Austin Eckroat takes 36-hole lead at Memorial Health Championship presented by LRS
July 15, 2022
By Preston Edwards , PGATOUR.COM
- July 15, 2022
3 things to know | Round 2 | Memorial Health Championship
SPRINGFIELD, Illinois – For the first time in his young professional career, Austin Eckroat sits alone atop the leaderboard as he claimed the outright 36-hole lead at the Memorial Health Championship presented by LRS. Eckroat carded an 8-under 63 Friday, setting a new career-low round that brought him to 14-under for the week, giving him a one-shot lead over of Patrick Newcomb entering Saturday’s third round. Newcomb sits alone in solo second at 13-under, followed by Michael Kim in solo third at 12-under.
Eckroat’s second round started on the front nine at Panther Creek Country Club, where he carded two birdies at Nos. 1 and 6, making the turn at 2-under par. The 23-year-old picked up steam on the back as he played the final eight holes at 6-under par, including four consecutive birdies on Nos. 11-14.
“Pretty much everything's going good. I wouldn't say I'm doing anything spectacular,” Eckroat said. “Just kind of driving it good, hitting the irons and wedges good, and getting up and down and making putts. I haven't been making bombs or anything. It's just normal golf but it's going well.”
Through 36 holes played, Eckroat has carded just two bogeys and is tied for the most total birdies this week with 15 (14 birdies, one eagle). This marks the first lead of any kind on the Korn Ferry Tour for Eckroat, who is making his 13th career start.
With the career-low 63 Friday, Eckroat has now carded 26 consecutive rounds of par-or-better, dating back to the NV5 Invitational presented by Old National Bank in May.
“I had no idea it was 25 in-a-row until the post yesterday,” said Eckroat. “It's just been solid and the game's good so it's just been knocking at the door trying to get a great week. I had a bunch of good weeks but playing for the great one.”
Despite the recent hot streak, Eckroat entered this season with conditional status after a T50 finish in the Final Stage of the Korn Ferry Tour Qualifying Tournament, also known as Q-School Finals. He played in only two of the first twelve Korn Ferry Tour events this season – both resulting in missed cuts – but since then, he’s played in seven events and made the cut each week. Him impressive play is highlighted by six top-25 finished, including his best finish of the season, a T15 at Live and Work in Maine Open.
With only three tournaments remaining in the regular season after this week, Eckroat is playing his best golf at the right time. He came to Springfield ranked 84th on the Korn Ferry Tour Points List and is well aware of how impactful a win would be.
“Our focus has been kind of just try to get to the top 75 to get into the Korn Ferry Tour Finals,” said Eckroat. “With a win this week, I think I'd move up to 21st. I just checked it and that would put me into the running for the top 25. So if things go to plan this week, then the focus will be that.”
Eckroat turned professional in 2021 after playing four seasons at Oklahoma State University, where he was a four-time All-America honoree and helped the Cowboys win the 2018 NCAA Championship, playing alongside PGA TOUR winner Viktor Hovland. Eckroat finished No. 3 in the inaugural PGA TOUR University presented by Velocity Global Class of 2021 and went on to make three Korn Ferry Tour starts last season, highlighted by two top-25s, including a solo seventh at the BMW Charity Pro-Am presented by TD SYNNEX in his Korn Ferry Tour debut.
Third-round pairings will run from 6:30 a.m. through 1:10 p.m. local time off the first tee.