Australia’s Curtis Luck carded a 5-under 66 on Friday to take the second-round lead at the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Championship at 8-under 134. Cameron Young sits alone in second at 7-under 135.
Luck, who began the day on the back nine, started his round with a birdie on the par-4 10th but immediately dropped a shot on No. 11. Despite the bogey, the 24-year-old took advantage of the par-5 12th with an eagle to reach 5-under for the week. The up-and-down afternoon continued for Luck who offset a bogey on the par-3 13th with a birdie on No. 15.
After making the turn at 5-under for the tournament, Luck carded his third birdie of the day on the par-4 second. After a par on No. 3, he tallied another birdie on the par-5 fourth but immediately gave the stroke back with a bogey on No. 5.
After his fifth birdie of the round on No. 7, Luck moved back to 7-under for the week. On the par-4 ninth, he stuck his approach from the right rough and drained the 5-foot birdie putt to take the solo-lead at 8-under.
“Yeah, it was a bit of an up‑and‑down day,” Luck said after the round. “I kind of got off to a weird start, had a couple of bogeys amongst a birdie and an eagle, but it was kind of a little bit like that all day. I just managed to settle myself down and just play some good golf.”
Luck has made four cuts in 11 starts this season on the Korn Ferry Tour and entered the week ranked 135th on the points list. Despite missing the cut in his last three starts, the Australian returned to The Ohio State University Golf Club’s Scarlet Course with past success to draw on. In his last three starts at the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Championship, he has finished T7-T5-T19 and has recorded his best result of the season in Ohio two of the last three years.
“I guess it kind of replicates Australia a little bit,” he said of the Scarlet Course. “They’re (the greens) also bent, so it’s a lot like home. But yeah, I don’t know, it just sets up for me. As I said, I play as smart as I can for the most part and just try and leave the ball in areas where I know I’ve always got a shot.”
After a bogey-free 66 on Thursday, Young tallied four birdies against two bogeys on Friday to claim solo-second at 7-under 135. The Wake Forest University product is making just his fourth career Korn Ferry Tour start this week.
Three weeks ago, Young made his Korn Ferry Tour debut at the Pinnacle Bank Championship presented by Aetna after Monday qualifying and finished the week T11. With his strong play, he earned a spot in the WinCo Foods Portland Open presented by KraftHeinz where he finished T14.
At last week’s Albertsons Boise Open presented by Kraft Nabisco, his strong play continued. Highlighted by a third-round 61, Young earned his best Korn Ferry Tour finish with a T6 result in Idaho. Now, the 23-year-old has put himself in position to capture one of the five 2020 U.S. Open exemptions awarded at the conclusion of the Korn Ferry Tour Championship Series.
“It’s been a huge step in the right direction,” Young said of his recent play. “I was playing well, and I had every reason to believe I could get in and play well. It’s just fortunate to be playing well at this time to keep myself in it.”
Erik Barnes, Lee Hodges, Jimmy Stanger and Brandon Wu sit T3 at 6-under 136.