Matching a career-low round of 10-under 61 in Saturday’s third round, one stroke off the Thornblade Club’s course record, two-time Korn Ferry Tour winner Robby Shelton built a five-stroke lead at the BMW Charity Pro-Am presented by TD SYNNEX. Shelton reached 22-under par, has yet to make a bogey through 54 holes, and his 20 birdies are tied for the most in the field this week.
The five-stroke lead through 54 holes is the second of the season, as Harrison Endycott carried a five-stroke lead into the final round of the Huntsville Championship and eventually won. It was the largest 54-hole lead since the 2019 Dormie Network Classic at Briggs Ranch.
The only player with as many birdies as Shelton this week is Ben Griffin, who, along with Augusto Núñez, is tied for second at 17-under par.
Shelton, who hails from Wilmer, Alabama, played his first six holes at 5-under par, making birdies on everywhere but the par-3 fourth. After a birdie at the par-3 ninth, Shelton made three pars and rattled off three consecutive birdies at Nos. 13-15. A birdie at the par-3 17th set up a bid to tie the course record on the par-4 18, but Shelton’s birdie run on the final hole lipped out.
“I got off to a hot start, birdied the first three and really just never looked back,” Shelton said. “I kept firing at pins and being smart, but going at pins when I needed to, when I knew I could. I was making the putts as well. Just played smart and had a couple tap‑ins here and there, made a few putts and it was a fun round.”
Making his 64th career start on the Korn Ferry Tour, Shelton holds the fifth 54-hole lead or co-lead of his career. Shelton successfully converted two of his previous 54-hole leads into victories in the state of Tennessee across a three-week stretch in 2019, winning the Simmons Bank Open for the Snedeker Foundation and Visit Knoxville Open.
“My first win out here I had a four‑shot lead (at the Simmons Bank Open for the Snedeker Foundation) in Nashville going into the final round and bogeyed my first four holes, so lost the lead quick,” said Shelton, who eventually defeated Scottie Scheffler to win the event. “Hopefully, this week will be a lot different. Winning in Knoxville as well, I can always look back and draw upon that.”
Shelton, who turned professional in 2016 following his junior season at University of Alabama, has 70 starts on the PGA TOUR.
Shelton burst onto the scene when he finished T3 as an amateur at the 2015 Barbasol Championship, which, at the time, was the highest finish by an amateur in a PGA TOUR event since the 1991 Northern Telecom Open. Shelton had recently concluded his sophomore season at Alabama when he played the event. While at Alabama, Shelton garnered three consecutive All-America First Team honors, helped the Crimson Tide win a second consecutive national title as a freshman in 2014, when he was the National Freshman of the Year and Southeastern Conference Player of the Year, and broke a pair of Justin Thomas’ school records (career wins, seven; single-season stroke average, 70.14 in 2013-14).
Shelton played PGA TOUR Canada in 2017, won his third start, and finished No. 2 on the Order of Merit for Korn Ferry Tour membership. As a Korn Ferry Tour rookie in 2018, Shelton finished No. 51 on the regular season money list, and graduated to the PGA TOUR the following year as he finished No. 2 on the Korn Ferry Tour Regular Season Points List.
In his 56 PGA TOUR starts the last two seasons, Shelton recorded three top-10s, highlighted by a T3 at the 2020 3M Open. Shelton finished No. 66 on the 2019-20 FedExCup Standings in his rookie season on TOUR, guaranteeing another year of status. In 2020-21, Shelton only made 11 cuts in 32 starts and finished No. 167 in the FedExCup Standings, sending him back to the Korn Ferry Tour.
“I think about it a lot,” Shelton said of his time on the PGA TOUR. “You see all your buddies out there on the PGA TOUR playing well. I was there. My first year out there I played really good, made it to BMW (Championship, the second of three FedExCup playoff events). I really want to be there again. It crosses my mind a lot and hopefully I can get back there.”
In his 14 Korn Ferry Tour starts this year, Shelton has three top-25s, highlighted by a T8 at the Simmons Bank Open for the Snedeker Foundation last month.
“I haven’t won in a long time,” said Shelton. “It would be really special. It’s going to be a fun day. Even with a five‑shot lead, it will be a lot of fun.”
Final-round pairings will run from 7:40 a.m. through 1:40 p.m. local time off the first tee.