Philip Knowles remains solo leader entering final round at Albertsons Boise Open presented by Chevron
After entering the 2022 Korn Ferry Tour season with conditional status and zero guaranteed starts, 24-year-old Philip Knowles will enter Sunday’s final round at the Albertsons Boise Open presented by Chevron with a chance to become the first wire-to wire winner of the year and just the second since 2018.
Knowles, who held a four-stroke lead coming into the day, carded a 3-under 68 to reach 20-under through 54 holes, earning him a two-shot cushion over Taylor Montgomery in solo-second. For a brief moment late in the round, Knowles lost the lead after a bogey on the 13th followed by a double bogey on 14, but he rallied with three birdies on the final four holes, including a chip-in on No. 18 that received a roar from the crowd.
“I told Jack, my caddie, after we walked off No. 16, let's get to 20. We had been there multiple times throughout the day and it was just an absolute battle all day,” Knowles said when asked about his birdie on the final hole. “It goes in and I let out a fist pump. I'm not big on emotion on the golf course, like I don't fist pump very often. There was just a ton of pent-up frustration. Honestly, months' worth of pent-up frustration and rounds like that – I made two doubles and two bogeys. I made three bad golf swings all day.
“So yeah, a lot of energy.”
Knowles’ round got off to another solid start Saturday afternoon, going birdie-eagle-birdie on Nos. 2-4. Through three rounds of play, Knowles is 12-under par total on the first four holes at Hillcrest Country Club.
The first blemish of the day came at the par-4 fifth, where Knowles tallied his first double bogey of the week. With another birdie at the seventh and a bogey at the ninth, he sat at 2-under after nine holes. On the back, Knowles rolled in four birdies at Nos. 10, 15, 16 and 18, against the aforementioned bogey-double bogey spurt on Nos. 13 and 14.
“I got a couple of good breaks and today it just, like every shot that was a little bit off, trees in the way or ball in the hazard, bad golf swing, but the drop wasn't easy,” Knowles said. “It feels like that's kind of what this whole season has been like, but I'm excited that I got that round out today. I was able to continue moving into the right direction. I got to 20 and even though I made a lot of mistakes, the birdie production is still there. Good parts of the game are still there, so I'm excited to play tomorrow.”
Knowles earned the start this week by playing his way into the top 75 on the Regular Season Eligibility Points List last week. He entered the Pinnacle Bank Championship presented by Aetna No. 87, which would have left him out of the Korn Ferry Tour Finals, and a T10 finish propelled him up to 67th, giving him access to the three-event Finals.
With a finish of solo-fifth or better this week, Knowles will secure a spot on The Finals 25 and secure his first PGA TOUR card for the 2022-23 season. Despite being so close to locking up a spot on the TOUR, Knowles knows that the journey doesn’t stop there.
“It would be a dream come true and that's the aspiration, to go play against the best in the world on the PGA TOUR,” Knowles said. “The thing that is not to be lost is the fact that just there's a difference between just getting a TOUR card and actually getting your TOUR card with a good position within your category. Wins are huge for that perspective, especially when you're only playing three (Finals events). Getting a TOUR card, that's the dream, but the thought will come into my mind certainly tomorrow at some point and I'll just let it pass through.”
With a win this week, Knowles would become the first player since Cameron Young last year to win in wire-to-wire fashion (2021 AdventHealth Championship).
“The goal is not just to go get a TOUR card,” Knowles said. “The goal is to go win.”
Final-round pairings will tee off from 7:10 a.m. through 1:00 p.m. local time off the first tee.