Stephan Jaeger made a run at achieving golf's magic number for the second time Friday at the Visit Knoxville Open, and while the former Baylor School and University of Tennessee at Chattanooga star came up short in that regard, he headed to the weekend atop the leaderboard and halfway to a third victory this season on the Korn Ferry Tour.
If he can hit that target, his imminent return to the PGA Tour will be expedited by several months.
Jaeger shot an 8-under-par 62 in the second round at Holston Hills Country Club and was at 14-under 126, one stroke ahead of Kyle Reifers, who followed an opening 63 with a 64. First-round leader Greyson Sigg (68) was third at 11 under.
Sigg's opening 61 and two days' worth of scorecards showed a course worth attacking, and Jaeger made the most of it Friday. The 31-year-old Chattanooga resident from Germany started on No. 10 and made the turn at 3 under, then really got going with three straight birdies, a par and two more birdies to reach 8 under for the round through 15 holes.
He was in need of birdies on the par-4 seventh, par-3 eighth and par-4 ninth for a 59, considered golf's magic number, although Jaeger already did that one better when he shot the lowest round in the developmental tour's history with a 12-under 58 to open the Ellie Mae Classic in July 2016. On Friday, Jaeger's hot run ended with a bogey on his 16th hole, although he came back to birdie the next one before closing with a par.
The Korn Ferry Tour's Twitter account posted this comment from Jaeger on Friday evening: "If I complained about putts dropping, then I would be an idiot. I made my share today. It is part of golf. You're never going to have the perfect round."
Jaeger's six career wins are tied for second in Korn Ferry Tour history, and a seventh would match Jason Gore's record set from 2000 to 2010. If it comes in Knoxville, it will include the enhancement of what's often referred to as a battlefield promotion of immediate eligibility for the PGA Tour due to it being his third win in a single season.
It would also be his second Knoxville Open title, with the first coming in May 2018, when he was a rookie on the PGA Tour but not in the field for The Players Championship that same week.
Jaeger is first in the Korn Ferry Tour's regular-season points list and on his way back to golf's top circuit for 2021-22, but a first-place finish this weekend would make it happen even sooner.
Compiled by Marty Kirkland. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.