SHELBYVILLE – Perhaps, in a bit of foreshadow, Louisville native Jared Wolfe showed off his power hitting capability by winning the Martinrea Heavy Stamping Long Drive competition earlier in the week at Shelbyville Country Club. The power hitter, who has status on the Web.com Tour this season and nine starts on the number two tour, outdrove the competition on the way to his first-ever NGA Tour Pro Series win at this year’s Bluegrass Open presented by Lucky 8 Stables at the championship Shelbyville Country Club in Shelbyville. Ironically, for the veteran of two NGA Carolina Series wins, it was his putter that may have led to his victory on Sunday. After struggling with putts for much of the first three days, Wolfe made a 20 footer to save par on 18 at the end of his third round, giving him a 2 stroke lead heading into Sunday and perhaps some needed momentum. That momentum led to another putt on 18, this time a ten footer for birdie after sticking the pin on Sunday’s final round, leaving him with three putts for the win. All Wolfe could think of, as his birdie attempt barely slid to the side, was his missed opportunity to shoot 29 on the back nine final round. He tapped in for par to close out the win and got a congratulatory hug from his caddy, who also happens to be his wife Kelsey, as they celebrated their 10 month anniversary in dramatic style.
The day was filled with drama as Wolfe’s two fellow Kentuckians, Ryan Martin of Prestonsburg and Matt Atkins of Owensboro, each made a run at him. Martin, who played collegiately at Morehead State and was in the final pairing with Wolfe, erased the two stroke difference that separated the two by shooting 3 under par on the front nine and actually headed to the back nine with a one shot lead. His back nine 33 just wasn’t enough to overcome Wolfe’s amazing 30. Martin did chip in for birdie on 18 which gave him a share of second with Atkins. Atkins, who started the day in 3rd, charged all day but could never get closer than a stroke to Wolfe. The former USC Aiken star, who was part of the NGA Tour’s winning Cup team the week before, shot a final round 65 to finish in a tie with Martin for second giving the home state Kentuckians the top 3 spots in the inaugural event.
Recent US Open local qualifier, Pete Skirpstas out of Medina, Ohio, started the day tied for 3rd and, after shooting two under par Sunday, finished in solo fourth. The Mount Olive alum, who was also paired in the final group with Wolfe and Martin, shot a solid 3 under par 33 on the front but two bogeys on the back would knock the big hitter out of contention for the win. Two-time Georgia Tech All-American and former Missouri star Jace Long matched Atkins low round of the day 65 to help them move from tied 12th into a tie for 5th with 2012 NGA Tour Player of the Year Brandon Brown. Brown, the Shelbyville native who starred at Eastern Kentucky and played in last year’s US Open, was playing his first competitive golf in 8 months due to injury. After shooting par first day, Brown came back with three sub 70 rounds to climb back into contention in front of the hometown crowd. UK alum Andy Winings, a member of the Web.com Tour the past two years, and Ohio State alum Kevin Hall finished in a tie for eighth with former PGA TOUR member Michael Letzig and White’s Georgia Tech teammate Jason Hak. Hak, once the No. 1 ranked amateur in the world, broke Sergio Garcia’s record by becoming the youngest player to make a cut in a European Tour event. Brown’s Shelby High teammate Derrick Bohannon, who went on to play collegiately at Midland, finished at one under par for the event and tied 15th. Former University of Louisville star Daniel Iceman, who once called Shelbyville Country Club home, finished 24th.
The NGA Tour will resume play at Three Ridges Golf Club in Knoxville, Tennessee with the 4th annual Three Ridges Golf Classic on Wednesday. Spectators are welcome and admission is free to the public.