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COVERAGE: Two Remain in Front After ‘Really Hard’ Korn Ferry Playoff Round



Photo Credit: Korn Ferry Tour

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Jacob Bridgeman stood on the 18th hole trying to clean up a par and build some momentum for Sunday’s final round at the Korn Ferry Tour’s Nationwide Children’s Hospital Championship, but a lipout ended a difficult day, while costing him a share of the lead.

Instead, it is Chandler Phillips and Norman Xiong, who both lead at 6 under par, an advantage two shots closer to par than it was Friday.

A total of 44 golfers shot over-par rounds Saturday.

“This course is hard, like really hard,” Phillips stated. “Obviously seeing the cutline, highest cut all year I would probably say it’s the hardest course we’ve played all year.”

Phillips posted a 2-under round on the day while his scrambling in the third round ranked him fifth and putts per GIR tied for sixth.

While most Korn Ferry events have featured higher scoring, this event could not be further from that.

“I wish every tournament this year was like this,” said Phillips. “I feel like this suits my game a little bit more because I’m not somebody that is really aggressive. I’ve changed my ways. On a course like this I can play conservative but play good golf.”

Phillips traded a birdie on the second hole with a bogey two holes later and recorded two birdies on his back nine. While his second shot on 18 sailed the green, Phillips took a glance on the leaderboard as the group behind hit their drives and then displayed his scrambling form, hitting a chip that allowed him to clean up for par.

Xiong, who did not speak to reporters after the round, trailed by as many as three shots, but as he played alongside Bridgeman dealt with four two-shot swings, just between the pair of them.

Two back-nine moments were key to Xiong’s round.

First was an eagle on 12 in which the 2018 Nicklaus Award winner used a slope and converted a left-to-right putt.

Then on 15 with Bridgeman’s par in doubt, Xiong converted from long distance to maintained the momentum he had achieved a hole prior.

Xiong’s back and forth with Bridgeman saw him go in and out of the projected 30-card bubble but now is in 13th, jumping up 46 places from his original projection coming into the week.

Despite Bridgeman dropping in the standings, the both first- and second-round leader remains a shot back and on Friday secured his PGA Tour card. He will be lurking, as will Chris Petefish, both of whom will comprise the penultimate group.

The low round of the day went to Davis Chatfield, who fired a 4-under par round to jump up 34 places to a tie for sixth place.

Phillips said after his round that anyone who hit 12 or 13 greens really golfed their ball — and Chatfield hit 14.

As his interview concluded, Phillips referenced that hunting season started Sept. 1 and possibly both jokingly and seriously offered that as an explanation why he was playing well.

Phillips will indeed be hunting for a trophy as he currently projects second on the point list, but as Sunday projects to remain difficult, he is ready to grind, have some fun and try and get a result.

“I’ll take even-par right now and you can just give me whatever I get,” Phillips explained when asked what he would sign for Sunday. “I played really good today. I made a lot of putts today and I feel like I shot 7-under, that’s just how hard it’s playing for me I guess.”


T1. Chandler Phillips -6

T1. Norman Xiong -6

T3. Jacob Bridgeman -5

T3. Chris Petefish -5

  1. Joe Highsmith -4

T6. Mason Anderson -3

T6. Davis Chatfield -3

T6. Kris Ventura -3

T9. Cristobal Del Solar -2

T9. Steven Fisk -2

T9. Jake Knapp -2

T9. Thomas Rosenmueller -2

T9. Jacob Solomon -2

T9. Josh Teater -2


The 13th hole, as per event tradition, had a healthy amount of fans gathered in Pub 13 anxiously awaiting a birdie so that there would be beer specials. It was a challenging pin placement as there were five birdies the entire day but also 20 bogeys and two double bogeys.

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