Ben Geyer nears course record to take Wyoming Open lead

·6 min read

Jul. 10—CHEYENNE — Ben Geyer's day started inauspiciously. It ended with him sitting alone atop the leaderboard.

The Arbuckle, California, resident fired a 10-under-par 60 to move into the lead after two rounds at the 66th Tyrrell Auto Centers Wyoming State Open. Geyer's 60 was one stroke off the course record at Airport Golf Course.

"I had a really sloppy start on the two drive-able holes where you think you should at least come out 1-under," Geyer said. "I was greenside on (Hole No. 1) and missed a three-footer and made a bogey. Then, I hit a bad chip shot on (Hole No. 2) and ended up with par.

"I was very frustrated with myself, but I reminded myself there was a lot of golf left to play and that I'd keep giving myself opportunities."

Geyer was right.

He rebounded from that bogey by netting birdies on Hole Nos. 5 and 6. Geyer eagled the par-4 Hole No. 8 and the par-5 Hole No. 10. He carded birdies on five of his last six holes Saturday.

"I've put a lot of emphasis on my putter lately, and I've been putting really well," Geyer said. "I was cold the last couple weeks, but I've started to get that back. I made a lot of 10-foot putts down the stretch."

Geyer has played a handful of events around the area, including last week's Laramie Open and a qualifier for the Colorado Open. He has struggled with his swing throughout, but a recent tweak to the position and movement of his left wrist has Geyer hitting the ball straight and allowing him to score low.

"I found something the day before the tournament that has helped with my ball-striking," he said. "I don't really have a coach I work with, so I've been working on a bunch of different things and been scrapping it around. I made a change that got the ball going where I was looking. It's been a lot of fun.

"That change put my club face where it needed to be. It was just one simple thought for me instead of multiple thoughts at once. I'm going to ride this as long as it lasts, but I'm sure I'll have to do something different in two weeks when I start hitting it bad again."

Brandon Kida moved up one spot in the standings by doing himself one shot better in the second round. The Salt Lake City resident posted a 7-under 63 Saturday, and is sitting alone in second at 13-under.

Kida birdied his first two holes before bogeying the par-4 No. 6. He rebounded with a birdie on eight, and birdied five of nine holes after the turn.

"I got off to a good start and kind of went quiet for a while," Kida said. "I had to be patient because I was stuck in neutral. There were a lot of birdie opportunities out there."

Kida spent the first two rounds playing in a foursome with Patrick Stolpe, who also shot a 63 during Saturday's round. Stolpe is in a six-way tie for third at 11-under 129. Both men said watching the other go low made them excited about taking their next shots.

"When you're watching (Stolpe) make birdies all over the place, it forces me to keep the pedal down," Kida said. "It was great watching good golf. That motivated me to finish strong."

Stolpe's round include a hole-in-one on the par-3 Hole No. 9. He bogeyed the par-4 No. 12, but rebounded with a birdie on the par-5 Hole No. 13. His second shot on that hole went over the green, but stopped in an opening between trees allowing him the chance at a clean chip shot. Stolpe knocked down his putt to regain the stroke he lost on Hole No. 12.

"I made some good putts that I didn't make (Friday), and I put myself in some good spots by driving it well. That all makes it easier," he said. "I had some good par putts that helped me keep the momentum."

First round co-leaders George Markham and Zahkai Brown both shot 4-under 66s in the second round, and are part of the logjam in third at 11-under. They're joined by John Murdock IV, Drew Trujillo and Eric MCCardle.

Murdock — who won the overall Wyoming Open title as an amateur in 2018 — and Trujillo both fired 61s on Saturday.

Murdock moved onto the back nine at 5-under for the round. He added birdies on four of the first six holes after the turn.

"I drove it well, which is the biggest thing here," said Murdock, who calls Laramie home. "You're going to leave yourself a lot of looks if you drive the ball well because there are a lot of places you can get into trouble. Hitting the fairway was huge.

"I also rolled in a few more putts. There wasn't anything too crazy I did that got me to 61."

Trujillo was similarly impressive on the first nine, carding four birdies to make the turn at 4-under 30. He birdied the par-5 Hole No. 10 and the par-4 No. 12 before tallying an eagle on the par-5 Hole No. 13.

"I made a bunch of putts, kept the ball in play and managed my game pretty well," Trujillo said. "A couple more could have gone in. That would have been cool, but I can't complain about anything."

McCardle — who hails from Las Vegas — posted a 7-under 63 Saturday. He had six birdies and an eagle to go with one bogey.

Derek Fribbs of Aurora, Colorado, marked his second consecutive 5-under 65 and sits alone in ninth at 10-under. He had six birdies and a bogey on the par-4 Hole No. 16.

"I had pretty much the exact same round," Fribbs said. "I got lucky on a few shots and missed a few more putts, but it was pretty much the same. I had to keep giving myself makeable putts, and that's what I did."

Phillip Reedy, Jhared Hack and Brandon Tsujimoto are all tied for 10th at 9-under. Both Tsujimoto and Hack were 5-under in the first round, while Reedy was 3-under.

Jeremiah Johnke is the WyoSports editor. He can be reached at jjohnke@wyosports.net or 307-633-3137. Follow him on Twitter at @jjohnke.