July 18, 2013, Winnipeg, MB (ISN) – Two players looking to turn around sluggish starts to their seasons did so in a big way Thursday, as Baddeck, Nova Scotia’s Peter Campbell and Elgin, Illinois’ Carlos Sainz, Jr. fired a pair of 7-under par 65s to lead after round one of The Players Cup.
Campbell birdied five straight holes on his back nine, while Sainz, Jr. made seven birdies and zero bogeys to sit at 7-under, one shot ahead of South Africa’s Doug McGuigan and two clear of a group of five players at 5-under par 67.
First round Leaderboard – The Players Cup
(Bold denotes Canadian)
T-1. Peter Campbell – 65 (-7)
T-1. Carlos Sainz, Jr.– 66 (-7)
3. Doug McGuigan – 66 (-6)
T-4. 5 Players at 67 (-5)
“Today, all the putts dropped, and that’s what yields good scores,” said Sainz, Jr. “It felt really good to give myself some opportunities and capitalize for a good round today.”
“I had some good momentum coming into today,” said Campbell. “I played really well the last round in Fort McMurray (at the Syncrude Boreal Open presented by AECON) and that continued today. I got it rolling a little bit on the back and it added up to a 65.”
Both players in the lead have struggled so far on PGA TOUR Canada’s inaugural season. Each made their first cuts in three tries this year in Fort McMurray last week, with Sainz, Jr. finishing tied for 25th and Campbell finishing tied for 44th.
“It’s been a little frustrating coming out of the gate,” said Sainz, Jr., whose best finish on PGA TOUR Canada is a tie for fourth at the 2012 TOUR Championship. “I haven’t been playing as well as I feel like I should be.”
Campbell, the only PGA TOUR Canada player from Nova Scotia, said a mostly solid final round last week – he was 6-under until a triple bogey on the 17th on Sunday – gave him confidence heading into this week.
“I started off a little rough this year, but playing well last week really gave me some momentum coming into today,” said Campbell, whose 65 was his lowest career round on PGA TOUR Canada.
South Africa’s Doug McGuigan briefly joined the party at 7-under, but bogeyed the difficult par-3 ninth to finish alone in third at 6-under 66.
Collins keeps rolling with eyes on RBC Canadian Open
2013 Dakota Dunes Open presented by SaskTel champion Wil Collins continued his solid play Thursday, firing a 5-under 67 to sit tied for fourth. With the top three players on the Order of Merit after The Players Cup gaining entry into the RBC Canadian Open, the solid start came at a perfect time for Collins, currently second in the season-long earnings race.
“All I can do is control what I’m doing. I just want to go out this week and play fearless golf,” said Collins, whose win two weeks ago in Saskatoon was his first on PGA TOUR Canada. “Having that win boosts your confidence, and it makes things a bit easier to try and loosen up and play some confident golf.”
Order of Merit leader Riley Wheeldon opened with a 3-under par 67 to sit tied for 21st, while money list no. 3 Stephen Gangluff was tied for 43rd after a 1-under par 71.
Wong takes unlucky 18th hole in stride
Eugene Wong is most famous for his 72nd hole eagle from the fairway to win the 2012 TOUR Championship. On Thursday, he was close to repeating the feat, but wound up with a much different result.
Wong’s approach from 182 yards on 18 bounced once and nailed the flagstick, but bounded 30 feet backwards to the front of the green. Then, his birdie putt found the hole but harshly lipped out 180 degrees, giving him just a par on the scorecard. Still, the result didn’t bother Wong, who opened with a 5-under par 67.
“18 is a hard hole. I’ll take par there any day of the week,” said the 22-year old, who made his professional debut at The Players Cup last year and will play the RBC Canadian Open next week on the PGA TOUR.
– For the first time on PGA TOUR Canada, driving distance stats are being kept. Drives will be measured on the second and 11th holes, with averages becoming available at week’s end. Tyler Weworski (hole 11) and Chris DeForest (hole two) had the longest drives of the day at 340 yards
– Weather: Overcast, 23 degrees Celsius, winds 5 km/h
– 68 players shot under par Friday, while 85 were at even par or better
– 20 players were within three shots of the lead at 4-under par or better
– Defending champion Chris Killmer opene with a 1-under 71 and was tied for 43rd
– Max Gilbert of St. George’s, Manitoba led a list of locals at 3-under par 69, while 1996 The Players Cup champion Rob McMillian of Winnipeg opened with an even par 72