Woodstock, GA – Austin Peay State University senior Dustin Korte would be the first to admit he picked a bad time to not be playing his best golf. Don’t tell that to a flock of friends and family members who made the junket from Massac County, IL, to watch Korte play in the NCAA Championships, being played at the Capital City Club Crabapple Course.
After struggling with a pair of double bogeys on the back nine (9-18 were played first, Wednesday), the Metropolis, Ill., native scrambled to play the front side at 1-under with one birdie and eight pars. As a result, he finished the second round at 2-over 72, making him 7-over 147 for the tournament.
“I tried to stay as calm and patient as I could,” Korte said. “Whenever I got a little frustrated and impatient today, I started playing a little better. Normally that is not the case…you have to stay calm and patient. Maybe I need to play with a little more fire and be more aggressive tomorrow.”
Perhaps the presence of family, including his mother, father and two brothers—and friends also helped snap him from his doldrums. He played much of Tuesday with perhaps 10 people watching, but that Korte Klan more than doubled Wednesday. When he sank the birdie putt on No. 8, the crowd erupted. All waited around until he signed his scorecard after finishing on No. 9.
“Having them out there was pretty awesome, it was pretty uplifting,” he said. “There was something like 20 of my family and friends out there and I am not sure anyone else had that kind of following. I really appreciated them being here. A lot of them have not seen me play in quite a while.”
However, it was a wayward tee shots on No. 14 that left him with a double bogey. His tee shot hooked left and nestled between two pine cones under a pine tree. Unable to move the pine cones, fearing the ball would roll and cost him a penalty stroke, his second shot flew from the prickly lie and ricocheted off another tree on the opposite side. Instead of caroming toward the green, the ball pinballed into some tall grass across the cart path. With this view to the green blocked by trees, he was forced to punch it out. After chipping onto the green, he two-putted for the double.
On No. 17, he found the sand trap with his second shot and needed two shots to eradicate himself from the trap, resulting in his second double in four holes and completely wiping out his No. 11 birdie. As a result, he made the turn at three over. He settled down to play his best golf over the last two days.
“I hit some good tee shots today,” Korte said. “On the two holes that I got doubles, I didn’t hit the tee shots very well. I made a bad decision on No. 14 and had some bad luck on No. 17.
“Today and yesterday I made some management mistakes and I am just not sharp. Hopefully, tomorrow I will come out and be a little sharper and stay aggressive.”
“Dustin made a lot of up and downs to save the round,” APSU coach Kirk Kayden said. “He had two bad swings on the day, which resulted in doubles, but he played the last 10 holes today at 1-under.
“The pin placement was tough, the greens played fast. He grinded hard and finished strong. I hope he can carry that momentum into tomorrow.”
Korte is confident he has saved the best for last. He will tee off at 2:00pm (ET) for his final 18 college golf rounds.
“I know I can play with everyone here and I know I can play this course,” Korte said. “It is a matter of executing shots. Hopefully, tomorrow I can execute better.”