Dylan Wu claims 36-hole lead at The Bahamas Great Exuma Classic at Sandals Emerald Bay

Dylan Wu at Great Exuma Classic
Photo Caption: Northwestern alum Dylan Wu has opened in rounds of 67-66 at Sandals Emerald Bay GC. (Ben Jared/PGA TOUR) 

GREAT EXUMA, The Bahamas — After a 5-under 67 on Sunday led to a T2 position entering the second round, Dylan Wu carded a front-nine 31 and an eventual 66 on Monday to open up a seven-stroke lead on the field. At 11-under, Wu leads George Cunningham and John Oda at 4-under and three players at 3-under. Play was suspended due to darkness at 5:48 p.m. with five groups remaining on the course at The Bahamas Great Exuma Classic at Sandals Emerald Bay.  

While Wu’s front-nine 31 is the low nine of the tournament so far, his round almost got off to a much different start. The 23-year-old credited a grind-it-out par on the first hole to jump starting his day.

“On No. 1, that was a really good par,” said Wu. “It’s probably my least favorite tee shot because I hit the ball left to right, and the wind is straight off the left. In the practice round my first two tee shots were in the water. Today I was in the rough and somehow hit it left into the hazard on my second shot. I found it in the hazard, but I could only advance it about 20 yards into a waste bunker. Then I had a 40-yard shot and I hit it to nine feet and made the putt for par.”

Wu followed up his virtuoso par with a chip-in birdie at the second and added birdies at the fourth and eighth holes before an eagle at the par-5 ninth. After bogeys at the 10th and 12th holes, the Northwestern alum birdied three straight at Nos. 14-16 to reach 11-under.

“After I made eagle on nine, I knew 10-13 going straight into the wind were going to be tough,” said Wu. “I was actually pretty happy to play those at 2-over. It could have been worse. I made par on 13 and then birdied the next three.”

Monday’s conditions included 15-20 miles per hour wind with gusts up to 30 miles per hour. Similar to the first round, the scoring average hovered around 75 before eventually landing at 74.969. The scoring average of almost three strokes over par would have been the toughest on Tour last season by almost a full stroke. Wu leads only 10 players under par and the cut line is currently projected to fall at 5-over.

“I typically hit the ball pretty low,” said Wu. “This offseason I actually tried to hit the ball higher, but coming in here, I threw that out the window. You can’t prepare to play in wind like this. I mean I played at Northwestern in Chicago, so I know how to keep the ball low, but this is different. Basically 10-14 you keep the ball low and ‘swing easy in the breezy.’ I think Tom Watson says that.”

Wu was a rookie on the Korn Ferry Tour in 2019, but only made 13 starts after beginning the season with low conditional status. He got into the Lincoln Land Championship presented by LRS as an alternate and proceeded to finish runner-up after losing to Xinjun Zhang in a playoff. That finish set him up with starts for the remainder of the season and allowed him to retain his Korn Ferry Tour card in 2020.

CONTACT: Preston Smith, prestonsmith@pgatourhq.com

MONDAY NOTES:

* Monday’s weather: Breezy and partly cloudy, high of 79, winds E 15-20 mph with gusts up to 28 mph.  

* Second-round play was suspended due to darkness at 5:48 p.m. with five groups still on the course.

* In 13 career starts on the Korn Ferry Tour, Dylan Wu’s best career position through 36 holes was T13 at the Price Cutter Charity Championship Presented by Dr Pepper. This is the first round Wu has ever led on the Korn Ferry Tour.

* After posting the only bogey-free round on Sunday, John Oda (-4, T2) made one bogey and one double bogey on Monday. He still leads the field with only two bogeys or worse. Oda, who grew up in Hawaii, credited comfortability with island golf to his hot start. He finished T4 last year in Exuma.

* In his only other start at The Bahamas Great Exuma Classic at Sandals Emerald Bay, Jose de Jesus Rodriguez (-3, T4) finished T3 in 2018 after a final-round 68.

* First-round leader Tommy Gainey sits T4 after a second-round 75.

* Jared Wolfe (+2, T30) is the only player in the field with multiple eagles this week. He has eagled the par-5 first hole in each of the first two rounds.

* The par-4 12th played as the most difficult hole on Monday with a scoring average of 4.565. In 2017, the 12th ranked as the most difficult hole on the Korn Ferry Tour and played to a scoring average of 5.008.

* The par-5 first hole played as the easiest on Sunday with a scoring average of 4.794.

* Last season, Sandals Emerald Bay Golf Course ranked as the 12th hardest course on the Korn Ferry Tour. This year’s cumulative scoring average is on pace to be the highest since the 2017 season.

* This week’s purse is $600,000 with $108,000 going to the winner. The champion will also receive 500 Korn Ferry Tour points.