CHEYENNE – Matt McCarty could hardly sleep Friday night.
His phone was constantly buzzing with notifications from friends congratulating him for his score in the opening round of the 65th Tyrrell Wyoming State Open golf tournament.
However, McCarty’s sleeplessness had less to do with what his 11-under-par first round made happen externally and more to do with what it triggered internally.
“I couldn’t really fall asleep last night because I was so excited to get back out here and play well again,” the Scottsdale, Arizona, resident said.
McCarty added to his Wyoming Open lead by shooting a 6-under-par 64 during Saturday’s second round. He is 17-under for the tournament, and holds a six-shot lead entering today’s final round.
“The course played a little tougher (Saturday) because of the wind,” McCarty said. “I didn’t play as well, but I still played really solid. I hit my driver well and was never really out of position too much.
“I kind of picked up where I left off and got rolling. It was nice to get off to a good start because that calmed me down after (Friday).”
The 23-year-old started the second round on the back nine at Airport Golf Club and notched a birdie on the par-5 Hole No. 10. He added an eagle on the par-5 Hole No. 13 and a birdie on the par-3 Hole No. 16 to make the turn at 4-under.
McCarty added birdies on Hole Nos. 2 and 5. He has yet to card a birdie through 36 holes.
“My ball striking is a strength, and I hit it especially straight off the tee,” McCarty said. “This course is pretty tight, so hitting it straight is an advantage.”
Patrick Stolpe – who also calls Scottsdale home – made a big move Saturday, carding an 8-under 62. He is tied for second with Li Wang of Seattle at 11-under for the tournament.
Nearly everything in Saturday’s round went according to plan, Stolpe said.
“I played solid golf, didn’t make many mistakes and gave myself solid chances to make putts,” said Stolpe, who grew up in Wisconsin. “It was a pretty stress-free round, if we’re being honest.
“I rolled in a couple long putts, but I hit all the greens on the par-5s and two-putted for birdies.”
Stolpe started his second round with a bogey on the par-4 Hole No. 1, but rebounded with birdies on nine of his next 16 holes. Stolpe’s opening round could have been much better than 3-under, but it was marred by bogeys. That included a double bogey on the par-4 Hole No. 15.
Instead of fixating on missed opportunities, Stolpe focused on the positives, like an eagle on 10.
“The first round was unfortunate because I got off to a hot start, and then we had the rain delays,” said Stolpe, who is playing in the Wyoming Open for the third time. “Even with everything that happened, I thought I was playing well, and I was looking forward to (Saturday).”
Wang was the 2020 Wyoming Open runner up, but was on the wait list to get into this year’s tournament. As a result of him being added late, he was grouped with three amateurs.
Wang was second after the first round at 8-under. He didn’t fare as well during Saturday’s second round, but he still put himself in contention with a 3-under 67. His 11-under sits six strokes behind the lead entering today’s final round.
“I feel like I played just as well as I did (Friday), but I just didn’t putt as well,” Wang said. “I hit a lot of putts I thought were going to go in that were really good putts, but they were just on the edge low, high or wide.
“That was frustrating, but, at the same time, I’m hitting the ball well enough that I’ll have a good chance if I can just tweak it a little bit on the greens.”
Despite his putting woes, Wang only recorded one bogey. He made up for that with an eagle on Hole No. 10.
Derek Fribbs of Aurora, Colorado, moved into fourth at 10-under after two rounds. He shot a 7-under 63 on Saturday.
John Murdock IV – the 2018 Wyoming Open champion – posted another solid round of 4-under, and is in fifth place at 9-under heading into the final round.
University of Wyoming golfer Kirby Coe-Kirkham shares the championship amateur lead with T.J. Shehee at 5-under 135. Coe-Kirkam, who hails from Sheridan, was the 2019 Wyoming Open amateur co-champ.
The final round of the 54-hole tournament is today.