CHEYENNE – One of the only blemishes of Matt McCarty’s record-setting weekend came on the final hole of the 65th Tyrrell Wyoming State Open.
Even that hiccup didn’t impact the outcome or keep McCarty from rewriting the record books at the state’s oldest professional golf tournament.
The 23-year-old won the title with a score of 22-under-par 188 after three rounds. It’s the lowest overall score in tournament history, and earned him $10,000 for his efforts.
McCarty started his record run by shooting an 11-under 59 during Friday’s opening round. That mark is the lowest score in a competitive round ever recorded at Airport Golf Club.
He followed that with a 6-under 64 during Saturday’s second round and added a 5-under 65 Sunday.
“Those are probably three of the best rounds I’ve put together consecutively in a very long time, if not ever,” the Scottsdale, Arizona, resident said. “I was seeing the shots well and had a really good feel for my swing. I kept that feeling going all three days.”
McCarty entered the final round with a six-stroke lead over Li Wang of Seattle and Patrick Stople of Scottsdale, Arizona. He wanted to come out of the gates strong, and did just that.
He drove the green on the par-4 Hole No. 1 and two-putted for birdie. McCarty followed that by driving his tee shot over the green on the par-4 Hole No. 2. He chipped his second shot within feet of the cup and knocked his putt in for another birdie.
“Hitting that first putt close on 1 and having a tap-in birdie helped,” McCarty said. “Then I had kind of a tough lie back there on 2 and hit a really good chip to about 3 feet. That was perfect and helped settle me down.”
McCarty bogeyed the par-4 Hole No. 4, but rebounded with a birdie on the par-4 Hole No. 5. He added birdies on Hole Nos. 8 and 9 to make the turn at 4-under for the round and 21-under for the tournament. McCarty held a seven-stroke lead at that point.
McCarty sat at 23-under heading into the final hole, but he had to hit a second tee shot after he couldn’t find his first. He still knocked down a long put to limit the damage to a bogey.
“It was a weird hole,” he said. “We saw it bounce, but we couldn’t find it. I wanted to go as low as I could and really set the record, but making that putt on the last hole for a bogey was fine.
“It’s all good for me.”
Wang finished at 16-under 194 to place second at the Wyoming Open for the second consecutive year. He was 5-under 65 in the final round.
“My goal was to make as many birdies as I could and be withing four or five strokes of (McCarty) going into the back nine,” the former Yale golfer said. “I thought that would give me a chance, but he played so well on the front. He was going to be really hard to beat.”
Wang earned $5,500 for his efforts. He notched eight birdies Sunday, but had three bogeys. However, he thought the tournament got away from his during Saturday’s second round when he finished at 3-under after going 8-under in Friday’s opening round.
“If I had played a little better (Saturday), I would have stood a better chance,” Wang said. “I really didn’t have a chance because (McCarty) played so well. He didn’t make a single mistake until the last hole.”
McCarty’s confidence stood out most to Wang.
“There were some tight par-4s where we were all hitting 3-woods, and he stepped up there and ripped a driver like it was nothing,” Wang said. “You could tell he was really in control of his wedges going to greens. He hit it pin-high on some of those back pins.
“The rest of us were leaving it short so we didn’t go over (the green). You could tell he was really in control of his game this weekend.”
Patrick Stolpe of Scottsdale, Arizona, and Brandon Kida of Salt Lake City both tied for third at 15-under 195. Kida fired an 8-under 62 during Sunday’s final round. They earned $3,687.50 apiece.
Laramie’s John Murdock IV – who won the 2019 Wyoming Open as an amateur– and Russell Grove of Couer d’Alene, Idaho, split fifth in the pro field at 14-under 196.
University of Wyoming sophomore Kirby Coe-Kirkham carded a 7-under 63 during the final round and won the championship amateur title at 12-under 198 for the tournament. It’s Coe-Kirkham’s second Wyoming Open amateur title. He shared the crown with Cheyenne’s Blake Danni in 2019.
“I made a lot more putts and was really solid inside 10 feet,” Coe-Kirkham said of his final round performance. “I kept the ball in play a lot more and didn’t have to punch out of the trees, which are prevalent here.”
Coe-Kirkham – who hails from Sheridan – is the sixth man to win both the Wyoming State Amateur title and the Wyoming Open low amateur championship in the same year. Dave Balling (1992), Gabe Meier (2010), Keegan Bradley (2005), Quintin Pope (2015 and ’16) and Glenn Workman (2017) are the others.
Coe-Kirkham also earned a spot in the U.S. Amateur by winning a two-round qualifying event July 6 in Laramie.
Coe-Kirkham credits Sheridan’s Powder Horn Golf Club for helping him get on a roll this summer.
“Their practice facilities are unreal and that’s helped dial my game in,” he said. “I’ve been trying to focus on consistency, trying to narrow my misses and stay in the moment. That’s helped a lot.”