LOUISVILLE — When you're from the basketball hotbed of Clay County and your name is “Trey,” it's assumed you're adept at putting the ball in the hole.
That's certainly true about Trey Bowling, but he does it with golf clubs, not a jump shot, as he's proving in the 89th Kentucky Open.
Bowling, a senior at Eastern Kentucky University, fired a 6-under par 66 at Audubon Country Club on Wednesday, following a 69 on Tuesday.
That gave him a share of the lead at 9-under with Troy Hawkins (68-67) going into Thursday's final round.
Cory Kaufman (66-71), Robby Shaw (68-69) and Justin Thomas (67-70) are next on the leader board, followed by former PGA Tour player Ted Schulz (71-67).
Bowling has a basketball background, having played for Clay County for five years.
“I fed the post and shot the three,” he said.
But golf was his true love.
He finished ninth in the state golf tournament as a junior and fifth as a senior. He was runner-up to Matt Savage of St. Xavier in the Mr. Golf points race.
Bowling is one of the pace-setters in this Kentucky Open after a stellar second round.
“Probably the best ball-striking day as far as 18 consecutive holes that I've ever had,” he said. “It seemed I had 15 feet for birdie on every hole, and I took advantage of most.
“One bogey, seven birdies — you can't ask for much more than that.”
Hawkins, an Elizabethtown native who graduated from Western Kentucky last year, has had a mostly trouble-free tournament.
“I've hit a lot of fairways and greens and had a few putts roll in. No headaches. I haven't had to work real hard,” said Hawkins, who was a top-10 finisher in the 2006 Kentucky Open.
Kaufman, a mini-tour veteran, kept himself in contention with a 1-under 71 after a sizzling 66 on Tuesday. He figures he'll need to go as low as 65 on Thursday to win.
Shaw, 24, has been steady, and the former WKU golfer has experience on his side. He was runner-up in this event in 2006.
Thomas, 15, is playing in the Open for the first time.
The St. Xavier sophomore is something of a phenom.
Even though he weighs only 125 pounds — “I swing as hard as I can and hope it goes in the right direction,” he said with a laugh — he has a complete game, including confidence.
“This is just another golf tournament,” he said. “I've played in tournaments with fields just as good. I shouldn't look at it any different just because pros are in it.
“I come into every tournament expecting to win, so obviously, I came in here looking for the ‘W.' ”
So did Schulz, who was on the PGA Tour in the late 1980s and early '90s and won the 1991 Los Angeles Open.
Now 48, he's getting back into competitive golf in anticipation of joining the Champions Tour in 2010.
He had his game in gear on Wednesday, rolling in six birdies with nary a hiccup until he bogeyed the last hole.
But he likes his position going into the final round.
“Three back, that's not too bad,” he said. “I would've taken that getting up this morning.”
Former UK golfer Andrew Stephens had the best finish with an eagle, five birdies, two pars and a bogey on the back nine for a 36-30—66, which left him five shots out of the lead.
Defending champ Phil Hendrickson (71-69) is also five shots out. Seventy-seven golfers made the cut, which was at 148, 4-over par.
Kentucky Open scores
6,720-yard, par-72 Audubon C.C.
Trey Bowling, Manchester 69-66—135
Troy Hawkins, Elizabethtown 68-67—135
Cory Kaufman, Louisville 66-71—137
Justin Thomas, Goshen 67-70—137
Robby Shaw, Louisville 68-69—137
Ted Schulz, Louisville 71-67—138
Alex Volpenhein, Edgewood 71-69—140
Andrew Stephens, Union 74-66—140
Cameron Carrico, Owensboro 72-68—140
Kent Bulle, Glasgow 70-70—140
Philip Hendrickson, Danville 71-69—140
Austin Meyer, Louisville 70-71—141
Ben Fuqua, Danville 70-71—141
Justin Moore, Somerset 72-69—141
Brandon Berry, Lagrange 75-67—142
Cale Barr, Versailles 70-72—142
Chad Stocker, Louisville 70-72—142
Clay Ballard, Winchester 70-72—142
143 — Brian Fister, Lexington, 70-73; Eddie Mudd, Louisville, 72-71; Grover Justice, Lexington, 78-65; Nathan White, Manchester, 71-72; Steven Clark, Lexington, 74-69; Taylor Wisniewski, Nicholasville, 70-73; Willis Ring, Whitesburg, 73-70
144 — Bryan Conway, Frankfort, 71-73; Charlie Cornette, Greenville, 74-70; John Bachman, Louisville, 73-71; Jordan Blann, Bowling Green, 71-73; Keith Ohr, Louisville, 74-70; Kelly Maxwell, Louisville, 68-76; Lee Chaney, Morehead, 73-71; Ryan Britt, Louisville, 72-72; Shaun McConnell, Richmond, 72-72; Tyler Wilson, Lexington, 74-70; Zachary Wilson, Russell Springs, 70-74
145 — Brett Munson, Louisville, 74-71; Buddy Bryant, Lexington, 70-75; Chris Morris, Maysville, 72-73; Dan DePasquale, Louisville, 73-72; Hunter Ford, Paducah, 73-72; Joseph Barr, Versailles, 71-74; Karsten Clements, Prospect, 71-74; Russ Johnson, Lagrange, 72-73; Steven Conley, Georgetown, 73-72; Thomas Reddick, Bardstown, 72-73; Logan Edelen, Bardstown, 74-71;
146 — Andrew Heiser, London, 72-74; Andy Roberts, Owensboro, 72-74; Daryl Fathauer, Louisville, 73-73; Dave Snyder, Somerset, 74-72; Jared Wolfe, Louisville, 73-73; Jerry Price, Louisville, 74-72; Kyle Ramey, Paducah, 74-72; Marshall Butler, Louisville, 73-73; Nick Johnston, Louisville, 76-70; Phillip Blythe, Louisville, 75-71
147 — Bradley Ruch, Louisville, 74-73; Bruce Oldendick, Pikeville, 72-75; Daniel Kmetz, Louisville, 73-74; Davis Boland, Louisville, 72-75; Joshua Rhodes, Paducah, 72-75; Kevin Main, Borden, IN 73-74; Kyle Litter, Morehead, 73-74; Mitchell Moore, Hopkinsville, 75-72; Nicholas Sweeney, Louisville, 74-73; Patrick Vadden, Louisville, 71-76; Terrance Hyland, Louisville, 75-72
148 — Aaron McDowell, Lexington, 75-73; Casey Combs, Louisville, 74-74; Erik Davis, Smithfield, 74-74; James Maxam, Winchester, 79-69; Michael Woodson, Louisville, 73-75; Shawn Tipton, Clay City, 72-76; Ted Beckmann, Crestwood, 75-73; Tom Campbell, Danville, 72-76; Tyler Sharpe, Greensburg, 70-78e_SClBFailed to qualify
149 — Cory Cox, Hodgenville, 76-73; Gary Bebelaar, Louisville, 72-77; Jason Stilley, Paducah, 74-75; John-Gordon Beckett, Nicholasville, 78-71; Kyle Leach, Louisville, 74-75; Matt Bowlin, Union, 70-79; Matthew Martin, Winchester, 73-76; Robert Crockett, Louisville, 71-78; Ryan McCann, Crestwood, 75-74; Thomas Scheuerman, Prospect, 78-71
150 — Charles Schaffer, Lexington, 74-76; Jesse Massie, Louisville, 75-75; John Rogers, Somerset, 75-75; Jonathan Scalf, Georgetown, 74-76; Kirk Schooley, Frankfort, 71-79
151 — Adam Gary, Bowling Green, 77-74; Danny Bishop, Lexington, 75-76; Eric King, Ferguson, 76-75; Mark Krahe, Jr, Burlington, 76-75; Matt Hermann, Goshen, 77-74; Paul McDougal, Bowling Green, 74-77
152 — Billy Lewis, Louisville, 80-72; Brian Zoeller, Louisville, 78-74; Cliff Wilson, Louisville, 73-79; Corey Welch, Richmond, 77-75; Daniel Beckovich, Louisville, 78-74; Greg Basham, Louisville, 75-77; Greg Meadors, Lexington, 77-75; Jeff Bradow, Louisville, 75-77; Jeff Howerton, Madisonville, 78-74; Joe Reverman, Louisville, 75-77; Jonathan Shaw, Tompkinsville, 77-75; Matt Gann, Pineville, 78-74; Ralph Landrum, Crestview Hills, 77-75; Vince Hamilton, Louisville, 76-76
153 — Austin Hansford, Taylor Mill, 74-79; Erich Moberly, Somerset, 76-77
154 — Allan Fugate, Louisville, 75-79; Barry Bonifield, Louisville, 78-76; Carmello Benassi, Frankfort, 78-76; Fred Stebbins, Prospect, 75-79; Ron Frisch, Louisville, 77-77; William Ranson, London, 75-79
155 — Chad Burnett, Lexington, 80-75; Jack Conway, Louisville, 76-79; Jerryal Ingram, Louisville, 80-75; Joe Cantrell, Louisville, 77-78; Jonathan Hollan, Bonnyman, 77-78; Kelly Williams, Lexington, 77-78; Seth Blann, Bowling Green, 79-76; Steve Shafer, Louisville, 84-71; Will Beard, Bowling Green, 79-76
156 — Josh Crutcher, Richmond, 79-77; Terry Jolly, Alexandria, 79-77; Grant Price, Paducah, 76-80
157 — Josh Earnest, Lawrenceburg, 77-80; Steve Cox, Hodgenville, 75-82
158 — Andrew Flynn, Elizabethtown, 78-80; Brooks Herrick, Louisville, 79-79; Scott Huff, Lexington, 81-77; Zach Schrodt, Louisville, 81-77
159 — Brandon Young, Elizabethtown, 79-80; Clyde Hill, Fort Knox, 81-78; Eric Collins, Lexington, 79-80; Eric Gilliland, Louisville, 80-79; Rodney Chancey, Elizabethtown, 77-82
160 — Chris Osborne, Bardstown, 81-79; Michael Janok, Louisville, 79-81; Moe Demling, Louisville, 80-80; Rick Burrice, Louisville, 80-80
161 — Dennis Thompson, Louisville, 82-79—161
163 — Matt Love, Lexington, 81-82—163
164 — Kevin Heitz, Louisville, 87-77—164; Robert Blakely III, Louisville, 81-83—164
165 — Chester Musselman, Louisville, 84-81—165
168 — Adam Herald, Richmond, 83-85—168
169 — Thomas Allen, Louisville, 87-82—169
WD — Ken Postlewait, Louisville, 78-WD; Andrew Lardner, Louisville, 83-NC