Taylor Moore, Kevin Lucas lead a congested leaderboard at the Wichita Open Benefitting KU Wichita Pediatrics

WICHITA, Kan. – Two players at opposite ends of the Korn Ferry Tour spectrum share the 18-hole lead at the Wichita Open Benefitting KU Wichita Pediatrics. Kevin Lucas and Taylor Moore carded matching 7-under 63s and lead a group of nine players at 6-under par by a single stroke.

Moore turned to the front nine at 3-under par and reached 7-under par with back-to-back eagles at the par-5 second and par-4 third. The San Angelo, Texas native went driver-7-iron into No. 2, then drove the 343-yard third and canned a 40-footer. Moore’s round Thursday morning was his 297th on the Korn Ferry Tour, and it marked the first time he made multiple eagles. It also marked the ninth time during the 2020-21 season a player made back-to-back eagles.

“I don’t know if I’ve done that ever,” Moore said. “That was pretty fun. Birdied the next hole and fed off those two eagles.”

Moore bogeyed the par-4 sixth, which played as the toughest hole of the day, and settled for the seventh 63 of his 91-start career on the Korn Ferry Tour, with the most recent 63 coming at the Veritex Bank Championship this past April.

Not much else has gone wrong for Moore as of late. Prior to last week’s missed cut at the BMW Charity Pro-Am presented by SYNNEX Corporation, Moore had a streak of nine consecutive top-25 finishes which dated back to March.

“Once I missed the cut last week, I just put it behind me and got ready for this week,” said Moore, a University of Arkansas alum. “Didn’t really think too much into it. Just had an off week on the greens. I’ve been in a good space mentally, hitting a lot of good golf shots, doing a lot of good things.

“I think I’ve grown up a lot since I first turned pro and have been on this tour – on and off the golf course. I think it keeps me even-keeled. I’m in an emotionally good spot as well. I’m able to take a step back and make really good decisions when it’s going well, or if I’m in a spot that is a little bit tricky. That’s big for me.”

Moore’s recent run of outstanding play took him to 20th in the 2020-21 Korn Ferry Tour points standings, while Lucas has struggled to get anything going after a season-opening T6 at the 2020 Country Club de Bogota Championship last February. Lucas made the cut in just three of his next 20 starts and plummeted to 156th in the points standings.

Despite the funk Lucas found himself in, the 32-year-old Californian did not let it snowball from a mental perspective. A revelation last week also provided a new approach for the rest of his season.

“Every week is a new week. I’m not holding onto anything,” Lucas said. “It’s good to say over the media, but it’s not inside me. If I just keep working hard and playing the game I know how to play, I’m going to come out of it. I don’t know if this will be it this week, but there is no reason I can’t win this week. I’ve won plenty of golf tournaments in my life, and it has nothing to do with what I did last week, or the week before that.

“I talked to my step-dad (last week), too, and we were talking about athletic flow. As soon as you start thinking about something, you’re losing that looseness you might have naturally. I went out on the range the next morning before I teed off, didn’t have a single swing thought, and I couldn’t have hit the center of the face any better. That was a big realization to me. Get the heck out of your way, let’s go play some golf.

“I don’t fear anything in this world. There’s no reason for me to fear not keeping my card, or not getting to the PGA TOUR. That just frees me up to play the game I know how to play.”

Lucas carded one of Thursday’s four bogey-free rounds, with the majority of his seven birdies coming from dialed-in approaches. Among those were a 4-footer for birdie at the par-4 10th, a tap-in birdie at the par-3 12th, a two-putt birdie at the par-5 14th, and a 6-footer for birdie at the par-4 16th.

Lucas’ 63 tied the second-lowest score of his career and earned him a share of the lead for the first time at any point in his 50 starts on the Korn Ferry Tour. This is the third time Moore holds a share of the 18-hole lead, with the previous two coming at the 2018 BMW Charity Pro-Am presented by SYNNEX Corporation and the 2019 Wichita Open Benefitting KU Wichita Pediatrics.

Second-round tee times will run from 6:55 a.m. through 2:21 p.m. local time off the first and 10th tees.

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