Canadian Derek Gillespie Takes Over Lead at Times Colonist Island Savings Open

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Canadian Tour golf

26 Canadians Make Cut with Five in Top 10

Victoria, BC (ISN) – Derek Gillespie of Oshawa, ON, a two-time Canadian Tour winner, has the outright lead at seven-under par after two rounds at the Times Colonist Island Savings Open.

Gillespie, who suffered a broken femur, a punctured lung and five broken ribs in a car accident last April, hasn’t been in contention to win a Canadian Tour event since the ATB Financial Classic in 2009.

“It feels great to be back in contention to win and really shows how much I’ve dedicated to working on my game both physically and mentally,” commented Gillespie following his 4-under par 66. “

The 33-year old Gillespie made headlines last month when Jason Logan of SCOREGolf Magazine wrote a feature story about the once highly touted product of the University of Arizona. Since his car accident Gillespie has rededicated himself to his game with a renewed focus that he hopes will get him to the PGA TOUR at last.

“When the doctor told me last year that I would eventually be okay my main focus was getting back to playing golf,” recalled Gillespie, who spent his recovery time with his parents and family in Oshawa, Ont. “In the past I thought I put 100% into my game but I know now that I was lacking a little in the mental department and I think I’ve addressed that with my mental coach Doug Smith,” admitted the former Big Break winner.

One shot behind Gillespie are Lucas Lee of Brazil and first round leader Andrew Roque of Monterey Park, CA. Lee posted 1-under par 69 while Roque shot an even par 70 to go along with his opening round 6-under 64.

Roque, who earned medalist honours at the California Q-School in May, is playing his first Canadian Tour event. Should Roque pull out a victory at the Times Colonist Island Savings Open he will join fellow Californian and PGA TOUR member Spencer Levin as the only Q-School medalists to win in Victoria.

Lee, on the other hand, is embarking on his fourth campaign on the Canadian Tour and has yet to break into the winners circle. The 24-year old Torrance, CA resident has finished in second place three times since 2008.

Victoria’s Cory Renfrew, a Canadian Tour rookie, is right in the mix following his third round 3-under 67. Renfrew is two shots off the pace at 5-under par and will play in the penultimate group along side Roque.

“I’m excited about my chances this week,” said Renfrew, who was followed by a large gallery. “It’s great to be playing at home and the support I’m getting whether I hit a good or bad shot has been tremendous, and I’m really feeding off it,” added Renfrew who is playing in his first professionally sanction International Federation of PGA TOURs event.

Joining Renfrew from the local contingency is former Canadian Tour member Gordy Scutt. The Victoria native posted a second round 2-under 68 to go along with his first round 3-under 67. The teaching professional at Olympic View Golf Club is just two shots off the lead in his hometown at 5-under par.

Other notable scores from round two in Victoria included a 2-under 68 from Canadian Tour rookie Paul Peterson. Peterson earned his Canadian Tour card last month at the California Q-School where he finished in a tie for 20th to earn exempt status. Matt Marshall of Scottsdale, AZ sits alone in sixth spit after a second round 1-under 69 for a two day total of 4-under par. Canadians Nick Taylor, Kent Fukushima and Oliver Tubb are all tied for eighth at 3-under par.

A total of 68 players made the cut in Victoria including 25 Canadians. The first tee time is 8:03 with Steele DeWald going out as a single. The final group goes off at 1pm PST. 

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