Jul. 25—A group of Owensboro-area golfers will be part of the 96 amateurs and 60 professionals looking to capture the 103rd Kentucky Open Championship crown when the tournament begins Tuesday at Persimmon Ridge Golf Club in Louisville.
A trio of former Owensboro Catholic High School standouts in Hayden Warren, Stephen Warren and Jakob Wellman highlight the local field, which also includes former Muhlenberg County High School standout Connor Coombs and former Ohio County High School star Trey Lewis.
Hayden Warren, a freshman at Western Kentucky University, and brother Stephen Warren, a former Hilltoppers standout himself, teamed up to win the Kentucky Team Championship at Frankfort Country Club on May 9. The duo trailed by a stroke after the opening round but combined to fire 8-under-par in the second round, finishing at 14-under and winning the tournament by a stroke.
Later in the summer, Stephen Warren competed at the Kentucky Open qualifier at The Country Club of Owensboro on June 25, where he shot a 1-under 71 to tie for seventh. In that same outing, Wellman, a rising freshman at Murray State, shot an even-par 72 to tie for ninth and also earn a qualifying bid.
Afterward, Warren credited his patience for his success.
"It was kind of slow getting started, and then just stayed patient and was able to post a good enough score to qualify," he said. "That's what it's about sometimes — just staying patient and waiting for it to come to you."
At the 108th Clark's Pump-N-Shop Kentucky Amateur in June, Stephen Warren and Coombs both finished at even-par and tied for 18th in the three-day competition at Indian Hills Country Club in Bowling Green. Warren also shot 6-under at the U.S. Amateur qualifying event at Nevel Meade Golf Course in Prospect on July 6, earning designation as an alternate to the upcoming event in August.
Coombs, from Central City, made the Kentucky Open after shooting 2-over 74 and finishing runner-up at the qualifying event at The Country Club of Paducah on July 12. The recent Murray State grad had made an effort to visit the course ahead of time to get ready, focusing on balanced improvement.
"I'm really just going to work on being more consistent all around," he said, "with a big emphasis on being in good positions off the tee."
Lewis, from Beaver Dam and now a member of the Murray State squad, qualified for the Kentucky Open with a 2-over 74 and a tie for 13th at Heritage Hill Golf Club in Shepherdsville on July 12. He finished in a tie for 28th at the Kentucky Amateur last month.
Tom Campbell, a former coach at Kentucky Wesleyan College, is also part of the Kentucky Open field after winning the Kentucky Senior Match Play Championship at Lexington's Griffin Gate Golf Club in May.
Competitors will be looking to knock off three-time defending champion J.B. Williams of Danville.