Brian Decker – PGA Tour Canada
August 8, 2013, Calgary, AB (ISN) – Joe Panzeri of Meridian, Idaho shot a course record 64 at Country Hills Golf Club Wednesday to share the 36-hole lead at the ATB Financial Classic presented by TELUS with Hilton Head Island, South Carolina’s Chris Epperson. Epperson shot his second straight 66, with both players sitting at 12-under par through 36 holes.
Panzeri’s 64 broke the Country Hills Talons Course record set just hours earlier by Kingston, Ontario’s Brad Boyle, and came on a day when birdies came in truckloads as 67 players broke 70 and 100 players broke par.
“It’s fun when you’re relaxed out on the golf course with a good group and just enjoying it,” said Panzeri. “I wasn’t thinking about my round too much, and that makes it a little easier. I didn’t put too much pressure on myself and I stayed relaxed out there.”
Panzeri’s round brings back memories of last year’s ATB Financial Classic presented by TELUS, where he also shot a course record 62 in the second round at Windermere Golf Club in Edmonton. With four made cuts but no top-10s this season, the 27-year old said a new mental approach freed him up for a good start this week.
“I’ve been working hard on my mental game, not putting so much pressure on myself and just playing golf,” said Panzeri. “For a while there I was really expecting a lot, which is fine, but at the same time you have to enjoy it. I’m looking forward to the opportunity to be in the mix again this week.”
Epperson, meanwhile, carded his second straight 66 and said he was just trying to keep the momentum going from Tuesday’s first round.
“I literally just tried to do everything that I did yesterday,” said the 30-year old. “Hopefully I can keep doing the same thing tomorrow.”
Two shots back of the lead were Abbotsford, British Columbia’s Nick Taylor and Denver, Colorado’s Mark Hubbard, who shot rounds of 66 and 67, respectively, to post 10-under par. A group of nine players including Michael Gligic, Wil Collins, Max Scodro and Kevin Tucker were at 9-under, with another seven including Calgary’s Ryan Yip at 8-under.
Taylor looking to make up for missed chances
With a few close calls but no wins to start his season, Nick Taylor put himself in position Wednesday to capture an elusive first PGA TOUR Canada win that has escaped him so far in 2013.
“I’ve put myself in position to win a lot after a couple of days and after the third round, and I haven’t got the win yet,” said Taylor, whose finishes of T-4, T-2 and T-6 to start the season have him at no. 5 on the Order of Merit. “I’ve put myself in good position after the first couple of days and just hope to keep doing what I’m doing.”
Taylor has had a breakout year as a pro in 2013, winning five times on the Vancouver Golf Tour and posting a career best tie for second at the Dakota Dunes Open presented by SaskTel.
Gligic gets in the hunt
After capturing his first PGA TOUR Canada win at the 2012 ATB Financial Classic presented by TELUS, Michael Gligic put himself squarely back in the hunt for a repeat victory, carding a 66 to reach 9-under par total. With a year’s experience under his belt, the 23-year old said he’s more prepared to face the pressure of being in the hunt this time around.
“I’ll probably be a lot less nervous. I was pretty shaky down the stretch last year, but I feel like I’ve been there before now,” said Gligic, who finished second on the Order of Merit last year with three top-10s.
– Weather: Partly cloudy giving way to light showers in the evening, 20 degrees Celsius, wind 14 km/h
– The cut came at 3-under par, representing the second lowest cut of the season, with 59 players making the cut
– Six players have made the cut in all five PGA TOUR Canada events so far: Tyler Aldridge, Brock Mackenzie, Brady Schnell, Michael Gligic, Joe Panzeri and Nick Taylor
– Players will go off both tees in threesomes for Thursday’s third round, with tee times beginning at 7:30 AM and the final threesome of Epperson, Panzeri and Tayler going off at 9:09 AM
– The par-4 11th hole has ranked as the toughest hole through two rounds, averaging 4.23 strokes, while the par-5 7th ranked as the easiest, averaging 4.58 and yielding 141 birdies and 17 eagles
– Aaron Dexheimer leads the field in driving distance through two rounds, averaging 353.25 yards per drive. Max Scodro has the longest drive of the week at 404 yards on the 10th hole Tuesday