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.