Hayden Adams Wins Wild Kentucky Boys Junior Amateur
RICHMOND, KY (July 9, 2020) – The conclusion of the Championship Division in the 2020 Kentucky Boys Junior Amateur was one of the wildest stretches of golf you could ask for. Following a roller-coaster couple of hours, Lexington’s Hayden Adams prevailed in a playoff over Rylan Wotherspoon via a chip-in birdie on the first extra hole of sudden death.
Adams began the day in a tie for the lead with Luke Coyle while Wotherspoon was four shots behind. Coyle took a one-shot lead over Adams as the final group made the turn while in the group ahead, Clay Pendergrass played an outward nine of 32 (-4) to put himself in the mix. When Pendergrass made eagle on the par-five 10th, he had ascended to the top of the leaderboard with the hot hand as the contenders came down the stretch.
From that point on, the four prime contenders shifted up and down the leaderboard rapidly with eagles, birdies, double bogeys, and triple bogeys all coming into play. Of the four, Wotherspoon displayed the most consistency during the back nine as he came in with 32 (-4) which featured an eagle on the par-five 13th. Two more birdies from him on the 16th and 17th led to a total score of 137 (-7). His playing partners each faced adversity on the 15th and 16th holes, as Coyle carded a triple bogey on the 15th while Adams made double bogey on the 16th. Those mistakes opened the door for Pendergrass who went to the 18th hole with the lead, but a double bogey there proved costly as he finished at 138 (-6), which ended up being one stroke out of the playoff. That meant Adams could win the tournament outright with a birdie while Coyle needed a birdie to get into a playoff. Both players would end up making par which meant after a wild ride, Adams and Wotherspoon required a sudden-death playoff to determine a champion.
After both players missed Boone’s Trace National’s 1st fairway to the right and would have to lay up with their second shots, Wotherspoon appeared to have the advantage when both players prepared for their fourth shots as Wotherspoon had ten feet for birdie while Adams had missed the green to the left. That’s when the final round’s chaos reached its peak, as Adams made his chip shot from approximately thirty feet away to make birdie while Wotherspoon missed his birdie attempt. It sealed the win for Adams, which secures him one of Kentucky Junior Golf’s most coveted titles and an exemption into the 2021 Barbasol Junior Championship.
“I like knowing where I stand during an event so I was keeping a pretty close eye on the leaderboard down the stretch,” Adams stated after the round. “Everyone was just bouncing around and I knew Clay was playing great, so I just tried to stay focused on my game as much as possible by hitting fairways and greens, even if I didn’t do a great job of that towards the end. The 16th hurt but I never thought it ruined my chances to win. And then with that playoff, to be honest I didn’t think I had a good lie with that chip shot. It didn’t break much, but I could tell it went from right to left a little. It was actually going faster than I wanted, but it looked good and fortunately caught just enough of the hole to drop.”
In the other divisions, Joe Hamilton recorded a very solid round of 70 (-2) which netted him a comfortable win in the 15-18 Division. His final score of 153 (+9) beat Reece Nolan by five strokes. Landon Stillwell came from behind to win a close battle in the 14 & Under Division. Starting the day two strokes behind, he shot 74 (+2) on Thursday to finish at 146 (+2) and defeat Sam Guest by one stroke.
NOTES AND STATS
- The closing hole proved to be the toughest on this day for the Championship Division. Playing at an average score-to-par of +0.60, Boone’s Trace National’s final hole did not let players leave easily.
- On the other side of the spectrum, the par-five 6th was much kinder to the field as it was the easiest thanks to its -0.08 mark that included two eagles and thirty-one birdies.
- The low round of Thursday belonged to Logan Liles who recorded 65 (-7), matching the number Adams and Coyle shot on Wednesday. Liles birdied five of his first six holes on his way to leapfrogging much of the field to finish in a tie for fifth place.
- Richmond’s weather patterns were unkind to the tournament once more with today featuring two separate lightning delays. The first delay occurred from 2:35 p.m. EDT until 4:15, while the second delay stopped play at 6:40 p.m. before resuming at 7:45.
The Kentucky PGA Junior Tour would like to thank all players and their families who came out to participate in this week’s championship. The Tour extends its appreciation towards Boone’s Trace National Golf Club for hosting such a phenomenal tournament. Next week, the ladies will take the spotlight for the Kentucky Girls Junior Amateur which takes place July 16-17 at Cherry Blossom Golf & Country Club. In the meantime, the Tour heads on its Western Kentucky swing which will kick off tomorrow at Kentucky Dam Village in Gilbertsville.