Stephan Jaeger claims 36-hole lead at Visit Knoxville Open

Jaeger, the Korn Ferry Tour points leader, followed up a first-round 64 with an 8-under 62 on Friday to take the lead at the midway point of the Visit Knoxville Open.
Stephan Jaeger
Stephan Jaeger(Korn Ferry Tour)
Updated: May. 14, 2021 at 11:55 PM EDT
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT/ - For the second week in a row, Stephan Jaeger is in contention heading into the weekend on the Korn Ferry Tour. Jaeger, the Korn Ferry Tour points leader, followed up a first-round 64 with an 8-under 62 on Friday to take the lead at the midway point of the Visit Knoxville Open. Jaeger leads Kyle Reifers by one stroke and Greyson Sigg by three at Holston Hills Country Club.

Jaeger co-led after the first round last week and was one stroke back after 36 holes before eventually settling for a T5 finish. Overall this season, the 31-year-old German has collected two wins and eight top-10s in 26 starts on his way to the top position in the points standings.

“I putted well; I mean I have made a lot of putts,” said Jaeger after his nine birdies on Friday. “But I’ve also driven it really nicely, I mean hell, I’m 14-under through two rounds, so I’ve hit my irons well, I’ve hit my wedges well, I’ve chipped it well. Pretty much every part of the game has been working which is nice because you don’t get that very often.”

While nine birdies in a round is a career-best for some, for Jaeger, it wasn’t even close. Jaeger holds the lowest career round in Korn Ferry Tour history, a 58 at the 2016 Ellie Mae Classic that included 12 birdies. At the time, Jaeger was the only player to ever shoot a 58 in a PGA TOUR-sanctioned event, though Jim Furyk matched the feat at the PGA TOUR level with a 58 a week later at the 2016 Travelers Championship.

After a day when so many putts dropped, ironically Jaeger had a final birdie chance stay out on his last hole, the par-4 ninth.

“It was on the edge,” laughed Jaeger. “It was one of those putts where you just kind of have to take your medicine and die it in. I thought I did a good job and thought it was going to back door, but I mean if I complained about putts dropping then I would be an idiot. I made my share today.”

Though Jaeger is originally from Germany, he has a lot of Tennessee ties. He came to Chattanooga in 2006 at the age of 17 as an exchange student his junior year of high school. He attended Baylor School where he was high school teammates with current PGA TOUR members Harris English and Keith Mitchell. Even after high school, he attended the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga to play golf and has remained a Chattanooga resident ever since.

“I was a 17-year-old coming to a new country without my parents, so it was difficult in the beginning,” said Jaeger. “But that Baylor family, they take care of you really well early on. I’ve made so many good friends through the years in Chattanooga and in Tennessee. It’s the Southern hospitality, you can feel comfortable pretty quickly.”

Jaeger will have the opportunity to make history again this weekend as he attempts to become the 12th player to earn the three-win promotion to the PGA TOUR and first since 2016 (Wesley Bryan).

Wake Forest alum Kyle Reifers is seeking his second win on the Korn Ferry Tour almost 15 years after his first. He won in his first ever start at the 2006 Chattanooga Classic.

The cut was made at 2-under 138 with 76 professionals advancing to the weekend. This week marks the 31st edition of the Visit Knoxville Open, one of four tournaments from the original season in 1990 that remain on the Tour’s schedule.

Third-round tee times will run from 7 a.m. to 1:10 p.m. on Saturday off of the first tee.

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