Brian Decker – PGA Tour Canada
August 31, 2013, Peterborough, ON (ISN) – San Jose, California’s Mark Hubbard shot a 6-under par 65 at Wildfire Golf Club on Saturday to take a one shot lead heading into the final round of The Wildfire Invitational presented by PC Financial.
Third round Leaderboard – The Wildfire Invitational presented by PC Financial
(Bold denotes Canadian)
1. Mark Hubbard – 65 (-15)
2. Mackenzie Hughes – 68 (-14)
T-3. David Skinns – 66 (-13)
T-3. Nick Taylor – 67 (-13)
T-3. Cory Renfrew – 68 (-13)
T-3. Hugo Leon – 72 (-13)
T-3. Kyle Stough – 69 (-13)
Hubbard made seven birdies and one bogey to post 15-under par, then watched as several other contenders struggled to the finish, finding himself alone in the lead by one over Dundas, Ontario’s Mackenzie Hughes through 54 holes. The 24-year old has his first lead after any round on PGA TOUR Canada, just days after a bout with an illness nearly derailed his entire tournament.
“I got food poisoning on Wednesday afternoon and threw up pretty much from about 4 o’clock on Wednesday until about noon on Thursday,” said Hubbard, who somehow managed a 3-under par 68 in round one despite the illness. “I threw up at the turn in my first round, and I’ve putted really well since and that’s pretty much been it.”
No stranger to the winner’s circle in his competitive career – Hubbard has several wins on the Golden State Tour and All-American Gateway Tour, including a win that earned him an exemption into the Reno-Tahoe Open on the PGA TOUR – Hubbard will look for his first win on PGA TOUR Canada in Sunday’s final round.
“I’ve gotten a ton of wins on the past two years, just not out here,” said Hubbard, who has seven top-15 finishes in his first two years on Tour including a tie for 10th last week at The Great Waterway Classic. “I’ve been playing really solid and just waiting to break through up here. I’ve shot a bunch of 68s, just not enough 65s like the past two days.”
As for any lingering effects from his food poisoning earlier in the week?
“After I finished the first round I started to feel good. I ate a cheeseburger, went kayaking and I’ve felt good ever since,” said Hubbard.
One shot behind Hubbard was Hughes, who played mistake-free golf until a bogey at the 18th hole dropped him to 14-under, while a group of five players – Nick Taylor, Cory Renfrew, David Skinns, Hugo Leon and Kyle Stough, all who had wildly differing results at the final hole – were two shots further behind at 13-under par.
Hubbard and Hughes will tee off in Sunday’s final group at 1:00 PM, each looking for a win that would move them inside the top five on the Order of Merit.
Hughes looking to make up for 18th hole misstep
Playing what he called “flawless golf” for 17 holes, Mackenzie Hughes found himself with just a 5-iron left for his second shot at the par-5 18th hole on Saturday afternoon. However, after pulling his approach into a greenside bunker and taking four shots to get down from there, Hughes was left wondering what could have been, ending the day at 14-under and in second place. Still, with another chance to win the tournament tomorrow, the 2011 and 2012 Canadian Amateur champion says he’s got his eyes on Sunday’s final round.
“Once another half an hour passes and I forget about the bogey I’ll be fine,” said the 22-year old, who began the season with no status but played his way into this week’s tournament by posting two top-10 finishes while playing on sponsor’s exemptions. “I’ll be in a good spot for tomorrow so I’ll just try and do more of the same of what I did today. I played pretty flawless golf until 18 on the second shot there.”
Wild finish sees leaderboard shakeup to end round three
Saturday’s contenders at The Wildfire Invitational presented by PC Financial saw a wide range of results at the par-5 finishing hole, with everything from an eagle to a double bogey in the last four groups. David Skinns, who said he had a mudball after his drive, nonetheless went for the green and hit his second shot to six feet to make eagle, while Hubbard, playing in the same pairing, rolled in a 10-footer for birdie to take the 54-hole lead.
Some other contenders weren’t so lucky.
Nick Taylor, bogey-free and 5-under par for his round to that point, found the greenside pond with his second and made bogey, while 54-hole leader Hugo Leon found the hazard with his third shot, then three-putted from the back of the green to make double bogey. The net result was a tightly-bunched leaderboard, with seven players within two shots of the lead heading into the final round.
– Weather: Partly cloudy, 24 degrees Celsius, wind 10 km/h
– Chris Epperson, who sits alone in ninth at 11-under par, and Taylor are tied for the TOUR lead in top-10s this season at four each
– With four of The Five missing the cut, each player currently inside the top-10 with the exception of T.J. Vogel (T-10) could potentially move into the top five on the Order of Merit with a win Sunday
– Tony Finau had the longest drive of the day Saturday with a 333-yard blast at the eighth hole
– Yohann Benson moved up 35 spots from T-48 to T-13 with a 6-under par 65, matching Hubbard for the best round of the day