Derby’s Woody Austin shot one-over-par in the opening two rounds of the Preferred Health Systems Wichita Open, missing the cut by five strokes. He finished tied for 122nd place.
Woody Austin doesn’t want to be called a fan favorite. That would imply he had a chance of winning.
Even though Austin was one of the few golfers with local ties at the Preferred Health Systems Wichita Open at Crestview County Club this past week, his large fan base at the Nationwide Tour tournament didn’t help him make the cut after shooting a one-over-par 143 through the first two rounds.
“I don’t play good enough to be a favorite anymore,” Austin said after his second-round 69 on Friday afternoon. “I can play, but I’m not a favorite to win a golf tournament anymore.”
The Derby resident, who has three PGA Tour victories over his 26-year pro career, struggled at times in his two rounds at Crestview’s North course.
Austin dipped under par for the first time of the tournament with a birdie on the third hole in the opening round on Thursday. He strung together seven straight pars after the birdie, but shot four-over on the final eight holes with bogeys on every odd hole (11, 13, 15 and 17) during the stretch.
Austin hit more than 72-percent of his greens in regulation in the first round, although most of his birdie attempts were more than 20 feet long. He two-putted most for pars, but three-putted a few for bogeys.
“I can’t get back in the tournament. I probably have to shoot a 64 or 63 just to make the cut,” Austin said after parring the 18th hole to finish the opening round three-over-par. “I don’t see that happening.”
After a lone birdie on the first round, Austin carded three on the first nine holes of his second round on Friday morning. Austin played the back nine first and birdied the par-four 11th, par-three 15th and par-five 18th.
“The back nine is the easy nine with the birdie holes. I felt like I had to shoot five-under,” Austin said. “I played good enough to shoot five-under but I only shot three (under par).”
Three-under for the round and back to even-par for the tournament, Austin bogeyed back-to-back holes after the turn to erase any chance of getting close to four-under-par to make the cut.
“I knew I had to shoot 64 just to make the cut. I bogeyed one and that pretty much put an end to that,” Austin said. “When I bogeyed one, I knew I was done. You’re asking to make five birdies in your last eight holes on the side that’s not giving up birdies.”
Austin finished out the final seven holes with six pars and a birdie to finish the round with a two-under 69, missing the cut by five strokes. He finished the tournament one-over-par and tied for 122nd place. Casey Wittenberg won the Wichita Open, shooting 18-under-par.
“I hate knowing that you have to shoot four-or five-under just to make the cut,” Austin said. “I put too much pressure going the other way on stuff like that. Yesterday on the back nine, it showed. I knew I couldn’t afford to shoot over-par. Once I got going the wrong way I started three-putting up a storm.”
Despite its close proximity, Austin has only played Crestview twice – this year at the Wichita Open and at last year’s tournament when he tied for 35th and shot a 278 over four rounds.
“I’ve played this place twice now - last year and this year,” he said. “Yes, it’s my hometown, but this is not my golf course. This is not a place I play, so I don’t know it like the back of my hand.”
There was a silver lining in Austin’s early exit at the Wichita Open. It’s only the second time in his long career he’s been close enough to home to sleep in his own bed during a tournament and spend extra time with his family while on tour.
“If this was somewhere else, I’d be stuck trying to get home,” Austin said. “Now, I have two days to spend with my kids and wife and everybody. If you’re going to screw up, screw up close to home.”
Austin has spent the season bouncing between events on the PGA and Nationwide tours.
He’s played in five PGA events this season with one top-25 finish.
He’s also placed third and was tied for fifth and seventh in tournaments on the Nationwide Tour.
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