The Mackenzie Tour – PGA TOUR Canada’s third season in 2015 was highlighted by a new partnership with Mackenzie Investments as the umbrella sponsor of PGA TOUR Canada, strong competition that featured six playoffs in 12 tournaments and a significant increase in charitable donations by Mackenzie Tour events.
Competitive highlights included J.J. Spaun’s record-breaking season on the way to the Order of Merit title and Player of the Year honours, C.T. Pan winning twice in his first six starts and Jason Millard parlaying a win at the season-ending Freedom 55 Financial Championship into a spot in The Five, who all earned status on the Web.com Tour for the 2016 season.
Highlights from off the course included a 60 percent increase in charitable donations by Mackenzie Tour events to more than $560,000, aided by a $150,000 donation by the PGA TOUR on behalf of Mackenzie Investments, resulting in a $12,500 donation at each event. Additionally, the City of Thunder Bay and the Canadian Sport Tourism Alliance conducted an economic impact study around the Staal Foundation Open presented by Tbaytel and determined the event supported an estimated $4-million of economic activity.
“From the watershed moment of announcing our umbrella partnership with Mackenzie Investments to the incredible level of play by the players at each event, 2015 truly was a year to remember,” said Mackenzie Tour President Jeff Monday. “Thanks to the hard work of our host organizations and the tremendous support of our sponsors, we were able to make an even greater impact in the communities where we play than in 2014.”
Some of the key highlights from the past season are listed below.
The following five players earned status on the Web.com Tour:
(Newport Beach, Calif.)
|$91,193||After losing his card in 2014, earned status with a T8 finish at the British Columbia Q-School… Won the Staal Foundation Open presented by Tbaytel, one of four consecutive top five finishes… Finished inside the top-30 in all 11 of his starts and set a new Tour record with 7 top-10 finishes… Will be fully exempt in his first season on the Web.com Tour in 2016.|
|$79,896||After finishing T5 at the British Columbia Q-School as an amateur, made his professional debut at the U.S. Open and made the cut… Won in his third Mackenzie Tour start at The Players Cup, then defeated Taylor Pendrith in a playoff to win the Cape Breton Celtic Classic… Played in just seven events after finishing his collegiate career and performing a 12-day stint in the Taiwanese Military mid-season… at the University of Washington, was a nominee for the 2015 Ben Hogan Award.|
(Richmond Hill, Ont.)
|$60,736||Member of Golf Canada’s Young Pro Squad earned status for his first season as a professional with a T5 finish at the California Q-School… Lost in a playoff three times during the season at the PC Financial Open, National Capital Open to Support Our Troops and Cape Breton Celtic Classic presented by PC Financial… Posted five top-10s in eight starts… Led the Tour in driving distance at 339.1 yards per drive.|
|$57,168||Broke through for his first Mackenzie Tour win by defeating Taylor Pendrith in a playoff at the National Capital Open to Support Our Troops… Recorded top-10s in three of his first five starts… Made his first nine cuts of the season.|
|$57,040||Opened his season with a T2 finish at the Bayview Place Island Savings Open presented by Times Colonist… Became the first player to move into The Five by winning the season-ending Freedom 55 Financial Championship, where he defeated Ryan Williams in a playoff.|
In addition to The Five, players 6-10 on the Order of Merit earned exemptions into the final stage of Web.com Tour Q-School: No. 6 Albin Choi (Toronto, Ont.), No. 7 Michael Letzig (Kansas City, Mo.), No. 8 Drew Weaver (Atlanta, Ga.) No. 9 Adam Svensson (Surrey, B.C.) and No. 10 Kevin Spooner (West Vancouver, B.C.).
Players 11-20 earned exemptions into the second stage of Q-School: No. 11 Christopher Ross (Dundas, Ont.), No. 12 Brad Clapp (Chilliwack, B.C.), No. 13 Mackenzie Hughes (Dundas, Ont.), No. 14 Ryan Williams (Vancouver, B.C.), No. 15 Daniel Miernicki (Santee, Calif.), No. 16 Robert Karlsson (Kalmar, Sweden), No. 17 Talor Gooch(Choctaw, Okla.), No. 18 Chase Marinell (Cape Coral, Fla.), No. 19 Charlie Bull (London, England) and No. 20 Clayton Rask (Otsego, Minn.).
CHARITABLE CONTRIBUTIONS INCREASE BY 60 PERCENT
Charitable donations by Mackenzie Tour events rose again in 2015, reaching a total of $567,423 in 2015, an increase of 60 percent from 2014. In addition to the more than $415,000 raised by the Tour’s host organizations, the Mackenzie Tour added a donation of $12,500 to each tournament’s official charity. As with every event on the PGA TOUR, Champions Tour and Web.com Tour, raising money for local charities is one of the key goals of the Mackenzie Tour.
STUDY FINDS MACKENZIE TOUR EVENT GENERATES $4 MILLION IN ECONOMIC ACTIVITY In July of 2015, when the Mackenzie Tour – PGA TOUR Canada played the Staal Foundation Open presented by Tbaytel at the Whitewater Golf Club in Thunder Bay, Ontario, the Canadian Sport Tourism Alliance (CSTA) worked with City of Thunder Bay – Tourism to conduct an economic impact study on the event. The Sports Tourism Economic Assessment Model (STEAM) found that the combined spending of visitors and event organizers in producing the event reached more than $1.8 million in initial expenditures, which supported an estimated $4 million of economic activity in Ontario and $2.8 million in Thunder Bay alone. The event supported 25 jobs in the province paying $767,000 in wages and salaries, and total federal, provincial and municipal taxes supported by the event reached $728,000. In total the net economic activity (GDP) was $2.0 million in the province, of which $1.2 million was in Thunder Bay.
2015 SEASON BY THE NUMBERS:
3 – Different Order of Merit leaders all year, with J.J. Spaun leading for the final seven weeks of the year after Drew Weaver and Albin Choi went back-and-forth with the lead for the first five weeks.
6 – Events that went into a playoff: Drew Weaver def. Adam Svensson, Riley Wheeldon, Taylor Pendrith and Ross Beal, PC Financial Open; Kevin Spooner def. Talor Gooch & Ben Silverman, Syncrude Boreal Open presented by AECON; Michael Letzig def. J.J. Spaun and Clark Klaasen, SIGA Dakota Dunes Open pres. by SaskTel; Sam Ryder def. Taylor Pendrith, National Capital Open to Support Our Troops; C.T. Pan def. Taylor Pendrith, Cape Breton Celtic Classic presented by PC Financial; Jason Millard def. Ryan Williams, Freedom 55 Financial Championship.
4 – 54-hole leader or co-leaders who went on to win.
0 – Winners who shot an over par round during the course of their victories.
7 – Winners who shot four rounds in the 60s during the course of their victories.
10 – Winners in their 20s, accounting for 11 victories.
5 – Winners 25 or younger, accounting for six victories.
67.67 – Adam Svensson’s Tour-leading scoring average, the best mark of the PGA TOUR era on the Mackenzie Tour.
33 – J.J. Spaun’s Tour-leading number of rounds in the 60s.
4 – J.J. Spaun’s consecutive top-5 finishes from the SIGA Dakota Dunes Open presented by SaskTel through the National Capital Open to Support Our Troops.
205 – Mackenzie Hughes’ Tour-leading number of birdies.
5.07 – C.T. Pan’s Tour-leading number of birdies per round, the best mark of the PGA TOUR era on the Mackenzie Tour.
9 – Holes-in-one on Tour during the 2015 season.
2 – Holes-in-one by Brad Clapp in 2015 – (16th hole, final round at Pine Ridge GC/The Players Cup; 1st hole, third round at Highland CC/Freedom 55 Financial Championship).
3 – Holes-in-one on the front nine during the third and fourth rounds at The Links of GlenEagles during the ATB Financial Classic.
MEMORABLE MOMENTS FROM THE 2015 SEASON:
Pan’s flurry finish – Taiwan’s C.T. Pan birdied his final five holes of regulation at the Cape Breton Celtic Classic, including a chip-in from short of the green at the 18th, then birdied the first two holes of a sudden-victory playoff to win his second event of the season.
Spooner and Gooch go five extra holes – At the Syncrude Boreal Open presented by AECON, regulation wasn’t enough to identify a winner between Kevin Spooner, Talor Gooch and Ben Silverman. The trio all made pars on the first three holes of sudden victory before Gooch forced the hand of the others by hitting the par-5 18th in two and making birdie. Spooner made a curling, 12-foot birdie putt down the hill to keep the playoff alive, then earned victory with a par on the fifth extra hole, marking the longest playoff of the Mackenzie Tour era.
Millard’s last chance – With his victory at the Freedom 55 Financial Championship, Jason Millard made a dramatic entry into The Five, becoming the first player to move into the top five on the Order of Merit and earn status on the Web.com Tour by winning the season-ending event. Millard leapt from No. 30 to No. 5 with his victory.
Clapp closes it out – Holding on to a two-shot lead playing the 72nd hole at The Great Waterway Classic, Brad Clapp closed the door in style by knocking his approach to four feet and making the eagle putt to win his first Mackenzie Tour title by four shots.
Miernicki’s birdie bomb – Facing a two-putt to post the clubhouse lead at the par-5 72nd hole at the ATB Financial Classic, Daniel Miernicki instead rammed the birdie try into the cup and went on to win by one shot over Danny Sahl to earn his first Mackenzie Tour title.
Five man playoff kicks off season – The season-opening PC Financial Open saw plenty of fireworks at the finish, as Drew Weaver, Adam Svensson, Riley Wheeldon, Ross Beal and Taylor Pendrith went into a playoff for a chance at victory. The five players combined to play the 72nd regulation hole in 7-under on Sunday thanks to two eagles and three birdies, but only Svensson and Weaver managed birdies the second time around. Weaver eventually prevailed with a birdie on the third extra hole to win in his first Mackenzie Tour start.
Letzig’s hero shot pays off – Finding himself in a playoff against J.J. Spaun and Clark Klaasen at the SIGA Dakota Dunes Open, PGA TOUR veteran Michael Letzig hit driver off the deck for his second shot at the par-5 18th, leading to an easy birdie that proved to be enough for the victory.
The profile of the Mackenzie Tour’s membership continues to evolve, trending towards younger players succeeding on the course. Eighty-six percent of players who made the cut in 2015 were under the age of 30, while 84 percent of Canadians who made the cut were under the age of 30. Below is the breakdown of four age groups (18-24, 25-29, 30-34 and 35+) and their respective share of cuts made this season compared to 2013 and 2014.
|Player Age Group||2013||2014||2015|
|% of cuts made by Players 18-24||26%||27%||43%|
|% of cuts made by Players 25-29||48%||61%||48%|
|% of cuts made by Players 30-34||18%||10%||7%|
|% of cuts made by Players 35+||9%||3%||2%|
- Toughest Courses: 1 – Pine Ridge GC (+1.005 average over par)
2 – Uplands GC (+0.267)
3 – Point Grey G&CC (+0.164)
- Toughest Holes: 1 – Pine Ridge GC / Par-3 9th (3.426 stroke average)
2 – Pine Ridge GC / Par-4 5th (4.392)
3 – Pine Ridge GC / Par-4 11th (4.357)
ALUMNI SHOWING STRONG
Nick Taylor, a three-year member of the Mackenzie Tour (2011-13), made history with his win at the Sanderson Farms Championship, becoming the first PGA TOUR-era graduate to win on the PGA TOUR. Taylor’s win came less than 14 months after competing on the Mackenzie Tour. Combined with fellow 2013 alum Tony Finau, former Mackenzie Tour players accounted for two of the four nominees for 2014-15 PGA TOUR Rookie of the Year.
Six former Mackenzie Tour members earned their PGA TOUR cards through the Web.com Tour in 2015, led by 2014 Mackenzie Tour member Tyler Aldridge, 2013 The Five member Mark Hubbard, five-time runner-up Lucas Lee, 2011 Players Cup champion Tom Hoge, 2006 Order of Merit runner-up Rob Oppenheim and 2002-2004 member Steve Marino.
Three players who finished in The Five in 2014 (Joel Dahmen, Tim Madigan and Greg Eason) went on to make the Web.com Tour Finals and competed for a shot at a PGA TOUR card.
On the PGA TOUR, victories by Taylor, James Hahn (Northern Trust Open) and Troy Merritt (Quicken Loans National) bumped the all-time win total by Mackenzie Tour alumni on the PGA TOUR to 123.
TOP 60 RETAIN EXEMPT STATUS
The top 60 on the 2015 Order of Merit retain exempt status for the 2016 season. Below is a breakdown of the top 60 by country and age.
United States – 34
Canada – 19
England – 2
Sweden – 2
France – 1
Zimbabwe – 1
Taiwan – 1
18-24 – 24
25-29 – 26
30-34 – 7
35+ – 3