With 9 birdies, Wu ties for lead in Missouri
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — Medford’s Dylan Wu matched the low round of the week with a 9-under 63 on moving day to draw even with 36-hole leader Alex Kang at 20-under 196 through three rounds at the Korn Ferry Tour’s Price Cutter Charity Championship Saturday.
Wu and Kang earned a two-stroke lead over Nicholas Thompson and Austin Smotherman as temperatures rose into the 90s with a heat index nearing triple digits at Highland Springs Country Club.
“My body was cramping up out there,” said Kang matter-of-factly. “Maybe I’ll go see a physio. I think the key is to stay cool, drink a lot of water. I drank a bottle per hole, but I don’t think it was enough. I’m sure some guys were drinking more.”
Wu finished with nine birdies and nine pars during Saturday’s round. In his three rounds, Wu has posted 23 birdies. He wasted little time getting under par Saturday, posting birdies on three of his first five holes.
Entering the round tied for the lead, Kang rattled off three straight birdies to kick off his round and finished with a bogey-free 65. The Las Vegas resident birdied all four par-5s on Saturday and remains the only player without a bogey (or worse) through 54 holes this week.
While Kang is seeking a win to get within reach of a potential Korn Ferry Tour Finals berth, Wu is attempting to breakthrough and earn his first PGA TOUR card. The 25-year-old Northwestern University alum entered the week 31st in the Korn Ferry Tour points standings and would lock up a spot in The 25 with a victory.
“I’ve just been close the last few weeks. ...It’s been a grind with the two-year season,” said Wu. “But for me, outside the top-25, I’m just trying to stay patient. This is the end of the season. This is the grind-time and this is what we’re playing for.”
Wu has enjoyed a successful season with five top-10s, but his last top-10 came a year ago at this tournament (tied for ninth). He did credit a recent resurgence to his experience at the U.S. Open last month where he made the cut and finished tied for 31st.
“Of course playing in the U.S. Open gave me a lot of confidence,” said Wu. “The weird thing was I was way more nervous today than I was at the U.S. Open the entire week which was surprising. ...My game plan (this week) was just to hit a lot of smart shots and give myself a lot of opportunities and I was able to do that.”
Wu has taken on his younger brother, Jeremy, as caddie over the last month as he strives to earn his PGA TOUR card. Jeremy Wu played golf collegiately at Valparaiso University.
Thompson, the younger brother of LPGA Tour star Lexi Thompson, will join Kang and Wu in the final group.
Smotherman, a former collegiate teammate of Bryson DeChambeau and 2019 Price Cutter Charity Championship winner Harry Higgs, joins Thompson in a tie for third and will compete in the penultimate grouping.