Basalt pro misses cut in Salt Lake City
A week that began with much promise ended in disappointment for Basalt professional golfer Jim Knous.
The recent Colorado School of Mines graduate fired a 7-under-par 65 in a qualifier Monday to secure his spot in his first Web.com (formerly Nationwide) Tour event. He was unable to maintain that momentum, however, during the tournament’s first two rounds Thursday and Friday at Willow Creek Country Club in Salt Lake City.
After missing the cut because of lackluster rounds of 1-over 72 and 74, Knous was gassing up his car and heading back to Colorado on Friday afternoon instead of preparing to play through the weekend.
“I’m bummed. It’s super disappointing when you feel like you’re playing well but not scoring well,” Knous said. “I’d say my game is almost there, but it’s just a different level out there.”
The youngster, who won his professional debut in June at the Navajo Trail Open in Durango, sure acquitted himself well at the start Thursday. He “made things look easy” at the par-5 first hole, reaching the green in two, lagging a putt to within a foot and tapping in for birdie. After escaping No. 2 with a hard-earned par, Knous admittedly was excited.
“It’s funny, but I actually thought I was less nervous out there (than usual),” he said. “I was nervous for a couple days before but not when I stepped out on that first tee. And after that start, I was thinking, ‘All right, we’re going to go low.'”
Not quite: Knous bogeyed his next three holes.
“That was kind of demoralizing,” he said. “It’s never good to hop on that bogey train. You’ve got to find a way off. It took me a while.”
He birdied two par-5s on the back nine but had to settle for 72.
“I was giving myself tons of looks for birdie but was just burning the edges,” Knous said. “I felt like I was rolling the ball really well, but I just wasn’t reading the putts correctly.”
The misfortune continued Friday.
After a par on his first hole – No. 10 – Knous hit what he thought was an accurate tee shot at the par-3 11th but wound up in the rough. His ensuing chip rolled well past the hole, and he two-putted for bogey.
His tee shot at the par-5 12th found the rough, too, leading to another dropped shot.
“The rough out there was super-duper thick. You’re left just wishing, hoping for a good lie,” Knous said.
He rebounded with two birdies – the last on a 30-foot putt at No. 18 – but could not mount the charge he needed to crack the top 50 and secure a spot for the weekend.
“It doesn’t seem like there’s a whole lot of birdie holes on that course, so you really have to capitalize on your chances,” Knous said. “Then again, a guy that played in my group shot 9-under today, so there were birdies to be had. I just couldn’t find them.
“I don’t know, it was just bad luck.”
While he was frustrated, Knous insists the experience was not discouraging.
“I definitely feel like I can play at that level. The line between my game and how I need to play at that level is so small,” he said. “I think it’s just fine-tuning at this point. I know what I need to work on.
“It was a great learning experience. It was great to see how these guys get to live each week on tour – it’s something I really want. I think I’ll be back, and I’ll be better. I’ve just got to keep accruing the experience.”
Knous next will tee it up at the Colorado Open in about two weeks.
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