kansas
FAMILY: Wife, Maggie; Daughter, Catherine; Son, David Frank
EDUCATION: Kansas State University (Marketing, 2009)
TURNED PROFESSIONAL: 2009

* Streb becomes the sixth 54-hole leader to go on to capture the title in Columbus since its inception in 2007, with the most recent being Justin Thomas in 2014. Streb is also the seventh straight player to win when playing out of the final Sunday grouping.

* Including the one-hole playoff on No. 18, both Streb and Malnati played the hole five times. Streb played the hole at 2-under, while Malnati played it in 4-over, including a lip-out bogey in the playoff from roughly 15 feet.

* Jonathan Byrd carded the low round of the day with a 6-under 65 to jump 40 spots from T70 to T30.

* Shawn Stefani bookended his tournament with 4-under-par 67s to claim a solo fourth finish and lock up a return to the PGA TOUR. A late birdie on No. 17 ended up being the difference for the 36-year-old. The 221-yard par-3 played as the fourth-toughest hole throughout the week, but Stefani played it 1-under.

* Leading the contingency of PGA TOUR Latinoamérica alumni in this week’s field was 2017 Nashville Golf Open champion Lanto Griffin. Griffin finished T5 with four rounds in the 60s.

* While it is difficult to estimate exactly how much money is needed to finish in the top 25 of the Finals money list and collect one of the remaining 25 PGA TOUR cards handed out at the conclusion of the Web.com Tour Championship, below is how much money the 25th man on the money list earned in each of the past two four:

2013     Bobby Gates                            $33,650.00
2014     Eric Axley                               $36,311.66
2015     Rob Oppenheim                      $32,206.00
2016     Tim Wilkinson                        $27,425.00#
2017     Seamus Power                         $40,625.00

# – denotes three events played (Web.com Tour Championship was cancelled)

* The Ohio State University GC’s Scarlet Course scoring average:

Front (36)         Back (35)          Total          Cumulative

R1 35.956                34.912                70.868

R2 36.154                35.750                71.904         71.386

R3 35.747                35.053                70.800         71.191

R4 35.987                35.000                70.987         71.140

 

Final-Round Leaderboard

Pos. Name Scores
1 *Robert Streb 65-68-68-71–272 (-12)
2 Peter Malnati 69-68-69-66–272 (-12)
3 Cameron Davis 69-71-67-66–273 (-11)
4 Shawn Stefani 67-72-68-67–274 (-10)
T5 5 tied at 275 (-9)

*Won via sudden-death playoff

 

* NEXT WEEK: The Web.com Tour travels to Northeast Ohio for the DAP Championship presented by NewBrick, the second event of the Web.com Tour Finals. The Tour then takes a week off before traveling to Boise, Idaho, for the Albertsons Boise Open presented by Kraft Nabisco and then heads to Atlantic Beach, Florida, for the season-ending Web.com Tour Championship.

 

 

Recapping, Knous, Streb shared lead going into final round of Nationwide Children’s Championship

MATCH RECAP WRITTEN BY & COURTESY OF NCC COMMUNICATIONS

 

 

Jim Knous speaks with media (photo by Stuart Mason)

Robert Streb told the media his game is going good right now (photo by Stuart Mason)

COLUMBUS, Ohio – In a round broken up by a weather delay in Columbus, Jim Knous and Robert Streb stayed one stroke clear of the field with matching scores of 12-under 201 heading into Sunday’s final round at the Web.com Tour’s Nationwide Children’s Hospital Championship. Knous tied the low round of the day with a 6-under 65, while Streb maintained his 36-hole lead with a 3-under 68. Joseph Bramlett and Denny McCarthy each sit two shots back at 10-under 203.

Making his career debut in the Web.com Tour Finals, Knous was on fire from the start, birdying the first five holes to jump to the top of the leaderboard. The string of birdies matched the longest streak of his Web.com Tour career after a similar stretch in the first round at the 2017 LECOM Health Challenge.

“Five birdies in a row obviously is a dream come true,” said Knous, a Colorado School of Mines alum. “But, I mean, I was just hitting shots good, hitting shots close to the hole. There really weren’t that many long putts. The putt on No. 5 was a downhill trickler about 20 feet, so that was kind of a bonus there.”

Knous had a less eventful back nine, carding six consecutive pars before birdying the par-4 16th. Two more pars locked up the 54-hole lead, Knous’ second this season.

The father-of-one entered last week in need of a strong finish to end the Regular Season inside the top 75 on the money list to secure a Web.com Tour Finals berth.

“I mean, [last week] being on the bubble like that, [No.] 74, and knowing I needed a good finish to make the Finals and then doing it and playing well and finishing in the top 5 was huge. I was just so excited,” said Knous.

Knous is in the midst of a breakout season on Tour, with two top-five finishes already under his belt, including last week at the WinCo Foods Portland Open presented by Kraft-Heinz. He finished the Regular Season at No. 52 on the money list, and a win on Sunday would earn him his first PGA TOUR card.

While Knous is looking to reach the PGA TOUR for the first time, Streb is contending to regain status after competing on the PGA TOUR during the 2017-18 season.

“I putted really well the first two days,” said Streb, a Kansas State alum. “It was a little wishy-washy for a few holes today, then made some coming in.  So really nice to hang in there.  We’ll see how tomorrow goes.”

After birdying No. 2 for the second time in three days, Streb bogeyed the ninth to make the turn even on the day. He turned up the heat on the back nine with birdies at Nos. 12 and 15 before punctuating his round with a 25-foot birdie on the final hole to the delight of the crowd surrounding the 18th green.

“Yeah, [I was] just trying to get a tee ball in the fairway [on No. 18],” Streb remarked. “Hit a good second shot, came up a little shorter than I was hoping for, but obviously made a long putt and, yeah, gave me a good chance [heading into] tomorrow.”

Competing in 29 TOUR events this season, the Oklahoma native made 10 cuts, picking up a top-10 finish at the Barbasol Championship (T10), where he held a share of the 54-hole lead. The 31-year-old is a former PGA TOUR champion at the 2015 McGladrey Classic.

SATURDAY NOTES:
* Saturday weather: Scattered showers, High of 80, Winds S/SW 10-20 mph.

* This week’s purse is $1,000,000, with $180,000 going to the champion.

* This week marks the beginning of the Web.com Tour Finals, a four-event series that concludes at the Web.com Tour Championship in Atlantic Beach, Florida, Sept. 20-23. Twenty-five PGA TOUR cards were awarded last week following the WinCo Foods Portland Open presented by Kraft-Heinz. An additional 25 cards are up for grabs during the four Finals events, as well as positioning for all 50 cards.

* Since the tournament’s inception in 2007, five 54-hole leaders/co-leaders have gone on to capture the title in Columbus, with the most recent being Justin Thomas in 2014. Through 23 events this season, seven third-round leaders have been able to convert their lead into a 72-hole victory, with the most recent being Sungjae Im at last week’s WinCo Foods Portland Open presented by Kraft-Heinz.

* The largest come-from-behind victory in tournament history occurred in 2009, when Derek Lamely overcame an eight-stroke deficit to take home the title (the third largest come-from-behind victory in Tour history). Entering Sunday, 29 players sit within eight strokes of the lead.

* Georgia Tech alum Seth Reeves posted a third-round 6-under 65 to tie the round of the day and move into a tie for fifth. Reeves, who had a late-season surge to earn a Web.com Tour Finals berth for the second straight year, looks to join 2018 Web.com Tour graduates and fellow Yellow Jackets Anders Albertson and Roberto Castro on the PGA TOUR next year with a strong finish Sunday in Columbus.

* After carding a T10 finish at last week’s WinCo Foods Portland Open to earn a spot in the Web.com Tour Finals, Australian Curtis Luck has strung together rounds of 67-69-68 to sit at 9-under 204, just three back of the lead, heading into Sunday.

* Leading the contingency of PGA TOUR Latinoamérica alumni in this week’s field is 2017 Nashville Golf Open benefitting the Snedeker Foundation champion Lanto Griffin. Griffin sits T8 heading into Sunday, just five back of Knous and Streb.

* Two-time European Tour winner Dylan Frittelli took the biggest advantage of Moving Day, posting a 6-under 65 Saturday to jump 38 spots up to T14 heading into the final round.

* While it is difficult to estimate exactly how much money is needed to finish in the top 25 of the Finals money list and collect one of the remaining 25 PGA TOUR cards handed out at the conclusion of the Web.com Tour Championship, below is how much money the 25th man on the money list earned in each of the past two four:

2013     Bobby Gates                            $33,650.00
2014     Eric Axley                               $36,311.66
2015     Rob Oppenheim                      $32,206.00
2016     Cody Gribble/Kelly Kraft       $35,125.00#
2017     Seamus Power                         $40,625.00

# – denotes three events played (Web.com Tour Championship was cancelled)

* The Ohio State University GC’s Scarlet Course scoring average:

Front (36)         Back (35)          Total          Cumulative

R1 35.956                34.912                70.868

R2 36.154                35.750                71.904         71.386

R3 35.747                35.053                70.800         71.191

 

Third-Round Leaderboard

Pos. Name Scores
1 Jim Knous 68-68-65–201 (-12)
Robert Streb 65-68-68–201 (-12)
3 Joseph Bramlett 70-68-65–203 (-10)
Denny McCarthy 66-69-68–203 (-10)
5 Three tied at 204 (-9)

 

 

 

Recapping 2nd Round Nationwide Children’s Championship, Robert Streb takes lead

MATCH RECAP WRITTEN BY & COURTESY OF NCC COMMUNICATIONS

 

 

Robert Streb took over the lead in Friday action (photo by Stuart Mason)

COLUMBUS, Ohio – It was a windy Friday in Columbus for the 12th playing of the Web.com Tour’s Nationwide Children’s Hospital Championship, but not even the wind gusts could stop former PGA TOUR winner Robert Streb from making a statement in the Buckeye State, posting a second-round 3-under 68 to move to 9-under 133 heading into the weekend. 2017 Mackenzie Tour – PGA TOUR Canada Player of the Year Kramer Hickok sits one back of Streb, followed by a host of players tied at 7-under 135.

“[It feels] a little different,” Streb said of holding the 36-hole lead. “I haven’t done too much of it this year, but it’s nice to be playing well, putting well.  Hopefully, I can keep getting some chances this weekend and see how we do.”

Streb, who entered Friday one stroke back of the lead, ran into trouble early at The Ohio State University Golf Club’s Scarlet Course. After picking up a bogey on his opening hole Thursday, Streb ran into the same fate on Friday, carding a five on the par-4 10th (his first hole of the day).

“I hit it way left,” he said when asked what led to the error. “I got a pretty good break and just basically guessed poorly on the green firmness.  I got through the green [on my approach shot], had a tough chip, and then hit a good one.”

The mistake ended up being the only one of the day for the Kansas State University alum, who kept his scorecard clean for the remainder of the round. Birdies on Nos. 12 and 18 allowed Streb to make the turn at 1-under 34 and join a collection of players who had become bunched atop the leaderboard.

After parring the first three holes of his second nine, the father-of-three needed something big to build momentum and break away from the rest of the pack.

That something big came for Streb in the form of an eagle at the par-5 fourth.

“That was nice,” Streb remarked after the round. “I wasn’t sure if I was going to cover the bunker or not.  It covered, I had a pretty good number, and luckily, it landed soft on the green and I had a good putt at it.”

The 2012 Mylan Classic champion would go on to par his remaining five holes, ending the day with a 68.

After finishing at No. 178 in the PGA TOUR’s FedExCup Standings this year, Streb looks to return to the PGA TOUR with a win this week and make up for a 2017-18 season that was full of struggles. The Oklahoma native made just 10 of 29 cuts, picking up a lone top-10 finish at the Barbasol Championship (T10), where he held a share of the 54-hole lead.

Unlike Streb, Hickok’s status for next season has already been determined.

After notching four top-10s, including a runner-up, in his rookie season, the 26-year-old ended the Regular Season at No. 23, earning his first PGA TOUR card at the conclusion of last week’s WinCo Foods Portland Open presented by Kraft-Heinz.

“I feel like I’m really just freewheeling it out here this week,” Hickok commented after the first round. “I feel like there’s a lot of guys that have a lot more pressure than I do, whether they’re trying to [regain] their PGA TOUR card or they’re trying to get to the PGA TOUR for the first time.  So my mentality is just way different.  I’m really relaxed and just got nothing to lose, so I’m just out there playing the best golf I can.”

That sense of freedom allowed Hickok to continue his strong play into Friday, picking up five birdies alongside two bogeys to finish the day at 3-under 68, moving to 8-under 134 for the tournament.

“It’s tough out there,” Hickok remarked. “You’ve got to be really patient. I hit the driver really well today, which allowed me to put myself in position to score, but even then you can still make a quick bogey.

“The whole game plan is just to limit the mistakes, and I feel if you limit the bogeys, you’ll be able to shoot some low rounds out here. It’s not about making birdies; it’s not a birdie fest, so just limit the mistakes as much as you can and it seems to be helping so far.”

 

FRIDAY NOTES:

* Friday weather: Partly Cloudy, High of 81, Winds S/SE 8-16 mph.

* This week’s purse is $1,000,000, with $180,000 going to the champion.

* This week marks the beginning of the Web.com Tour Finals, a four-event series that concludes at the Web.com Tour Championship in Atlantic Beach, Florida, Sept. 20-23. Twenty-five PGA TOUR cards were awarded last week following the WinCo Foods Portland Open presented by Kraft-Heinz. An additional 25 cards are up for grabs during the four Finals events, as well as positioning for all 50 cards.

* Friday’s cut came at 1-over 143 with 75 players advancing to the weekend. Andres Romero made the biggest jump up the leaderboard with a 5-under 66 to make the cut, rising from T134 after the first round to T63 after Friday.

* Only two 36-hole leaders/co-leaders have been able to convert their lead into a victory in Columbus (Daniel Summerhays, 2007; Seung-Yul Noh, 2013). Through 23 events this year, five second-round leaders have captured a title at the end of the week, with the most recent being Sepp Straka at the KC Golf Classic.

* Leading the contingency of PGA TOUR Latinoamérica alumni in this week’s field is Sebastian Muñoz, who has already locked up his PGA TOUR card as a member of The 25. Muñoz carded a second-round 4-under 67 to move to T7, just three back of the lead.

* After a strong performance (T6) at last week’s WinCo Foods Portland Open presented by Kraft-Heinz to earn his first Web.com Tour Finals berth, Curtis Luck is again inside the top 10 at T7. The former No. 1 amateur golfer in the world is looking to earn his first PGA TOUR card after a 36-hole total of 6-under 136.

* The Ohio State University GC’s Scarlet Course scoring average:

Front (36)         Back (35)          Total          Cumulative

R1 35.956                34.912                70.868

R2 36.154                35.750                71.904             71.386

 

Second-Round Leaderboard

 

Pos. Name Scores
1 Robert Streb 65-68–133 (-9)
2 Kramer Hickok 66-68–134 (-8)
3 Four tied at 135 (-7)

 

 

Recapping Nationwide Children’s Championship First Round, Henrik Norlander leads

MATCH RECAP WRITTEN BY & COURTESY OF NCC COMMUNICATIONS

 

Hendrik Norlander (photo by Stuart Mason)

COLUMBUS, Ohio – For some, the four-event Web.com Tour Finals series represents a chance to earn their first PGA TOUR card. For others it’s a route to return to the TOUR and personal redemption for a season that might not have been to their liking. For Sweden native Henrik Norlander, it’s a mix of both.

The 31-year-old has spent the past two seasons playing on the Web.com Tour after losing his PGA TOUR card following a rough 2016.

With his sights set on a TOUR return, Norlander wasted no time taking advantage of the opportunity, opening with a 7-under 64 at The Ohio State University Golf Club’s Scarlet Course, good for a one-stroke lead over fellow past Web.com Tour winner Robert Streb.

Norlander was dialed in from the get-go in Columbus, carding a birdie on three of his first four holes. Despite stumbling at the par-5 sixth and walking away with bogey, the Augusta University alum still put together a strong round, following up pars on Nos. 7-9 with a string of birdies on five of the first six holes on his back nine (Nos. 10-12 and 14-15).

“I hit a lot of fairways, obviously,” Norlander said of the stretch, “and then I hit a lot of iron shots.  I had 200 yards into No. 11, hit it to a foot.  Two-putted No. 12, and then hit it to seven feet maybe on No. 14, which is a hard hole. I was able to make that…  I mean it’s cliché, but I just tried to stay in the present.  I felt like I did a really good job of that today.”

The Atlanta, resident would go on to challenge the tournament record of 8-under 63 after his back-to-back birdies on Nos. 14 and 15, but a par-bogey-birdie finish would leave him one stroke shy.

“I got greedy on No. 17 and tried to go for the flag,” he remarked. “I came out of it in the bunker and I was actually shocked by how easy that bunker shot was because I was on the upslope.  Almost sort of took me out of my focus.  I thought I was going to have a really tough shot and I got up there and it was sort of easy.  I hit a pretty bad bunker shot, hit a decent putt.  It was nice to bounce back and finish with a birdie.”

In 20 Regular-Season starts this year, Norlander picked up seven top-25 finishes, including a runner-up at the Ellie Mae Classic at TPC Stonebrae. The performance was enough to earn him a Web.com Tour Finals berth for the sixth-straight year, but at No. 32 on the money list, it wasn’t enough for a return to the PGA TOUR. Norlander isn’t letting that stop him; instead, he feels freer than ever in his chase.

“I didn’t get in the top 25 [on the money list],” Norlander commented after his round, “which was the goal obviously for the season.  So, I tried to regroup and had three goals the next four events: try to take it a little slower, have fun and just trust everything I’m doing.  I only have an upside to play these four events.  I have full status on the Web.com Tour next year, which obviously is not my ultimate goal, but there’s only upside playing these four events.  I’m just trying to have fun.”

Streb falls into the latter of the two earlier mentioned categories as well, competing in this week’s event after finishing at No. 178 in the PGA TOUR’s FedExCup Standings this season.

Trouble struck early for Streb, who carded a bogey on the par-4 first.

A wayward tee shot left the 31-year-old in the immediate rough near a tree and a rough chip out of the area led to more trouble. Streb struggled on the green, missing a putt and ultimately walking away with a bogey on the opening hole.

The former PGA TOUR winner refused to let the hole define his round, however, bouncing back with a birdie on the second hole to shift the momentum.

“The birdie on the second hole after bogeying the first,” Streb said of the bounce back, “was a nice help.  Kind of squashed that slow start, so that was good.  Kind of kept it rolling after that… You know the weather today was going to be really good, so you’re going to get some chances.  Had it been blowing 25, maybe that’s a little different, but with the good weather, if you keep hitting good shots, you’re going to get a lot of looks at it.”

Streb played clean golf after the opening hole, picking up birdies on Nos. 5 and 6 before making the turn and picking up four more on his final nine. The 66 was his lowest round in a PGA TOUR-sanctioned event since carding a 63 in the third round of the 2018 Barbasol Championship to take the 54-hole co-lead with eventual tournament champion Troy Merritt.

The Kansas State University alum has competed in this event twice before, carding a T22 finish in 2012 and ending 2013 tied for 28th. Streb credits his past experience with the course as a factor for his success on Thursday.

“It’s good,” Streb commented when asked about the Jack Nicklaus-designed course, “and this place is just a good test.  If you’re playing well, you’ll do fine, and if you’re not, you’re kind of scrambling all day.  So, it’s very fair and can be pretty tough when the wind blows and it gets bouncing.”

FRIDAY NOTES:

* Friday weather: Mostly sunny, High of 78, Winds N 5-10 mph.

* This week’s purse is $1,000,000, with $180,000 going to the champion.

* This week marks the beginning of the Web.com Tour Finals, a four-event series that concludes at the Web.com Tour Championship in Atlantic Beach, Florida, Sept. 20-23. Twenty-five PGA TOUR cards were awarded last week following the WinCo Foods Portland Open presented by Kraft-Heinz. An additional 25 cards are up for grabs during the four Finals events, as well as positioning for all 50 cards.

* The highest start by an eventual tournament currently sits at even-par 71, with 2009 champion Derek Lamely and 2015 champion Andrew Loupe having both opened tournament play with the score. Eighty-one players currently sit at even-par or better heading into the second round.

* Only one 18-hole leader/co-leader has been able to convert their lead into a victory in Columbus (Bill Lunde, 2008). Through 23 events this year, three first-round leaders have captured a title at the end of the week, with the most recent being Martin Trainer at the Price Cutter Charity Championship presented by Dr Pepper.

* This week’s field features two past champions, Ben Kohles (2012) and Daniel Summerhayes, who won the event as an amateur in 2007. Kohles and Summerhayes both opened play with an even-par 71.

* Leading the contingency of Mackenzie Tour – PGA TOUR Canada alumni in this week’s field is 2017 Mackenzie Tour Player of the Year and Order of Merit winner Kramer Hickok. Hickok, who was one of nine Mackenzie Tour alums to receive their PGA TOUR card last week in Portland, opened with a 5-under 66 to move to T3, just two strokes back of the lead.

 

* The Ohio State University GC’s Scarlet Course scoring average:

Front (36)         Back (35)          Total

R1 35.956                34.912                70.868

 

Jim Knous joins Streb in 54 hole lead at Nationwide Children’s Hospital Championship

MATCH RECAP WRITTEN BY PRESTON SMITH; COURTESY WEB.COM TOUR & NCC MEDIA RELATIONS

 

COLUMBUS, Ohio – The 3rd round was interrupted by a weather delay, where fans, golfers and media retreated to the clubhouse for cover and safety, Jim Knous and Robert Streb stayed one stroke clear of the field with matching scores of 12-under 201 heading into Sunday’s final round at the Web.com Tour’s Nationwide Children’s Hospital Championship.

Knous tied the low round of the day with a 6-under 65, while Streb maintained his 36-hole lead with a 3-under 68. Joseph Bramlett and Denny McCarthy each sit two shots back at 10-under 203.

Making his career debut in the Web.com Tour Finals, Knous was on fire from the start, making birdie on the first five holes to jump to the top of the leaderboard. The string of birdies matched the longest streak of his Web.com Tour career after a similar stretch in the first round at the 2017 LECOM Health Challenge.

“Five birdies in a row obviously is a dream come true,” said Knous. “But, I mean, I was just hitting shots good, hitting shots close to the hole. There really weren’t that many long putts. The putt on No. 5 was a downhill trickler, about 20 feet, so that was kind of a bonus there.”

Jim Knous proud of his alma mater even if people aren't familiar with it (megasportsnews.com photo)

Knous had a less eventful back nine, carding six consecutive pars before making birdie on the par-4 16th. Two more pars locked up the 54-hole lead, Knous’ second this season.

Knous is in the midst of a breakout season on Tour, with two top-five finishes already under his belt, including last week at the WinCo Foods Portland Open presented by Kraft-Heinz. He finished the Regular Season at No. 52 on the money list, and a win on Sunday would earn him his first PGA TOUR card.

The Colorado School of the Mines alumnus entered last week in need of a strong finish to end the Regular Season inside the top 75 on the money list to secure a Web.com Tour Finals berth.

“I mean, (last week) being on the bubble like that, (No.) 74, and knowing I needed a good finish to make the Finals and then doing it and playing well and finishing in the top 5 was huge. I was just so excited,” said Knous.

Most people have not heard of his college, Colorado School of the Mines.

Established in 1874, the college, located in Golden, Colorado, is devoted to engineering and applied science with special expertise. It is constantly listed in The U.S. News and World Report listings for Top Colleges and Universities. In the 2016–17 QS World University Rankings by subject, the university was ranked as the top institution in the world for mineral and mining engineering. The school has an enrollment of 6,117 and competes in NCAA Division II with their athletic teams being called the Orediggers.

Blaster the Burro, mascot of Colorado School of the Mines (courtesy CSM)

While Knous is looking to reach the PGA TOUR for the first time, Streb is trying to regain status after competing on the PGA TOUR during the 2017-18 season.

Competing in 29 TOUR events this season, the Oklahoma native made 10 cuts, picking up a top-10 finish at the Barbasol Championship (T10), where he held a share of the 54-hole lead. The 31-year-old is a former PGA TOUR champion (The RSM Classic in fall 2014).

 

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