Sargent, Dou and Wolfe share first-round lead at Wichita Open Supporting Wichita’s Youth
September 24, 2020
By Sean Wildhack, PGATOUR.COM
- September 24, 2020
Billy Tom Sargent interview after Round 1 of the Wichita Open
WICHITA, Kansas – Zecheng “Marty” Dou, Jared Wolfe and Billy Tom Sargent carded matching 7-under 63s on Thursday to claim a share of the first-round lead at the Wichita Open Supporting Wichita’s Youth. Brad Hopfinger, Taylor Dickson, Mark Baldwin and Mark Blakefield sit one stroke off the lead at 6-under.
Beginning on the back nine, Sargent carded two birdies and seven pars on his first nine holes. After making the turn, the Korn Ferry Tour rookie caught fire with a birdie on No. 1 and an eagle on the par-5 second. After a par on the par-4 third, he tallied back-to-back birdies on Nos. 4 and 5 to reach 7-under for the round. Despite a bogey on the par-4 sixth, Sargent closed his opening round with a 15-foot birdie putt to finish at 7-under.
“I made two really good up-and-downs on 17 and 18 to save pars and made the turn and putted really well,” Sargent said. “I made good putts on Nos. 1, 2, 3 and 5 and made a good one on the last hole there. My short game felt really good going into the week, so I just stayed patient and tried to make some putts.”
Last December, Sargent finished T126 at the Korn Ferry Tour Qualifying Tournament’s Final Stage and missed out on guaranteed starts for the season. After going months without a Korn Ferry Tour start, Sargent finally got an opportunity at the Lincoln Land Championship presented by LRS. After making the cut on the number, he carded weekend rounds 66-71 to finish T35 in his Korn Ferry Tour debut.
“It was a good week,” he recalled. “It gave me a little bit of confidence going into this week knowing that I can play. My game is feeling good and I’m ready for tomorrow.”
Prior to his Tour debut, Sargent spent the majority of his summer competing in Monday qualifiers. Despite his best efforts, the 24-year-old could not catch a break. At the Monday qualifier for the PGA TOUR’s Travelers Championship, he narrowly missed a spot in the field after falling short in a playoff.
“It’s just more of a relief to finally get out here,” he said. “All summer I was doing Monday qualifiers and never had any luck. I got into a playoff at the Travelers (Championship) but didn’t get in. I’m just thankful to be out here and just having fun.”
Dou and Wolfe sit tied atop the leaderboard after Thursday’s opening round. Dou got off to a fast start with a birdie and eagle on his opening two holes. After playing his next seven holes at even-par, he carded back-to-birdies on Nos. 10 and 11 to reach 5-under. Despite a bogey on the par-3 12th, the 23-year-old rallied with three birdies over his final five holes to claim a share of the lead.
“I played really solid, I had a hot start with the birdie and eagle,” Dou said. “I made a couple bogeys out there and with three bogeys I shot 7-under so, I hit a lot of good shots coming in. I’ve been playing my long irons and driver really well and that’s how I kept it in play and kept making birdies.”
Wolfe, who is making his third start in Wichita this week, tallied nine birdies against two bogeys during Thursday’s round. Earlier this season, he earned his first Korn Ferry Tour title at The Bahamas Great Abaco Classic at Baha Mar.
Since the Tour’s return to golf, Wolfe has missed only two cuts in 11 starts. The 32-year-old entered the week ranked 15th in The 25 and in search of his second win this season.
“I’d say my game is good,” Wolfe said after the round. “It’s been good, even in Evansville (Korn Ferry Tour Championship) when I missed the cut I played really well. I’ve been close, so hopefully it’s going to pay off this week.”
Second-round tee times will run from 7:20 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on Friday.