Brian Decker – PGA Tour Canada
September 14, 2013, London, ON (ISN) – Defending champion Eugene Wong of North Vancouver, British Columbia shot a 6-under 66 at Sunningdale Golf and Country Club Friday to share the lead during the second round with Denver, Colorado’s Mark Hubbard at the TOUR Championship of Canada presented by Freedom 55 Financial.
The 23-year old Wong’s 66 was tied for the best round of the day, while Hubbard, the winner two weeks ago at The Wildfire Invitational presented by PC Financial, posted a 5-under 67 to share the lead heading into Saturday. Murphy was 2-under par for his first nine holes before play was suspended due to darkness at 7:21 PM.
Second round leaderboard – TOUR Championship presented by Freedom 55 Financial
(Bold denotes Canadian)
T-1. Eugene Wong – 66 (-8)
T-1. Mark Hubbard – 67 (-7)
T-1. Trevor Murphy – -2/8 (-8)
T-4. George Bradford – 70 (-6)
T-4. Andrew Parr – -3/3 (-6)
T-4. Alex Kang – -5/12 (-6)
“The putting was working today, so I was making all the key birdie putts and all the par-savers,” said Wong, who won last year’s tournament with a dramatic walk-off eagle from the fairway on the 72nd hole. “I guess I like playing well at the last tournament and trying to finish the season off with a bang.”
Cold, windy conditions greeted the players Friday morning in London as round one resumed at 8:00 AM following a suspension of first round play due to darkness. Hubbard said the tough conditions tested his patience and made Sunningdale a challenge Friday.
“It played really tough out there,” said Hubbard. “It was cold and the wind was swirling all over the place. It was fast and firm again, and you could get in some spots that were brutal.”
Two shots behind the trio at 8-under par were London’s own Andrew Parr, who was 3-under par for his round before play was suspended as well as Hyattsville, Maryland’s George Bradford and Oak Park, California’s Alex Kang.
63 players completed second round play Friday, with 64 left to complete play Saturday morning.
Hubbard tries to keep mind off ‘Bubble Boy’ status
At no. 6 on the Order of Merit, Mark Hubbard came into the week knowing a solid performance could move him inside The Five and earn him a Web.com Tour card for 2014, but said he was trying to keep his thoughts off his Order of Merit position.
That became more difficult as his playing partners Joe Panzeri (no. 5) and Wil Collins (no. 6) struggled for the first two rounds and were outside the current cutline at the end of Friday’s play.
“I knew that they weren’t doing great, but it’s too early and even if it was the final round you can’t really think about that,” said Hubbard, who added he was just happy to be in his position with two rounds to go.
“You just try to play well and whatever happens happens. Three weeks ago I was just worrying about keeping my card, and then I got that win. Anything from here on out is just icing on the cake.”
Bradford one of many on the top-60 bubble
George Bradford’s 6-under par total put him in contention for more than just final 36 holes the TOUR Championship of Canada presented by Freedom 55 Financial. Bradford is one of many players hoping to move inside the top 60 on the Order of Merit to retain exempt status for 2014 on PGA TOUR Canada.
“For me, I’m close to the bubble. I’ve done my best not to think much about it,” said Bradford, who was 72nd on the Order of Merit coming into the week. “I’m just trying to maintain my composure out there, which is extremely difficult out there with the weather.”
27 players outside the top 60 coming into the week were inside the current cutline at the end of Friday’s play. Notables outside the top 60 coming into the week included 2012 PGA TOUR Canada winners Chris Killmer (85th), Andrew Roque (94th) and Alan McLean (118th) as well as four time PGA TOUR Canada winner Wes Heffernan (80th) and 2011 TOUR Championship of Canada winner Stuart Anderson (91st).
– Weather: Cloudy, 12 degrees Celsius, wind 25 km/h
– Wong is looking to become the first player to successfully defend a title since Brian Kontak at the 1999 Alberta Open
– Round 2 once again saw preferred lies implemented, the sixth straight round where ‘lift, clean and place’ has been in effect going back to last week’s Cape Breton Celtic Classic
– The current cutline was at even par at the end of Friday’s play, with 63 players at T-54 or better
– Wong’s week has already included an unveiling of a plaque commemorating his walk-off win at the 2012 TOUR Championship of Canada and his 23rd birthday on Tuesday
– Click here for photos from Friday