HAWERCHUK LEADS BY ONE AT BRITISH COLUMBIA Q-SCHOOL
(Courtenay, B.C.) – Barrie, Ontario’s Eric Hawerchuk shot an 8-under 64 on Tuesday at Crown Isle Resort and Golf Community to take the first round lead at the Mackenzie Tour – PGA TOUR Canada Qualifying Tournament.
The 26-year old, whose father is NHL Hall of Famer Dale Hawerchuk, was bogey-free with eight birdies to lead by one over Lake Elsinore, California’s Aaron Wise after one round in Courtenay.
“I played smart and had a couple big up-and-downs, par saves that kept me going to be honest. A lot of the putts fell in, and it was a great day,” said Hawerchuk.
After missing his card at Q-School in 2014, Hawerchuk said he took a hard look in the mirror and began making changes to his game with the goal of becoming a competitive player on the path to the PGA TOUR.
“I came two years ago and I realized I wasn’t ready to play at this level. You see how good everyone is, and I took last year to just kind of work on some things that I learned, and it seems to be paying off so far. Hopefully I can just keep that going,” said Hawerchuk.
With three rounds to go, the former Central Connecticut State Blue Devil said he was still focused on competing through the week and not getting ahead of himself despite his red hot opening round.
“This is a huge bonus,” said Hawerchuk. “I was just trying to get in there, shoot a few under and be right in the mix, so to jump out to a nice start like today – I’m not going to really change anything, but it does help my mindset going forward.”
“I was just having fun, to be honest. I had my brother-in-law on the bag, and just the stuff I’ve been working on the last few months with my coaches has been paying off. I’m just trying to be a kid again, trying to be an artist out there,” said Fink.
First Round Leaderboard (Bold denotes Canadian):
Eric Hawerchuk – 64 (-8)
Aaron Wise (a) – 65 (-7)
David Fink – 66 (-6)
Adam Cornelson – 67 (-5)
Yarik Merkulov – 67 (-5)
Sepp Straka (a) – 67 (-5)
PROJECTED SCORES FOR MACKENZIE TOUR STATUS:
1st (Exempt for 2016 season): 64 (-8/1st)
16th (Exempt through 1st re-shuffle): 69 (-3/T14)
40th plus ties (Conditional status): 71 (-1/T36)
KEY NUMBERS TO KNOW
72.82: Tuesday’s scoring average at Crown Isle
5: Canadians in the top-10 through one round.
18: Eric Hawerchuk (64), Adam Cornelson (67), Yarik Merkulov (67), Jonathan Garrick (68), Jay Myers (69), Horacio Leon (69), Gianfranco Guida (70).
“Early on, when I was younger, late tee times used to get to me, and I used to get kind of paranoid. I’ve learned how to handle it, and that’s big because if you plan on on the weekends, you have to know how to tee off late.” – Aaron Wise on waiting out the morning weather delay and staying patient before his first round.
“We have a summer house on Granby Island, so this area is really comfortable for me. I absolutely love British Columbia and Vancouver Island. It’s very close to me, so I thought I’d come up here and I’m happy I did.” – Kailua, Hawaii’s David Fink on competing near his summer home growing up.
“I’ve been getting in the gym a bit more and trying to improve. I went back to the drawing board and I feel better than I ever have really, and I’m just trying to take it one day at a time. I’m going to look back at 2015 as a year that made me change a few things; this is where I’m supposed to be, and I’m fine with that, and I’m going to claw my way to the top.” – Langley, British Columbia’s Adam Cornelson, who finished 94th on last year’s Order of Merit, on re-focusing for this coming season.
“It’s been awesome. It’s my last season, and it’s really been a lot of fun. Winning SECs was awesome, and It’s definitely bittersweet. I’m looking forward to starting the pro career and all that, but college has just been so great to me too.” – University of Georgia senior Sepp Straka on making the transition from amateur to professional this spring.
“I was finishing up school and went back to get my Master’s in Management Studies. Towards the end of that, I had an internship in Manhattan, and I was kind of like ‘I really would rather play golf.’ My family was very supportive of me. I thought I had moved on, but I had seen a lot of the guys I played junior and college golf with succeeding on the PGA TOUR, I was like ‘Man, what am I doing? That’s all I can say about it.” – Yarik Merkulov on turning down traditional employment in search of a career in professional golf.