BOISE, Idaho — After entering the 2022 Korn Ferry Tour season with conditional status and guaranteed zero starts, 24-year-old Philip Knowles will advance to Sunday’s final at the Albertsons Boise Open presented by Chevron with a chance to become the first end-on-end winner of the year and just the second since 2018.
Knowles, who held a four-shot lead at the start of the day, carded a 3-under 68 to reach 20-under through 54 holes, earning him a two-shot cushion over Taylor Montgomery in solo-second. For a brief moment late in the round, Knowles lost the lead after a bogey on the 13th followed by a double bogey on the 14th, but he rallied with three birdies on the final four holes, including a chip-in on the #18 which received a roar from the crowd.
“I said to Jack, my caddy, after we left #16, let’s move on to #20. We had been there several times during the day and it was just an absolute battle all day,” Knowles said when asked about his birdie on the last hole. “He walks in and I let out a fist pump. I’m not very emotional on the golf course, as I don’t pump very often. There was just a ton of pent up frustration. Honestly, months of pent up frustration and tricks like that – I made two doubles and two bogeys. I made three bad golf shots all day.
“So yeah, lots of energy.”
Knowles’ round got off to another solid start on Saturday afternoon, going birdie-eagle-birdie on the numbers 2-4. In three rounds, Knowles is 12 under on the first four holes at Hillcrest Country Club.
The first spot of the day came on the par-4 fifth, where Knowles scored his first double bogey of the week. With another birdie in the seventh and a bogey in the ninth, he sat down to 2 under after nine holes. At the back, Knowles had four birdies at numbers 10, 15, 16 and 18, against the aforementioned bogey-double bogey push at numbers 13 and 14.
“I had a few good breaks and today like every shot a little off, trees in the way or a ball in the hazard, a bad golf swing, but the fall wasn’t easy,” Knowles said. “I feel like that’s kind of what this whole season has been like, but I’m thrilled to finish this round today. I was able to keep moving in the right direction. I got to 20 and even though I made a lot of mistakes, the birdie production is still there. Good parts of the game are still there, so I’m excited to play tomorrow.
Knowles earned the start this week by placing in the top 75 of the regular season qualifying points list last week. He entered the Pinnacle Bank Championship presented by Aetna #87, which would have ruled him out of the Korn Ferry Tour finals, and a T10 finish propelled him to 67th place, giving him access to all three finals.
With a fifth-place solo or better this week, Knowles will secure a spot in The Finals 25 and earn his first PGA TOUR card for the 2022-23 season. Despite being so close to getting a spot on the TOUR, Knowles knows the journey doesn’t end there.
“It would be a dream come true and it’s the aspiration, to go and play against the best in the world on the PGA TOUR,” Knowles said. “The thing to keep in mind is that there’s a difference between just getting a TOUR card and getting your TOUR card with a good position in your category. The wins are huge for that prospect, especially when you only play three (endgame events) Getting a TOWER card is the dream, but the thought will definitely come to mind tomorrow at some point and I’ll pass it on.
With a victory this week, Knowles would become the first player since Cameron Young last year to win wire-to-wire (2021 AdventHealth Championship).
“The goal isn’t just to go for a TOUR card,” Knowles said. “The goal is to go out and win.”
The final round duos will start from 7:10 a.m. to 1 p.m. local time of the first start.