(– Bath, Ont.) – Tulsa, Oklahoma’s Stephen Carney shot a 9-under 63 at Loyalist Golf and Country Club to take the first round lead at The Great Waterway Classic, the ninth event of the Mackenzie Tour – PGA TOUR Canada season.
The 25-year old carded nine birdies and an eagle to lead by one over Taiwan’s C.T. Pan, Thornhill, Ontario’s Ben Silverman, Petoski, Michigan’s Joey Garber and West Des Moines, Iowa’s Nate McCoy through one round at Loyalist.
“I putted great, and I probably hit every green,” said Carney, who wasn’t satisfied despite his successful opening round. “I’m going to keep working; 9-under’s not going to win the tournament. You have to shoot pretty low, obviously, because there are so many great players and they’re going to go low.”
A second year Mackenzie Tour member, Carney said he’s grown accustomed to the low scoring required to compete on the Mackenzie Tour, and expects to have a strong field of chasers after his lead heading into the weekend.
“I wanted to get off to a good start just so I wouldn’t have to worry about the cutline being so low. The course is in great condition and the greens are rolling great, so I look forward to competing the whole week. I just keep telling myself I need to keep getting the ball in the hole,” said Carney.
Earlier, Pan, Silverman and McCoy posted the best rounds of the morning at 64, with Garber matching the score in the evening. Pan, the winner of The Players Cup earlier this year and currently no. 9 on the Order of Merit, is returning from an extended trip back to his native Taiwan, where he served a 12-day service period in the Taiwanese Military.
“I putted well. I hit the ball well today, and when I was back home I didn’t play golf for two-and-a-half or three weeks, so I felt a little bit rusty. I practiced in Seattle, so everything’s back and I’m really happy with my first round,” said Pan of his opening round.
Silverman, who ranked fifth on the Order of Merit through three events this season but has since fallen to 15th, said he’s found a way back to the approach that saw him finish in the top five twice in his first four starts of the season.
“I wanted to get back to sticking to my own style of play and game plan, and not being so concerned with hitting it as far as some of the long hitters out here. I focused on that today, and it worked out nicely for me,” said Silverman.
Nine players were a shot further behind at 7-under 65, with 28 players within three shots of the lead at 6-under or better.
T2. Joey Garber 64 (-8)
NUMBERS YOU NEED TO KNOW
129: The number of players who shot par or better on day one.
28: The number of players within three shots of the lead on day one.
-9: Stephen Carney’s opening round to par, the lowest opening round on the Mackenzie Tour this season.
“I’ve always been of the mindset that tournament golf should really be no different than a regular day. To be honest, I didn’t really feel any nerves and I wasn’t thinking about it being my first pro event or anything like that. It was just another round of golf.” – 18-year old Austin Connelly, who made his professional debut.
“I think going home and having that little break and getting re-charged was great. I’m staying on the course this week with a great host, and I think that’s all played into being a little more comfortable out here.” – Nate McCoy, on being rested before an 8-under 64.
“If the weather stays the same, then yeah – the scores will be very low. The greens are pretty soft. Just off the top of my head I’ve hit about 9 wedges into greens today, so when you have that many wedges, there’s going to be tons of birdies out there.”– Ben Silverman on getting back to the form that saw him record two top five finishes in his first four starts of the year.
“It was fun. A little bit different – very strict. You do whatever they tell you to do, and you don’t do anything they don’t tell you to do. It’s a different style of life. I was in the military base for two weeks. I’m probably not going to go back, but I had fun.” – C.T. Pan on his experience in the Taiwanese military.
- Weather: 20 degrees Celsius. Mostly cloudy. Winds 9 km/h.
- The lowest cut in Mackenzie Tour history is 6-under at the 2013 & 2015 SIGA Dakota Dunes Open presented by SaskTel and the 2008 ATB Financial Classic.
- 18-year old Austin Connelly, a member of Golf Canada’s National Amateur Team, turned professional this week and opened with a 6-under 66 in his first round as a pro.
- Carney’s 9-under 63 is the lowest first round to par on the Mackenzie Tour this season.
- Kingston native and former PGA TOUR member Matt McQuillan opened with a 6-under 66.
- Defending champion David Bradshaw opened with a 5-under 67.
- Click here for scores.