Knous, who described his play that day as his B-minus game, would go on to sign for an 86 – his first time shooting in the 80s since, well, he’s not quite sure.
“That’s the crazy thing right there is it was probably in high school, like sophomore year of high school. I can’t even remember shooting over 80 before that, you know?” Knous said, laughing. “Yeah, the scoring average was super high, but I shot 86. I was like, ‘Oh my god! Do I stink? Or was that just a weird day?’ It was just a weird day!”
Wilcox, who was a PGA TOUR member at the time making a warm-up start on the Korn Ferry Tour, lives in St. Croix and is used to playing in the island breeze. Even he wasn’t ready for what he found in that first round on his way to an 86 despite three birdies.
“It was wild. It was just out of control. I remember walking up to a cameraman and you’re just screaming at the top of your lungs to hear each other,” Wilcox said. “The fact that they televised it was wild. It was out of the ordinary. If the greens had been rolling just a little bit faster, they would have had to call it.”
It’s not often one sees a 7,001-yard golf course bring the world’s best to their knees. But the Greg Norman-designed Sandals Emerald Bay course is no ordinary track. The beautiful front nine is more inland and winds through the mangroves, while nearly the entire back nine is along the beautiful scenic coastline of Emerald Bay. The Korn Ferry Tour rules staff has since started marking the mangroves in most spots as a hazard, where players could drop. But not in 2017.
“When we were playing in those winds, out-of-bounds is staring you dead in the face on every hole. You’re like, ‘Please just let me get this tee shot in play,’” Kohles said. “Because it was blowing 40, it looks tight as hell. It’s not that tight, but it’s still tight because if you barely get a shot off that’s not center hit, that thing is slicing or hooking so far and it goes in the mangroves and you got to re-tee. It was just absolute carnage.”