Kraft fires record-setting round at Thanksgiving Point to lead Utah Championship

first_imgPaul Imondi32-36—68 Stephan Jaeger33-35—68 Mark Anderson37-36—73 Luke List36-40—76 Carlos Sainz Jr36-38—74 Frank Lickliter II37-37—74 Sung Kang33-35—68 Cameron Wilson36-35—71 Matt Weibring36-34—70 Jorge FernandezValdes38-37—75 Kent Jones35-36—71 Greg Yates34-41—75 Aron Price34-38—72 Matt Fast33-37—70 Andy Winings35-37—72 James Driscoll37-33—70 D.J. Trahan38-35—73 Brad Elder36-38—74 Patrick Stolpe43-41—84 Rob Oppenheim37-39—76 Chase Wright35-36—71 Drew Scott34-38—72 Tommy Gainey35-36—71 Jin Park38-35—73 Marc Turnesa33-37—70 Kevin Foley33-39—72 Ted Brown40-36—76 Sebastian Cappelen38-34—72 Shane Bertsch34-35—69 Sam Love36-39—75 Trevor Immelman34-37—71 Justin Hicks37-34—71 Troy Matteson35-35—70 Rick Lamb33-37—70 Wes Roach35-37—72 Hunter Hamrick34-35—69 Brad Adamonis36-35—71 Kyle Thompson39-35—74 Michael Arnaud36-39—75 Steve Marino35-39—74 Jamie Lovemark36-37—73 Chris Baker34-41—75 Steve Allan33-36—69 Charlie Wi35-34—69 Tom Whitney34-37—71 Michael Kim33-37—70 Matt Davidson32-35—67 Niall Platt38-38—76 T.J. Vogel39-33—72 Bryden Macpherson35-37—72 Chris Wilson41-38—79 Tyler Duncan39-37—76 Hao Tong Li39-40—79 Rod Pampling33-36—69 Lucas Lee34-38—72 Hugo Leon32-38—70 Tyler McCumber34-33—67 Mark Silvers39-40—79 Richard H. Lee34-36—70 Oliver Goss40-39—79 Greg Eason31-37—68 Zack Fischer35-41—76 Mark Anguiano36-35—71 David Vanegas36-41—77 Adam Long35-36—71 Roland Thatcher36-36—72 Travis Bertoni38-33—71 Tyler Aldridge34-36—70 Miguel A. Carballo36-34—70 John Mallinger35-37—72 Trey Mullinax34-38—72 Keith Clearwater36-36—72 Ryan Blaum35-32—67 Scott Parel36-37—73 Brad Schneider36-35—71 Jeff Corr35-34—69 Casey Wittenberg34-39—73 Henrik Norlander36-33—69 Josh Teater35-40—75center_img Martin Piller37-38—75 Abraham Ancer34-34—68 Rick Cochran III33-34—67 Seamus Power35-41—76 Dicky Pride37-37—74 Tag Ridings37-36—73 Andrew Yun36-36—72 Dustin Bray36-38—74 Ryan Spears34-32—66 Erik Barnes35-37—72 Patton Kizzire33-34—67 Brett Drewitt36-37—73 Brock Mackenzie37-38—75 Brandon Hagy33-37—70 Nicholas Lindheim34-33—67 Jhared Hack35-38—73 Julian Etulain33-40—73 John Chin34-36—70 Conrad Shindler38-35—73 Hans Reimers37-34—71 Garth Mulroy36-35—71 Si Woo Kim37-36—73 Rhein Gibson32-36—68 Smylie Kaufman39-35—74 Jason Allred38-35—73 Andrew Loupe35-38—73 Aaron Watkins38-36—74 Curtis Thompson34-39—73 Jeff Gove37-32—69 Joe Affrunti37-33—70 James Nitties36-41—77 LEHI — Before the start of the Tour Utah Championship, tournament director Mark Whetzel predicted a score of 10- to 12-under par would be the winning score after four rounds at the long, tough Thanksgiving Point Golf Club.How about such a score after one round?Kelly Kraft, a 26-year-old from Denton, Texas, came within a couple of inches of shooting 10-under par in the first round Thursday as his eight-foot birdie putt on the final hole slid just past the hole. As it was, Kraft finished with a course-record 9-under-par 63 to take a three-stroke lead after the first 18 holes of the $650,000, 72-hole tournament.Following his round, Kraft just shrugged off the idea of the 7,677-yard Thanksgiving Point course being overly tough, saying, “It was a fun round of golf. I hit the ball at the hole and made some putts and it ended up being 9-under.’’While Kraft went super low in breaking Mike Weir’s course record of 64, there were plenty of red numbers on a pretty benign day at Thanksgiving Point where the wind didn’t come up until mid-afternoon and then was fairly mild.Ryan Spears, a 29-year-old from Oklahoma, shot a 6-under-par 66, while eight players, including Tour leading money-winner Patton Kizzire, shot 67 and 10 golfers shot 68. In all, 69 players shot under par, meaning it will likely take a score of even-par or better to make the 36-hole cut (low 60 players and ties) after Friday’s round.Kraft came into the tournament ranked No. 4 on the Tour money list with $199,964, which virtually assures him of a spot in the top 25 and a ticket to play next year’s PGA Tour. He said that assurance helps him to play more “freewheeling” and relaxed, but he’s still hoping to move up to the No. 1 spot, which he would do with a win ($117,000) this week.“That’s been my goal ever since I won in Louisiana because it’s such a huge deal. It gets you exempt from reshuffles and would fully exempt me into a lot of events on the PGA Tour especially during my rookie year,’’ he said. “It’d be nice to get that spot, but I’m just looking to finish the year off strong. I’m looking forward to the last four or five tournaments.’’In Thursday’s round, Kraft didn’t make a bogey and put seven birdies and an eagle on his scorecard.Kraft, who played in the morning under calm conditions, started on the back nine and began with a birdie at the first hole, sinking a 20-footer from the fringe and added another birdie from the fringe at No. 13. He eagled No. 14 when his 4-iron from 220 yards ended up four feet away and then he hit a 6-iron at the 205-yard par-3 to within four feet and sank the birdie.On his second nine he hit to within a foot at No. 1 for a birdie, sank birdie putts of eight feet at No. 4 and 12 feet at No. 5, then birdied from five feet at No. 8. At the 9th hole where some fans had gathered to see him finish, his 9-iron shot elicited cheers when it nearly went in the cup, but he couldn’t sink the downhill putt for birdie.Spears, who is ranked No. 36 on the Tour money list, birdied the first two holes, then added birdies at 10, 14, 16 and 17 on the back in a bogey-less round.Others at 67 besides Kizzire are Matt Davidson, Bronson Burgoon, Rick Cochran III, Peter Tomasulo, Tyler McCumber, Nicholas Lindheim and Ryan Blaum.Kraft wasn’t playing that well coming into the tournament, having missed three of his last five cuts and making just over $7,000 in two other events. However after playing in the Stonebrae Classic in northern California last week, he went to Pebble Beach and “hung out with friends’’ for a few days, then spent several days working with his swing coach. So he came into Utah refreshed and ready to go.“I’m looking forward to another fun round,’’ he said. “I imagine the course will play a little different and the wind may pick up and make it a little more firm. I’ll just go out, hopefully play well and hit some fairways. I’m playing well and looking forward to the rest of the week. ’’Kraft will tee off at 1:13 p.m. Friday.TOURNEY NOTES: Gipper Finau, who has played Thanksgiving Point as his home course for several years, got off to a rough start with five bogeys on the front nine and then had a quadruple bogey 9 on the par-5 14th hole and finished with an 81. … Orem’s Keith Clearwater, who got in the tournament on a sponsor’s exemption, shot an even-par 72 and stands in a tie for 70th place. … Also coming in at 72 were 2011 winner J.J. Killeen and T.J. Vogel, who won the U.S. Public Links tournament in Utah at Soldier Hollow in 2012. … Former Masters winner (2008) Trevor Immelman shot a 1-under-par 71. … The final two rounds will be televised in prime time on the Golf Channel, meaning the final groups won’t tee off until 2:30 p.m. and will finish around 7 p.m. … The highest round of the day belonged to Patrick Stolpe, who was the co-medalist at Monday’s qualifying tournament with a 65 at Oakridge CC, but shot 84 Thursday.ScoresThursdayAt Golf Club at Thanksgiving PointLehi, UtahPurse: $650,000Yardage: 7,677; Par 72 (36-36)First RoundKelly Kraft32-31—63 Bronson Burgoon31-36—67 Alex Kim38-37—75 Jeff Curl36-37—73 Joel Dahmen38-38—76 Nathan Tyler35-36—71 Brett Stegmaier36-37—73 Brent Witcher39-36—75 Brady Schnell40-35—75 Dawie vander Walt36-38—74 Kelvin Day35-35—70 Bronson La’Cassie36-34—70 Richy Werenski36-38—74 Tim Herron35-39—74 Peter Malnati34-36—70 Manuel Villegas32-36—68 Justin Martinson40-35—75 Hunter Haas37-38—75 J.J. Killeen35-37—72 Tain Lee37-36—73 Adam Crawford32-38—70 Roberto Diaz37-35—72 Harold Varner III36-36—72 Cody Gribble34-36—70 Scott Harrington34-35—69 Corey Nagy37-33—70 Todd Baek39-36—75 Ashley Hall33-36—69 Mikey Moyers40-36—76 Gipper Finau41-39—80 Ben Kohles35-39—74 Edward Loar37-35—72 Brad Hopfinger36-35—71 Mathew Goggin35-38—73 Alistair Presnell33-37—70 Peter Tomasulo36-31—67 Kevin Tway34-34—68 Alex Aragon34-34—68 Darron Stiles35-37—72 Drew Stoltz39-38—77 Brad Fritsch36-40—76 Andrew Landry35-38—73 Ted Purdy34-35—69 Brian Richey35-41—76 Michael Hebert36-34—70 Craig Barlow34-34—68last_img

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