Thailand’s Kiradech Aphibarnrat overcame a triple bogey in mid-round to shoot an opening 3-under 68 in the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Championship, the second Korn Ferry Tour Finals event, on Thursday.
The 32-year-old showed plenty of grit between his teeth after stumbling to a mind-numbing seven on the par-4 10th hole which erased his 3-under front nine effort at The Ohio State University Golf Club’s Scarlet Course.
Kiradech fought back with birdies on Hole Nos. 11, 12 and 18 to end his day in tied 28th place and five shots behind co-leaders, Stephan Jaeger and David Lipsky who fired matching 63s. The Thai is competing in the Korn Ferry Tour Finals after losing his PGA TOUR card and needs to finish in the top-25 ranking after next week’s final event to regain his TOUR membership. He entered the week in T15 of The Finals 25 ranking.
Satoshi Kodaira of Japan, who is a one-time winner on the PGA TOUR, carded a 69 to share 43rd place after trading five birdies against three bogeys while Korea’s Byeong Hun An carded a 70 to sit in 64th position. An has played on the PGA TOUR for the last four seasons but finished outside the top-125 of the FedExCup standings to lose his status.
Jaeger and Lipsky, both of whom already secured PGA TOUR cards for the upcoming 2021-22 season, tied the 18-hole tournament scoring record previously set by four players, though it was one stroke shy of the course record.
This week’s venue is regarded as one of the toughest courses on the Korn Ferry Tour, but heavy rainfall amid Wednesday thunderstorms contributed to lower opening-round scores Thursday.
“Because of the rain and the heat, the rough is really juicy,” Lipsky said. “But if you can keep your ball in the fairway, the greens are the most receptive I’ve ever seen them, so it makes some of these pin locations really accessible. If you’re hitting it straight, the scores are out there for you.”
Second-round tee times will run from 7:20 a.m. to 2:31 p.m. off the first and 10th tees.
- Stephan Jaeger and David Lipsky tied the 18-hole tournament scoring record previously established by four players:
- Jonathan Kaye (Round 1, 2010)
- James Sacheck (Round 3, 2011)
- Trevor Murphy (Round 1, 2012)
- Derek Fathauer (Round 1, 2014)