August 29, 2013, Peterborough, ON (ISN) – Santiago, Chile’s Hugo Leon and Laurel, Maryland’s Kyle Stough shot a pair of 8-under 63s Thursday at Wildfire Golf Club to share the lead after the first round of The Wildfire Invitational presented by PC Financial.
Leon, the winner last week at The Great Waterway Classic, carded seven birdies, an eagle and a bogey on the day, while Stough went bogey free, shooting a 5-under par 30 on the front.
“I played great today again I hit tons of quality shots,” said Leon, who credited his caddie, former PGA TOUR Canada player Dale Vallely, for his success. “Dale is starting to feel the way I play and gave me a lot of confidence. I give him a lot of credit for what we got going right now and hope it continues for the next couple of weeks.”
Leon currently sits fourth on the Order of Merit, in position to earn one of The Five Web.com Tour cards available at season’s end. Stough, meanwhile, said a string of early birdies fueled a mistake-free round that saw him cruise to the finish with eight birdies on the day.
“When I get days like this going, and they don’t happen very often, I’m standing on every tee box thinking birdie. Every hole seems like a birdie hole when you’re playing like I did today and I’m sure Hugo felt the same way,” said Stough, whose 63 was a career-best in his two seasons on PGA TOUR Canada.
“I kind of got a string going on the front where I just started stuffing it,” said Stough. “You rattle off four in a row and you get pretty far under par pretty fast.”
One shot behind Leon and Stough at 7-under par 64 were Eugene Wong, who had the best round of the morning wave, and Albin Choi, who holed his approach from 97 yards on the 18th hole.
“I was third or fourth off today so I knew the greens would be perfect out there,” said Wong, who credited a hot putter for his success. “My putter kept it going. I was hitting a lot of shots close and I gave myself good looks, and I knew if I hit my line it would go in.”
A shot further behind were Dundas, Ontario’s Mackenzie Hughes and Victoria, British Columbia’s Cory Renfrew at 6-under par 65.
Hughes making the most of time on PGA TOUR Canada
After missing out on exempt status at PGA TOUR Canada Qualifying School by a shot, Mackenzie Hughes started the season with no status on PGA TOUR Canada. But after a handful of timely top-10s while playing on sponsor’s exemptions at The Players Cup and The Great Waterway Classic, the 22-year old finds himself not only in the field but in the hunt at The Wildfire Invitational presented by PC Financial.
“I feel like I’ve earned my status to play in this event, but at the same time I know I’m not a member, so I know that each time I get to tee it up it’s a huge opportunity for me,” said Hughes, who carded a 6-under par 65 in round one “I try and treat each week like it’s a major because I’m not guaranteed to play the next week.”
Thanks to a T-3 finish in Winnipeg and a T-10 finish last week in Morrisburg, the 2011 and 2012 Canadian Amateur champion is 25th on the Order of Merit with three events to go, within a win of The Five Web.com Tour cards available for 2014.
“If I could have a few good weeks you never know. I know at this point in the season a win would be huge with not many events left,” said Hughes. “It’s a tough TOUR and you have to go low in a lot of these tournaments so I’m learning more and more each week
Redmond/Tyler lead amateur competition
The team of Nathan Tyler and Shawn Redmond led the pro-am portion of the competition after round one with an 11-under 60. Tyler shot a 2-under 69 on his own ball. Click here for pro-am scoring.
– Weather: Sunny, 27 degrees Celsius, wind 12 km/h
– Stough’s round of 63, Wong’s round of 64, Hughes’ round of 65 and Choi’s round of were all career bests on PGA TOUR Canada
– Leon is looking to become the first multiple winner and back-to-back winner on PGA TOUR Canada. There has been a back-to-back winner on TOUR ever year since 2006
– 69 of 128 players broke par in round one
– Leon and Stough’s 63s tied the lowest opening round on PGA TOUR Canada this season, matching Danny Sahl at the Dakota Dunes Open pres. by SaskTel