Second-Round Notes – Nationwide Children’s Hospital Championship

Second-Round Notes – Friday, August 27, 2021

Course Setup: The Ohio State University Golf Club (Scarlet Course) – Par 71 / 7,444 yards

Stephan Jaeger, David Lipsky remain tied atop leaderboard at Nationwide Children’s Hospital Championship

COLUMBUS, Ohio  Nothing changed atop the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Championship leaderboard Friday, as 18-hole leaders Stephan Jaeger and David Lipsky fired matching 2-under 69s and reached 10-under par for the tournament, leaving them one stroke clear of seven players in T3 position.

Jaeger and Lipsky both tied the 18-hole tournament scoring record Thursday, but they battled through difficult rounds Friday morning.

“Really there was nothing going today. It was kind of a grind,” Jaeger said. “I’m right there where I need to be, and (I’m) about to go on the range to do a little bit of work and get it figured out for this weekend, and try to keep that hot putter running. I actually hit some nice shots coming in on the back nine and I just want to solidify that and give myself a nice little feel going into the weekend.

“Just because I didn’t really hit it that good or putt any good doesn’t mean I’m going to lose confidence. I’m happy where I’m at.”

Jaeger, who entered the week at No. 2 in The 25 points standings after a 15-tournament stretch at No. 1, got off to a solid start with birdies at the par-4 third and par-5 fourth. The Munich, Germany slipped into neutral, though, making seven consecutive pars before negating his only other birdie of the round with a bogey at the par-4 14th.

In spite of the modest second-round score, Jaeger once again finds himself in the mix for a Three-Victory Promotion – which, most importantly at this stage of the season, ensures fully exempt status for the 2021-22 PGA TOUR season. A win would also put Jaeger back atop The 25 points standings leading into next week’s Korn Ferry Tour Championship presented by United Leasing & Finance, the final event of the Korn Ferry Tour Finals.

Finishing No. 1 in The 25 points standings comes with two significant benefits: fully exempt status for the 2021-22 PGA TOUR season, and an exemption into THE PLAYERS Championship. In years past, Jaeger ardently pursued those perks, partly to ensure he avoided the early-season reshuffle. As the 32-year-old and six-time Korn Ferry Tour winner prepares for his third PGA TOUR season, however, none of those things are on his mind.

“You play good in the fall, you’re in every tournament. If you’re worried about reshuffling, you’ve got a long year to go,” Jaeger said of the upcoming TOUR season. “When you get on TOUR the first year, all your mind is like, oh, I just want to keep my card. It’s always in the back of your mind. But I feel like my game is now where I can compete any week, any tournament, and I want to go out there and win. That’s kind of your dream, to win on the PGA TOUR.  I’m not really worried about that stuff.”

Lipsky played Friday’s round with a demo driver after he and his caddie discovered a crack in his usual driver on their final hole Thursday. Ironically, Lipsky hit 11 of 14 fairways Friday, three more than he did in the opening round.

“It was working alright, just didn’t have the same flight,” Lipsky said. “It was probably going five to eight yards shorter than my driver, but it was good enough. My iron play is good right now, so that’s all that matters.”

Lipsky birdied two of his first three holes and rattled off eight consecutive pars before a birdie at the par-5 12th. A three-putt bogey at the par-3 13th and a failed bunker save attempt at the par-4 14th dropped Lipsky out of the lead, but a birdie at the par-4 16th lifted him back to the top of the leaderboard.  

“Game is coming around and I’m looking forward to finishing out this weekend and playing next week,” said Lipsky, who sat out the bulk of June and all of July with a sprained finger. “I’m in contention, so there’s going to be that extra bit of focus, and maybe a little bit of pressure to try to get a win this weekend. But at the end of the day, I’m just trying to get my game ready for the (PGA) TOUR next season.”

Two of the players among the eight-way T3 are Taylor Montgomery and Patrick Fishburn.

Montgomery finished 26th in the 2020-21 Korn Ferry Tour regular season points standings, missing the final spot in The 25 by 17 points following a missed cut in the regular season finale. Conversely, Fishburn posted a T4 in the regular season finale, moved into the top 75 of the regular season points standings, and secured a spot in the Korn Ferry Tour Finals. Both Fishburn and Montgomery are seeking their first PGA TOUR cards.

The Korn Ferry Tour is currently projecting players who finish two-way T5 or better in a Korn Ferry Tour Finals event to earn one of 25 PGA TOUR cards available via The Finals 25. Those PGA TOUR cards will be awarded at the conclusion of next week’s Korn Ferry Tour Championship presented by United Leasing & Finance.

Third-round pairings will run from 9:30 a.m. through 3:05 p.m. off the first tee. Golf Channel will provide live telecast coverage from 5-7 p.m.

Second-Round Notes

  • The 36-hole cut was made at 3-under par, with 65 professionals advancing to the weekend
  • Stephan Jaeger finished T5 at the 2020 Nationwide Children’s Hospital Championship, and it was the first time in his five starts at the event he finished higher than T24
  • David Lipsky is making his third career start at the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Championship; he missed the cut in 2019 and 2020
  • At the 2021 Emerald Coast Classic at Sandestin this past April, Jaeger defeated Lipsky in a playoff for his second win of the season and sixth Korn Ferry Tour win of his career – which moved him within one of Jason Gore’s all-time record
  • Aaron Rai (T9 / -8), a two-time winner on the European Tour who secured his first PGA TOUR card last week, carded the lowest round of the day with an 8-under 63
    • Rai’s 8-under 63 tied the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Championship 18-hole scoring record previously established by six players, including Jaeger and Lipsky in Thursday’s opening round
  • Akron, Ohio natives Ryan Armour (T27 / -5) and Justin Lower (T42 / -4) both survived the 36-hole cut; Armour now plays from Silver Lake, Ohio, while Lower plays from Canal Fulton, Ohio
  • Weather: Partly cloudy, high of 89 degrees, wind SW at 4-12 mph
  • The Nationwide Children’s Hospital Championship is the second event of the Korn Ferry Tour Finals, a three-event series which determines the second set of 25 PGA TOUR cards given out for the upcoming 2021-22 season; the first set of 25 PGA TOUR cards was awarded to the top 25 point earners through the 43-event 2020-21 Korn Ferry Tour regular season
  • This week’s purse is $1,000,000, with $180,000 going to the champion; the champion will also receive 1,000 Korn Ferry Tour points

Second-Round Course Statistics

  • Toughest Hole – No. 2, Par 4, 472 yards (4.184 – 10 birdies, 35 bogeys)
  • Easiest Hole – No. 12, Par 5, 562 yards (4.478 – two eagles, 75 birdies, eight bogeys)
  • Scoring Average (Front 9 – Par 36) – 35.316
  • Scoring Average (Back 9 – Par 35) – 34.426
  • Scoring Average (Total) – 69.743

Cumulative Course Statistics

  • Toughest Hole – No. 2, Par 4, 472 yards (4.136 – 24 birdies, 56 bogeys, two double bogeys or worse)
  • Easiest Hole – No. 12, Par 5, 562 yards (4.495 – six eagles, 142 birdies, 14 bogeys or worse)
  • Scoring Average (Front 9 – Par 36) – 35.399
  • Scoring Average (Back 9 – Par 35) – 34.330
  • Scoring Average (Total) – 69.729

COURTESY KORN FERRY & PGA TOUR COMMUNICATIONS

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