Tyler Wilson Wins Larry Gilbert Open
University of Kentucky junior golfer Tyler Wilson won the Larry Gilbert Open at Kearney Hill Links yesterday.
Wilson was giddy but also a bit wary when his 8-iron tee shot on the second hole at Kearney Hill Links spun back into the cup for an ace during the final round of the Larry Gilbert Lexington Open yesterday.
Wilson reacted happily, of course, but he also told one of his playing partners that the downside to getting a hole-in-one so early in a round was that "things can only go downhill from there."
Not necessarily. Wilson went on to eagle the two par-5 holes on the front side, and he added birdies on both par-5s on the back.
Wilson, a redshirt junior at the UK, posted a pair of 67s for a 10-under total of 134. That was good enough for a two-shot victory over Lexington Country Club pro Buddy Harston, who finished runner-up for the third time in six years.
Harston's consolation was that he pocketed the $1,500 first-place check since Wilson is an amateur. Eric Mason was third at 7-under.
Wilson is something of an old hand at making holes-in-one. He's had five, including one last year at the University Club of Kentucky, and another during the third round of the City Tournament at Picadome last month.
Experience in exhilaration helped him handle the excitement that came with his ace yesterday. "I tried to keep myself level-headed," he said.
Wilson looked poised when he hit a 3-iron second shot to within 10 feet and eagled the third hole.
He stumbled briefly with bogeys at the fifth and sixth, but he bounced back with a sizzling 3-wood second shot that set up a 6-foot eagle at the seventh.
Wilson had the lead and wasn't going to relinquish it. He bogeyed the 10th but offset that with birdies at the 14th and 18th.
Wilson was 10-under on Kearney's par-5s over two days.
"That's what won it for me," he said.
Harston, playing ahead of Wilson, knew he had ground to make up. A couple of bad lies cost him a chance for birdie at the 14th, and he missed an eagle try at the 18th.
"I figured I needed to get to 9-under, maybe 10-under," said Harston, who has been trying to make Monday qualifiers on The Champions Tour this summer. "But anytime I shoot 67 I'm happy."
Wilson, 21, was happy to get his first victory since his days as a junior.
"A lot of good players have won this tournament," he said. "It'll be exciting to have my name on the trophy with them."
Larry Gilbert Lexington Open scores