Stephan Jaeger wins fifth Korn Ferry Tour title at Albertsons Boise Open presented by Kraft & Nabisco
Time and time again, Stephan Jaeger has provided a roadmap to playing under pressure. Sunday’s final round at the Albertsons Boise Open presented by Kraft & Nabisco proved to be no different as the 31-year-old carded a 3-under 68 to claim a two-stroke victory at Hillcrest Country Club.
“I feel comfortable being uncomfortable,” Jaeger reiterated after the win. “The only time I get uncomfortable is when I have the lead…My goal every time I play is to win the golf tournament. It’s been a little bit of a drought, and obviously I was on TOUR last year and I want to win one of those, but I’m on the Korn Ferry Tour this year so I’m going to try and win as many as I can by next August.”
With the win, Jaeger has now won five times (of 11 career top-10s) in 97 starts on the Korn Ferry Tour, one of only 13 players in the Tour’s 31-year history to earn five or more wins. He is two shy of Jason Gore’s all-time record of seven wins.
Jaeger’s victory also places him atop the three-event points list of which the top-five earners over the Korn Ferry Tour Championship Series earn 2020 U.S. Open exemptions. While not mathematically confirmed yet, Jaeger is in great shape to earn one of the five exemptions.
“It would be awesome to play in the U.S. Open because I could see Jason Gore and try to beat his record,” laughed Jaeger. “I’m coming for you Jason! Playing in the U.S. Open would be great, but it’s kind of icing on the cake after this win. I’ve got to play well on this Tour to accomplish what I want to do which is to get back on TOUR.”
After rounds of 65-64-65 to start the tournament, Jaeger’s final round was much less of a birdie barrage. He eagled the second hole to quickly get to 2-under on the day but parred his next 11 holes before sinking a 30-foot birdie at the par-4 14th. He added another birdie at the par-5 16th for a three-stroke lead but slipped back to a two-stroke advantage, the final margin, with a bogey at the 17th.
“I felt some nerves early obviously; Cameron came out hot so I knew I needed to stay close,” said Jaeger after his playing competitor, Cameron Young, was 3-under through two holes. “I just never really had a birdie putt that was very close and if I did, I missed it. Sometimes you have days like that. I just put it on cruise control for a little bit there and tried to make some birdies on some easy holes. Nothing really happened until 14 and I made a longer putt there to give me something.”
Jaeger grew up in Germany before moving to the United States to finish up high school, play golf and attend the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga. He still lives in Chattanooga with his wife Shelby, who was in attendance in Boise to see his victory.
In addition to his five victories, Jaeger also holds the all-time 18-hole scoring record (58) and 72-hole scoring record (30-under 250) on Tour. This season he had made nine of 13 cuts to sit 74th in the points standings entering the week, but projects to move to 12th in the standings after the win.
Jaeger ultimately held off Syracuse, New York, native Dan McCarthy and former Stanford University star Brandon Wu for the two-stroke victory. McCarthy entered the day T10 but carded a final-round 64 to ascend the leaderboard. Wu, a 23-year-old rookie, earned his best career finish and his second top-10 finish in just four starts as a professional on Tour.
Next week, the Tour travels to Columbus, Ohio, for the second of three events in the Korn Ferry Tour Championship Series, the Nationwide Children's Hospital Championship.
Stephan Jaeger takes one-stroke lead into final round at Albertsons Boise Open presented by Kraft Nabisco
BOISE, Idaho – Stephan Jaeger carded his third consecutive round of 65 or better on Saturday to reach 19-under and take a one-stroke lead at the Albertsons Boise Open presented by Kraft Nabisco. After rounds of 65-64-65, Jaeger leads Cameron Young by one stroke and Brandon Wu by two entering the final round at Hillcrest Country Club.
“No bogeys is always nice,” laughed Jaeger, who had a double bogey and a bogey in each of his first two rounds before a clean scorecard on Saturday. “I just put it in the right spots today on the green. A little more conservative today going at the greens because I knew if I missed on the wrong side I was looking at bogey. My game plan worked out pretty well today and we’ll do the same tomorrow.”
Jaeger, a German national who played collegiately at the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga, carded six birdies – three on each nine – for a stress-free 65. While the result was similar, the round was much less of an adventure than his first two days, which included a combined 15 birdies, two eagles, two bogeys and two double bogeys.
The 31-year-old has traditionally been comfortable atop the leaderboard. He has won four times on the Korn Ferry Tour (most recently in 2018) and holds the all-time 18-hole scoring record (58) and 72-hole scoring record (30-under 250) on Tour. This season he has made nine of 13 cuts to sit 74th in the points standings entering the week.
“I’m sure I’ll wake up tomorrow and be nervous and be nervous on the first tee, but those are the kinds of nerves that you want to have,” said Jaeger. “If you’re not nervous on the weekend then you either missed the cut or are playing for 71st. It’s good to get some mojo back and get some nerves going on the weekend.”
Upstart Cameron Young leaped into contention behind a 61 on Saturday, the low round of the week. Entering the day T13 and five shots off the lead, Young promptly birdied his first four holes, added a birdie at the 10th, and then went birdie-birdie-eagle-birdie on Nos. 14-17 to reach 10-under on the day and 18-under on the tournament.
“I think 61 is a career-low in competition,” said Young. “I’ve shot 10-under once before, but that was a 62 down on PGA TOUR Latinoamérica last year.”
Young is currently in the midst of a potentially life-altering three weeks on the Korn Ferry Tour. The 23-year-old, who is not a Korn Ferry Tour member, Monday qualified into the Pinnacle Bank Championship presented by Aetna two weeks ago and eventually finished T11, earning barely earning enough points to get into last week’s event in Portland. He followed that p with a T14 finish a week ago, again earning just enough points to get into the Albertsons Boise Open presented by Kraft Nabisco.
“I was waking up for a Monday qualifier just over two weeks ago,” said Young, a former star at Wake Forest University. “This is a bit surreal to be playing well in my third event, let alone even playing in one event. I think it’s been a huge step in the right direction to give myself an opportunity to play well.”
Young has had a whirlwind of a year. He was the medalist at the Mackenzie Tour – PGA TOUR Canada Qualifying Tournament in Dothan, Alabama, in March to earn fully exempt status in Canada, but the 2020 season was cancelled after the COVID-19 outbreak. With no PGA TOUR-sanctioned events to compete in, Young took to Monday qualifiers and mini tour events to gain some competition. Young competed in five Monday qualifiers before his breakthrough in Omaha.
“Taking advantage of Monday qualifiers is crucial because if you miss the cut, you are right back to the drawing board,” said Young. “They’re not much fun. You show up on Sunday afternoon and you know if you’re not 5-under through 10, you’re probably out of luck. It’s a brutal road.”
While he has status on the Mackenzie Tour locked up upon the Tour's return in 2021, Young is currently pushing to earn Special Temporary Membership on the Korn Ferry Tour. To earn the status, he will need to earn more than 269 points (equivalent to the No. 100 finisher in the 2019 points standings). With his two top-15 finishes, he currently has 111 points and would need a three-way tie for third (or better) to lock up Special Temporary Membership this week.
Final-round tee times will run from 7:04 a.m. to 12:50 p.m. MT on Sunday. The tournament will be broadcast live on GolfChannel.com from 2-3 p.m. MT and on Golf Channel from 3-5 p.m. MT on Sunday.
Stephan Jaeger, Brad Hopfinger share 36-hole lead at Albertsons Boise Open presented by Kraft Nabisco
Stephan Jaeger and Brad Hopfinger each carded 7-under 64s on Friday afternoon for a two-day total of 13-under 129 to co-lead after the second round of the Albertsons Boise Open presented by Kraft Nabisco. The cut was made at 4-under 138 with 74 professionals advancing to the weekend.
Jaeger enjoyed an eventful round at Hillcrest Country Club; the 31-year-old went birdie-eagle-birdie-double bogey to begin his round and added two more birdies and a bogey on his front nine. He added birdies at the 12th, 15th, 16th and 18th during a bogey-free back nine for a 64.
“I was 4-under through three and then I doubled and was 2-under through four,” laughed Jaeger. “It was still a pretty good start if you think about it. But I knew I was playing well which I think is the main part. If you’re around the cut and you make a double, you feel like it’s going to be tough to get back, but when you’re playing well you know you’re going to make a lot of birdies.”
It was the second day in a row that Jaeger got off to a scorching start. On Thursday, he holed out for eagle at the par-4 10th to start his round before eventually posting a 6-under 65. The University of Tennessee-Chattanooga alum is plenty comfortable atop the leaderboard. He has won four times on the Korn Ferry Tour (most recently in 2018) and holds the all-time 18-hole scoring record (58) and 72-hole scoring record (30-under 250) on Tour. This season he has made nine of 13 cuts but has missed his last three to sit 74th in the points standings.
Not to be outdone by Jaeger’s fireworks, Hopfinger birdied three of his first four holes on the back nine before rattling off six straight pars entering the back-to-back par-5s on Nos. 2 and 3. He then promptly went eagle-eagle to reach 7-under.
“Yeah I went back-to-back in Colombia and did it on two par-4s there,” said Hopfinger. “That was fun, but that definitely helps your round. I mean even before that I was playing really well and just wasn’t making anything in the middle, but out here you just have to stay patient because there are plenty of opportunities.”
Hopfinger is one of three players to card back-to-back eagles this season, joining Dawson Armstrong and John Somers (Hopfinger and Armstrong have each done it twice). The 31-year-old Chicago resident has earned top-25 finishes in three of his past five starts and was 43rd in the points standings entering the week.
“We play for these chances to be in contention, to me that’s fun,” said Hopfinger. “We work hard at it and to have a chance, I’m just looking forward to the opportunity. The whole thing will be a blast…I’ve been playing really solid and I’ve been telling myself it’s just a matter of time.”
Jaeger and Hopfinger lead Saxon by a stroke, a week after Saxon held the 36-hole co-lead in Portland. After a T14 finish last week, Saxon got engaged to his fiancée Lauren in the Sawtooth Mountains on Tuesday before carding rounds of 63-67 to open at Hillcrest Country Club.
Third-round tee times will run from 7:09 a.m. to 12:55 p.m. MT on Saturday. The tournament will be broadcast live on GolfChannel.comfrom 2-3 p.m. MT and on Golf Channel from 3-5 p.m. MT on Saturday.
* Friday’s weather: Sunny with a high of 91 degrees and wind NW at 6-12 mph.
* The 36-hole cut fell at 4-under 138 with 74 professionals advancing to the weekend.
* The Albertsons Boise Open presented by Kraft Nabisco serves as the first event of the three-event Korn Ferry Tour Championship Series, which includes elevated purses and points. Five exemptions into the 2020 U.S. Open are also available to the top-five players (not otherwise exempt) in a points list specific to the three tournaments. The top-10 players on the Korn Ferry Tour’s overall point standings following the conclusion of the third tournament (the Korn Ferry Tour Championship presented by United Leasing & Finance) will also earn entry into the PGA TOUR’s additional events (also known as opposite-field events) during the 2020-21 season.
* This marks the fourth 36-hole lead/co-lead of Jaeger’s career, two of which he has converted into victory. This is the first 36-hole lead of Hopfinger’s career as the University of Iowa alum seeks his first victory.
* Playing in the final group of the day, Hopfinger was the only player remaining without a bogey until his final hole, a bogey at the par-4 ninth to finish. Jaeger leads the field with 15 birdies (to go along with two eagles) this week.
* Jared Wolfe (-8, T13) holed out from the fairway for eagle on a par-4 on each of the first two days. He accomplished the feat at the first hole on Thursday and on the fifth on Friday. He also added an eagle at the par-5 16th and is the only player in the field with three eagles thus far.
* Of the three past champions in the field, only Sangmoon Bae (2018) made the cut and sits T31 after the second round. Luke Guthrie (2012) and Martin Piller (2015) each missed the cut. Piller holds the tournament record at 28-under 256.
* This week’s purse is $1,000,000 with $180,000 going to the champion. The champion will also receive 600 Korn Ferry Tour points.
* The combined 2020-21 Korn Ferry Tour schedule will conclude with 25 PGA TOUR cards awarded at the 2021 WinCo Foods Portland Open presented by KraftHeinz, with an additional 25 cards awarded at the conclusion of the 2021 Korn Ferry Tour Finals.
* The par-3 13th hole (216 yards) played as the hardest hole on Friday with a scoring average of 3.224.
* The par-5 16th hole (535 yards) played as the easiest hole on Friday with a scoring average of 4.294. In 2019, the hole played as the second-easiest hole on Tour (of 522 holes) with a scoring average of 4.323.
Tommy Gainey ties career-low round with 62 to lead at Albertsons Boise Open presented by Kraft Nabisco
A week after shooting an 81 in Portland – his worst round in more than three years – Tommy Gainey began the Albertsons Boise Open presented by Kraft Nabisco with a 9-under 62 to take a one-stroke lead after 18 holes. Gainey hit all 18 greens and tallied nine birdies in his bogey-free round, a fitting way to celebrate his 45th birthday on Thursday.
“I’ve had some great rounds in my career on my birthday in the past, but none as low as 62,” laughed Gainey. “My last few tournaments I’ve gotten off to really bad starts, like always bogeying the first hole. On No. 10 today, my first hole, I hit it to about 12 feet and made the putt for birdie. When you go from a bogey start to a birdie start, right away you’ve got momentum built.”
Gainey birdied his first three holes of the day and didn’t look back, turning at 5-under 30 and tacking on four more birdies on the front nine coming in. The 62 tied his lowest career round on the Korn Ferry Tour, a mark he previously set in 2010 and again in 2014.
“I shot 81 in the first round in Portland last week and then shot 67 in the second round,” said Gainey. “That second round I found something and carried it on into today. I made some putts, I think I had 27 putts out there today, and I hit every green and a lot of fairways.”
Gainey, a former PGA TOUR champion and three-time winner on the Korn Ferry Tour, won the first event of the year at The Bahamas Great Exuma Classic at Sandals Emerald Bay. Since then, he has made just three of nine cuts and dropped to 21st in the Korn Ferry Tour points standings.
“That’s just golf,” said Gainey, remarking on his inconsistencies this season. “If you’re not hitting it all that well and putting it well, then you won’t make birdies. Out here, if you don’t make birdies, you don’t make cuts. I started making some birdies today and I’m going to try and build off that for the first two days.”
Charlie Saxon continued his recent tear with an opening-round 63 to sit one shot back. The 27-year-old has earned top-20 finishes in three of his last five starts and co-led through 36 holes last week before a disappointing weekend. Still, he has risen from 113th on the points list a month and a half ago to 63rd entering this week at Hillcrest Country Club.
“It was a rough start to the year, but I was working really hard,” said Saxon, who set a new career-low round on Tour with the 63. “I feel like I’ve been working on some of the right things here lately and it’s starting to come to fruition. I’ve been playing some good golf and I’m confident in what I’m doing. Golf can feel really hard sometimes and it did at the beginning of the year, but right now it’s starting to feel pretty easy. You just ride these times out while you can.”
Second-round tee times will run from 7:30 a.m. to 2:31 p.m. on Friday. The tournament will be broadcast live on GolfChannel.com from 3-6 p.m. MT and tape-delayed on Golf Channel from 7-9 p.m. MT on Friday.