Colt Knost leads by one at Hotel Fitness Championship


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News release from the Hotel Fitness Championship:

Colt Knost leads by one at Hotel Fitness Championship

(August 30, 2014) – Colt Knost had 222 yards left for his second shot into the par-5, 12th at Sycamore Hills Golf Club. The Dallas, Texas resident was between clubs and decided to hit a chip 5-wood. The decision turned out to be the right one as Knost’s approach shot rolled up to 15 feet from the hole. Knost buried the putt to take the outright lead at the Hotel Finess Championship. The 28-year-old Ohio native finished off the round with six straight pars and a round of 67. His 15-under par 201 places him out front by one heading into the final round.

“I hit such a good shot in there,” said Knost. “To get a three there was really nice.”

Second-round leader Sam Saunders (70) and Englishmen Greg Owen (68) are one back heading into Sunday.

Just two back and looking to get back to the PGA TOUR are John Peterson (64) and Bud Cauley (67)

The Tour Finals are comprised of four tournaments that match Tour and PGA TOUR players in a competition for 50 PGA TOUR cards for the 2014-15 season.

Knost didn’t hit it as well on Saturday has he did earlier in the week. The seven-year pro had to rely on his scrambling ability most of the third round as he failed to hit the last five greens in regulation. Knost has been sharp all week around the greens at Sycamore Hills GC. The Southern Methodist University alum has gone 29 consecutive holes without a bogey and holds the 54-hole lead for the second time in his career on Tour.

“I grinded well out there,” he said. “I’m obviously happy with where I’m sitting.”

Being in contention late on Sunday is not a new feeling for Knost. In 2008, Knost won twice on the Tour.

The plan is to stay focused on what he’s doing and not let the pressure of playing with the lead get to him. A victory on Sunday would guarantee Knost’s one of the 25 remaining TOUR cards up for grabs in the Finals.

“That’s obviously my goal,” said Knost. “We know how big the moment is.”

Owen’s focus on Sunday will be on his own game. The PGA TOUR veteran knows the importance of keeping a level head.

“If you ask anyone, they say I don’t have any (patience),” said Owen. “You got to out here, there’s so many good players, every shot matters.”

The conditions were tougher on Saturday and Saunders handled adversity well. Both times the former Clemson Tiger made a bogey he was able to answer with a birdie on the very next hole. Saunders has positioned himself well with 18 holes to play and is excited for the opportunity to earn is first Tour victory in Fort Wayne on Sunday.
“It’s nice to be in the final group,” Saunders said. “That’s what I dream about as a golfer.”

Third round notes:

* Fourth-round play will be in twosomes off the first tee. Times will run from 8:50 a.m. to 2:50 p.m. with an expected finish time of 7:00 p.m. ET.

* The top-25 money winners after 21 Tour regular season events all earned PGA TOUR cards for the upcoming 2014-15 PGA TOUR wraparound season, which begins in October. The group is still playing for their final position on that list of 25. A second set of 25 PGA TOUR cards will be given at the conclusion of the Tour Championship, the fourth of the four Finals events. The top-25 money winners in the four finals events will also earn TOUR cards.

* Colt Knost has fired three consecutive, 5-under 67s and holds the 54-hole lead by one stroke. This is only the second time in Knost’s Tour career (77th start) that he has held/shared the third-round lead. Knost was up by one after three days at the 2008 Price Cutter Charity Championship in Springfield, Mo. and went on to shoot a 10-under 62 in the final round to complete a wire-to-wire win. He won by four over Webb Simpson.

* Knost is a two-time winner on the Tour. Both victories came during the 2008 season – Fort Smith Classic, Price Cutter Charity Championship – and helped him finish No. 6 on the final money list and earn his PGA TOUR card for the first time.

* Knost has made 48 cuts in 116 career starts on the PGA TOUR. He played the TOUR in 2009 and 2011-13. His best finishes came in 2012 when he was T3 at the Mayakoba Golf Classic and solo third at the RBC Heritage. Knost missed the cut at the HP Byron Nelson Championship this year, his only TOUR start.

* Knost eagled the par-5, 12th hole for the second day in a row.

* Knost’s third round statistics:
11 of 14 fairways
8 of 18 greens
21 putts

* Knost’s tournament statistics:
34 of 42 fairways 81.0 % T6
36 of 54 greens 66.7% T19
5 of 5 sand saves 100% T1
73 total putts T1 w/ Andres Gonzales

* Knost is 8-under par on the par-4s this week, which puts him No. 1 in the field.

* Sam Saunders (T2) has made 8 cuts in 22 career starts on the PGA TOUR. This year he played in only one event – T43 at the Arnold Palmer Invitational.

* Saunders is having a solid week ball-striking. He is T3 in fairways hit (35 of 42) and T6 in greens in regulation (40 of 54) but is only T47 in putting. Saunders has had 28 putts in each of the first three rounds.

* Greg Owen (T2) and Tony Finau (T21) lead the field in par-5 scoring average. They are both 10-under on the par-5s this week.

* Greg Owen has made 201 career starts on the PGA TOUR. His best finish was a solo second at the 2006 Bay Hill Invitational.

* Owen is T1 in greens hit in regulation this week (42 of 54/77.8%).

* Bud Cauley (T4) has been a full-time member of the PGA TOUR the past three years. He made nine cuts in 19 starts this year and had one top-10 finish – T4 at The Greenbrier Classic.

* John Peterson vaulted up the leaderboard with a bogey-free, 8-under Saturday and is T4 heading into Sunday’s final round. Peterson finished No. 1 on the Tour’s Finals Priority Ranking last year after posting top-5 finishes in all four Finals events:
T5 Hotel Fitness Championship
T3 Chiquita Classic
3rd Nationwide Children’s Hospital Invitational
T2 Tour Championship

* Peterson just completed his first full season on the PGA TOUR. He made the cut in 7 of 25 starts and had three top-25 finishes – T21 Open, T20 Sony Open, T19 FedEx St. Jude Classic – and wound up No. 179 on the FedExCup points list.

* Scott Gardiner (T12) shot a 4-under 68 Saturday that included nine birdies. Gardiner offset those birdies with two bogeys and a triple-bogey 8 at the par-5, 5th hole.

* Low rounds of the day:
64 – John Peteson
66 – Daniel Berger, Jamie Lovemark
67 – Andrew Putnam, Chad Campbell, Bud Cauley, Colt Knost

* Bogey-free rounds this week:
R1 64 – Ryan Blaum
65 – Greg Chalmers
66 – Derek Fathauer
67 – Vaughn Taylor
68 – Kris Blanks
R2 67 – Doug LaBelle II
69 – J.J. Henry
70 – Henrik Norlander, Kris Blanks
R3 64 – John Peterson
67 – Andrew Putnam, Colt Knost
68 – Kyle Stanley

* Scoring Averages for the week:
Front (36) Back (35) Total (71)
R1 35.031 35.992 71.023
R2 35.827 35.701 71.528
R3 35.378 35.932 71.311

* NEXT WEEK: The Tour heads to the Charlotte, NC area for the Chiquita Classic at River Run Country Club in Davidson. Last year, Andrew Svoboda two-putted the first extra hole to defeat Will MacKenzie in a playoff and earn his second win of the 2013 season. MacKenzie chipped in for eagle at the final hole to finish regulation play at 12-under and then waited as Svoboda squandered the lead with a bogey at No. 17 to force the second playoff in as many years at River Run. Ben Martin and John Peterson finished at 11-under, one shot back.


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