Korn Ferry Tour: Third-Round Notes: Nationwide Children’s Hospital Championship

David Lingmerth (courtesy PGA Tour)

Third-Round Notes – Saturday, August 27, 2022

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

David Lingmerth maintains lead, field closes in at Nationwide Children’s Hospital Championship

COLUMBUS, Ohio – near-historic six-stroke advantage went down to two, but David Lingmerth still stood atop the leaderboard following the third round of the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Championship. Lingmerth carded an even-par 71 and finally fell off record-shattering pace at Ohio State University Golf Club’s Scarlet Course, as he finished one stroke shy of the 54-hole tournament scoring record of 15-under 198 established by Stephan Jaeger and Vince Whaley last year.

“Tee to green, I played just as good or better than maybe even yesterday,” Lingmerth said. “Rarely got myself into trouble today. Hope to just keep doing the same thing tomorrow and hopefully get some putts to drop. I had just as many good looks today as I did yesterday, so basically difference between the two rounds is just the putter. That’s all it was.

“I’m just excited that I’m hitting good shots. When you shoot even-par on a day like today, (other players) are going to close in. Got to play really good tomorrow. Hopefully we can go out and do that.”

Even though a bogey on the final hole of the day dropped Lingmerth to 14-under par for the week, it marked his first outright 54-hole lead in 95 career starts on the Korn Ferry Tour, as he previously co-led the 2012 Price Cutter Charity Championship presented by Dr Pepper before he finished T6. At the 2012 Neediest Kids Championship at TPC Potomac, the site of Lingmerth’s only Korn Ferry Tour victory, he began the final round T8 and four strokes off the lead.

In 198 career PGA TOUR starts, the 35-year-old Lingmerth held an outright 54-hole lead at the 2017 Quicken Loans National (also held at TPC Potomac) before he ultimately finished T5, and shared the 54-hole lead at the 2013 PLAYERS Championship before he finished T2, only behind Tiger Woods. Lingmerth began the final round of the 2015 Memorial Tournament presented by Workday, his lone PGA TOUR victory, in T2 position and three strokes behind Justin Rose, who he eventually defeated in a playoff.

Lingmerth’s T5 at the aforementioned 2017 Quicken Loans National marked his last top-10 in PGA TOUR-sanctioned play. This week is Lingmerth’s 118th start since that event, which concluded July 2, 2017. Lingmerth is now bidding to become the first wire-to-wire winner on the Korn Ferry Tour since Cameron Young’s victory at the 2021 AdventHealth Championship.

The Tranas, Sweden native kept a clean, relatively uneventful scorecard through 14 holes Saturday. Lingmerth made easy work of the par-5 sixth and par-4 10th, making mid-range birdie putts on each green. Missed fairways at the par-4 15th and 18th led to missed greens and failed up-and-down attempts, dropping Lingmerth from 16-under to 14-under for the tournament.

“Caught a couple of fliers,” said Lingmerth, who leads the field in driving accuracy this week having hit 32 of 42 fairways. “Missed the green long on those two holes and got bad lies in the rough. Other than that, I had plenty of birdie opportunities. The putter wasn’t quite listening today.”

Lingmerth has essentially split time between the Korn Ferry Tour and PGA TOUR since 2019, his play slumping mostly as a result of battling nagging injuries, and is making his third Korn Ferry Tour Finals appearance since 2018. Lingmerth’s Finals appearance this year stems from a No. 193 finish on the 2021-22 FedExCup Eligibility Points List.

Lingmerth left Sweden for the University of West Florida, an NCAA Division II program in Pensacola, Florida, where he played for one season. Lingmerth transferred to Arkansas and played his final three seasons there, eventually turning professional in 2010. Lingmerth played the Korn Ferry Tour in 2011, finishing 27th on the money list and two spots shy of a PGA TOUR card.

The following year, Lingmerth won the 2012 Neediest Kids Championship and finished 10th on the money list for his first PGA TOUR card. Lingmerth enjoyed immediate success as a TOUR rookie, posting a pair of runner-up finishes in 2013.

A season later, Lingmerth finished just outside the FedExCup Playoffs, sending him to the 2014 Korn Ferry Tour Finals. A pair of top-10s and a T14 at the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Championship sent him back up to the PGA TOUR as a member of The Finals 25. Lingmerth’s career breakthrough came in June 2015, when he won the Memorial Tournament presented by Workday in nearby Dublin, Ohio; he was the 118th man on the priority ranking for the 120-player field. Lingmerth finished the 2014-15 season 37th in the FedExCup, barely missing out on a trip to the TOUR Championship.

“I remember quite a bit from that tournament,” Lingmerth said of his win at nearby Muirfield Village Golf Club. “When you have fun weeks like that, you kind of try to put those in the memory bank. I think it was my dad’s birthday the day I won. Jack [Nicklaus] found out and when I had my parents on the phone, he was nice enough to come over and grab the phone for a few seconds.”

Lingmerth made another pair of FedExCup Playoffs appearances in 2015-16 and 2016-17 before playing the bulk of the last five seasons on TOUR with conditional status.

Closing out the tournament Sunday would also ensure Lingmerth a spot in The Finals 25, which would take him out of the conditional “past champions” category for the first time in roughly three years.

“One step at a time,” Lingmerth said of the potential ramifications of Sunday’s final round. “We will see where we happen to land.”

Final-round groupings will run from 8:50 a.m. through 10:50 a.m. local time off the first and 10th tees. Nick Hardy and Paul Haley II, both part of the 3-way T2 at 12-under par, will join Lingmerth in the final group Sunday. Zecheng Dou also stands at 12-under and will play in the penultimate group.

Third-Round Notes

  • David Lingmerth (1st / -14) secured the eighth 36-hole lead of six-plus strokes in Korn Ferry Tour history Friday; five of the previous seven players who held such a lead went on to win
    • Steve Wheatcroft – 7-stroke lead at 2011 Melwood Prince George’s County Open (won by 12)
    • Dylan Wu – 7-stroke lead at 2020 The Bahamas Great Exuma Classic at Sandals Emerald Bay (finished T2)
    • Joe Durant – 6-stroke lead at 1996 Shreveport Open (finished solo-second)
    • David Sutherland – 6-stroke lead at 2001 Utah Championship presented by Zions Bank (won by one stroke)
    • D.A. Points – 6-stroke lead at 2004 Pete Dye West Virginia Classic (won by five strokes)
    • Kevin Na – 6-stroke lead at 2006 Mark Christopher Charity Classic (won by three strokes)
    • Aaron Wise – 6-stroke lead at 2017 Wichita Open Benefitting KU Wichita Pediatrics (won by five strokes)
  • While Lingmerth leads the field with 19 birdies, he is tied with Jared Wolfe (T11 / -8) for the most total birdies this week, as Wolfe has 18 birdies and an eagle
  • Nick Hardy (T2 / -12) was one of three members of the 2020-21 Korn Ferry Tour regular season graduating class who earned a PGA TOUR card without a victory; he notably finished T5 at this event in 2020
  • Paul Haley II (T2 / -12) and Zecheng Dou (T2 / -12) both won earlier this season, with Haley winning the Memorial Health Championship presented by LRS and Dou winning The Ascendant presented by Blue last month
    • Haley also won the 2012 Chile Classic, and Dou previously won the 2017 AdventHealth Championship and 2019 The Bahamas Great Exuma Classic at Sandals Emerald Bay
  • Three players who secured PGA TOUR cards during the regular season stand inside the top 10, and all three could pass current points leader Carl Yuan (T20 / -6) for the No. 1 spot on the season-long Korn Ferry Tour Points List with a victory this week: Dou (T2 / -12), Haley II (T2 / -12), Montgomery (T8 / -9)
  • Taylor Montgomery (T8 / -9) and Jared Wolfe (T11 / -8) both made the cut on the number and carded the lowest rounds of the day Saturday, as Montgomery shot an 8-under 63 and Wolfe fired a 7-under 64
  • Justin Lower (T13 / -7), a native of Akron who plays from Canal Fulton and played collegiately at Malone University, continues to lead the players with ties to the state of Ohio; he finished No. 25 in last year’s Finals 25 to secure his first PGA TOUR card
  • Other notables with Ohio ties include Ohio State University alum and Columbus native Bo Hoag (T30 / -5) and Ohio State University alum and Akron native Ryan Armour (T65 / -1)
  • The Nationwide Children’s Hospital Championship is the second tournament of the three-event Korn Ferry Tour Finals, which conclude with the Korn Ferry Tour Championship presented by United Leasing & Finance (September 1-4)
  • 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

Third-Round Course Statistics

  • Scoring Average (Total – Par 71): 69.597 [-1.403]
  • Scoring Average (Front Nine – Par 36): 35.039 [-0.961]
  • Scoring Average (Back Nine – Par 35): 34.558 [-0.442]
  • Toughest Hole: No. 17, Par 3, 221 yards – 3.169 [+0.169]
  • Easiest Hole: No. 12, Par 5, 562 yards – 4.494 [-0.506]

Cumulative Course Statistics

  • Scoring Average (Total – Par 71): 70.397 [-0.603]
  • Scoring Average (Front Nine – Par 36): 35.566 [-0.434]
  • Scoring Average (Back Nine – Par 35): 34.831 [-0.169]
  • Toughest Hole: No. 11, Par 4, 473 yards – 4.167 [+0.167]
  • Easiest Hole: No. 12, Par 5, 562 yards – 4.364 [-0.636]