Brian Decker – PGA Tour Canada
September 14, 2013, London, ON (ISN) – Scottsdale, Arizona’s Trevor Murphy birdied his final two holes to shoot a 3-under par 69 Saturday at Sunningdale Golf Club, giving him a one stroke lead heading into the final round of the TOUR Championship of Canada presented by Freedom 55 Financial.
The 28-year old Murphy sat at 15-under par total to lead by one over St. Georges, Quebec’s Max Gilbert and Oak Park, California’s Alex Kang, with Seattle, Washington’s Brock Mackenzie and Denver Colorado’s Mark Hubbard three behind heading into the final round.
Third round leaderboard – TOUR Championship presented by Freedom 55 Financial
(Bold denotes Canadian)
1. Trevor Murphy – 69 (-15)
T-2. Max Gilbert – 66 (-14)
T-2. Alex Kang – 67 (-14)
T-4. Brock Mackenzie – 67 (-14)
T-4. Mark Hubbard – 68 (-14)
“There are so many good players out here that you definitely have to play a solid round,” said Murphy of his outlook for Sunday’s final round. “I’m just going try and hit good shots and if it’s enough it’s enough.”
The 28-year old Murphy finished up a second round on 66 Saturday morning after play was suspended due to darkness on Friday evening, then posted a 4-under par 32 on his back nine of the third round to take the solo lead for the third consecutive round.
Murphy sits 51st on the Order of Merit heading into this week and can’t move inside The Five with a win, but would be able to sneak into the top 10. The top five players on the Order of Merit at season’s end will earn Web.com Tour cards for 2014, while players finishing in sixth through 10th will earn an exemption into the final stage of Web.com Tour Qualifying School.
“If I play well tomorrow, I can bypass some Q-School, which is huge,” said Murphy. “That could be a couple of weeks of tournament golf, so I’ll definitely try to grind it out.”
Murphy and Gilbert will tee it up in the final group at 1:00 PM on Sunday.
Race for The Five comes down to one last round
Plenty of scenarios are still in play to see who earns Web.com Tour cards after Sunday’s final round, with seven players currently in the top-20 still able to move inside The Five. Below is the minimum finish each of those players would need to move inside the top five:
Order of Merit no. 2 Riley Wheeldon shot a 5-under par 67 in the third round, putting him in a tie for 15th. Wheeldon would need to finish solo third or better to pass Order of Merit leader Mackenzie Hughes for the top spot as well as Freedom 55 Financial Canadian Player of the Year.
With a win Sunday, Murphy could move as high as ninth on the Order of Merit, Gilbert and Kang could finish as high as 12th, Mackenzie could finish as high as third and Hubbard could finish as high as first.
Gilbert looking for 2014 status and more
Starting the season with no status on PGA TOUR Canada, Max Gilbert played his way into the TOUR Championship of Canada presented by Freedom 55 Financial by Monday qualifying for The Players Cup and finishing tied for 22nd, earning him enough to make the Order of Merit-based season finale.
Now, the former Université Laval Rouge et Or is not only trying to finish in the top 60 on the Order of Merit and earn full status for 2014, he’s in contention to get his first professional win.
“My goal is to play on this Tour next year,” said the 23-year old Gilbert. “I want to play well so I can make sure I have a full Tour card for next year.”
Freedom 55 Financial Canadian Player of the Year on the line
The race for Freedom 55 Financial Canadian Player of the Year will also come to one final round on Sunday, with just three players left in contention for the title. Current leader Mackenzie Hughes missed the cut and will wait and see if Riley Wheeldon can pass him with a solo third finish or better, or if Nick Taylor can come from well behind and move into the top spot with a win. Wheeldon was 7-under par and tied for 15th at the end of the third round, while Taylor was 10 shots back at 5-under par in a tie for 21st.
– Weather: Sunny, 19 degrees Celsius, wind 5 km/h
– Gilbert is looking to become the second straight non-member to win on PGA TOUR Canada after Mackenzie Hughes last week at the Cape Breton Celtic Classic presented by PC Financial, as well as the second straight non-member to win the TOUR Championship of Canada presented by Freedom 55 Financial after Eugene Wong last year
– Murphy is looking to become the first wire-to-wire winner on PGA TOUR Canada since John Ellis at the 2008 Mexican PGA Championship
– Preferred lies were not implemented for the first time this week in the third round
– Alex Kang finished up his second round with an 8-under par 64 Saturday morning
– With four of the top five on the Order of Merit missing the cut, 15 players have a chance mathematically of moving inside The Five