Four players share Staal Foundation Open lead in Thunder Bay

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pga tour of canada

 

(Thunder Bay, Ont.) – The final round of the Staal Foundation Open presented by Tbaytel promises to be a shootout, with four players sharing the lead heading into Sunday at the Whitewater Golf Club.

Listowel, Ontario’s Corey Conners, Otsego, Minnesota’s Clayton Rask, Cape Coral, Florida’s Chase Marinell and Australia’s David McKenzie all sat at 14-under through 54 holes, with 14 players within two shots of the lead heading into the final round of the sixth Mackenzie Tour – PGA TOUR Canada event of the 2015 season.

“This is fun. It was a lot of fun out there today, and I expect to have a lot of fun as welltomorrow. It’s enjoyable to have some pressure on you, and it’s what we all work for out here,” said Conners, who shot a 2-under 70 to take a share of the lead heading into Sunday.

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania’s Mike Van Sickle birdied six of his first seven holes to build a three-shot lead early on Saturday, but made three bogeys and a double bogey coming in to finish at 13-under. That set the stage for McKenzie (67) and Marinell (68) to post the clubhouse lead, with Rask and Conners matching them in the day’s final two groups.

“Today, guys got off to a great start but it looks like they struggled a bit coming in. There are some good scores out there, it’s just a matter of if you can hang on I guess,” said McKenzie, a veteran 47-year old who has made 183 starts on the Web.com Tour and owns victories on the PGA Tour of Australasia and PGA TOUR China Series, where he won twice last year and finished sixth on the Order of Merit.

Playing at the opposite end of the spectrum, the 23-year old Marinell carded a 4-under 68, continuing a strong rookie season on the Mackenzie Tour that has him ranked 26th on the Order of Merit.

“I’ve been in the position not to win, but kind of in contention so I kind of know what to expect. There’s still going to be some nerves involved, but that’s just part of golf and if you don’t have nerves, something’s wrong,” said Marinell, who finished T8 at The Players Cup last week.

Rask, who played in the day’s final group with Gligic, rebounded from a tough start with three straight birdies on his back nine to shoot a 2-under 70 and share the lead.

“When you get flustered, you just have to remain calm and try not to take yourself out of it. You just need to make one birdie and get back to even and start running from there,” said Rask.

One shot back at 13-under were Order of Merit No. 2 J.J. Spaun, Van Sickle and Drew Evans, who finished T7 here last year.

NUMBERS YOU NEED TO KNOW

7: Players within one shot of the lead.

13: Players within two shots of the lead.

27: Players within three shots of the lead.

QUOTABLES:

I was definitely a little bit nervous out there today and expect to be again tomorrow as well, but through those experiences at Augusta and at the U.S. Am I’ve learned to deal with those and to try and stay calm so I can play my game.” – Corey Conners, who was the runner-up at the 2014 U.S. Amateur and played in the 2015 Masters Tournament, on his experiences translating to the Mackenzie Tour.

“I don’t have a weakness right now, which is an awesome feeling. I feel really good about every facet of the game so far, so hopefully that continues tomorrow.” – Chase Marinell on his play through 54 holes.

“I’ve won before and I’ve played a long time. I’ve had chances to win and I’ve blown them, and I’ve won when I had chances. It doesn’t bother me so much; I know what it feels like to lose and to miss cards by a shot and that sort of thing. If it happens it happens, and if it doesn’t it doesn’t.” – David McKenzie on his wealth of experience heading into Sunday.

Notes:

  • Weather: 20 degrees (23 degrees with Humidex). Partly cloudy. Winds 25 km/h.
  • Play was delayed for 2 hours due to fog and resumed at 9:12 a.m.
  • David McKenzie has made over $1,014,628 in earnings on the Web.com Tour, where he has made 183 starts.
  • Corey Conners is looking to become the first non-member to win on the Mackenzie Tour since Kevin Spooner three weeks ago at the Syncrude Boreal Open presented by AECON.
  • With Order of Merit leader Drew Weaver missing the cut, five possibilities exist for players to pass him for the Order of Merit lead:
  • 1) If any player 19th or better on the current Order of Merit wins
  • 2) If any player 8th or better on the current Order of Merit finishes solo second.
  • 3) If J.J. Spaun (T5) finishes solo 7th or better.
  • 4) If Albin Choi (T14) finishes in a two-way tie for 5th or better.
  • 5) If C.T. Pan (T62) finishes solo 3rd or better.
  • The top three players on the Order of Merit after this week will earn exemptions into the RBC Canadian Open. The top five after round three:
Player Order of Merit Position Earnings Leaderboard Position
Drew Weaver 1 $44,450 MC
J.J. Spaun 2 $38,763 -13/T5
Albin Choi 3 $37,857 -11/T14
Kevin Spooner 4 $36,575 MC
C.T. Pan 5 $32,729 -3/T62
  • The top three non-members on the Order of Merit after this week will earn conditional status for the remainder of this season. Below are the top five:
Player Order of Merit Position Earnings Leaderboard Position
Adam Svensson 7 $24,617 DNP
Christopher Trunzer 34 $7,438 DNP
Justin Shin 38 $6,729 MC
Corey Conners T56 $4,450 -14/T1
Bryn Parry T79 $2,538 DNP

– Click here for agate scores.

– Click here for online scores. 

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