PGA TOUR Canada Storylines: Freedom 55 Financial Open
The Mackenzie Tour’s fourth season begins this week at the Freedom 55 Financial Open at Point Grey Golf and Country Club in Vancouver, B.C. Here’s a look at the storylines from this week, including what’s at stake, players to watch and key notes.
Dates: May 23-29
Course: Point Grey Golf and Country Club (Vancouver, B.C.)
2015 champion: Drew Weaver (Playoff over Riley Wheeldon, Adam Svensson, Ross Beal and Taylor Pendrith)
Purse: $175,000/$31,500 winner’s prize
Format: 72-hole stroke play
What’s at stake
Once again, players will jockey for position on the season-ending Order of Merit and look to gain access to the Web.com Tour in 2017.
Looking back at 2015’s exciting finish
The 2015 Freedom 55 Financial Open was decided after a wild Sunday that saw a five players – Drew Weaver, Adam Svensson, Ross Beal, Riley Wheeldon and Taylor Pendrith – make eagle or birdie on the 18th hole to get into a playoff for the title.
After two extra trips through the par-5 18th, Weaver and Svensson were left standing and headed to the par-5 1st hole, where Svensson was unable to match Weaver’s birdie, giving the 2007 British Amateur Champion the title in his first Mackenzie Tour start.
Players step up in support of Fort McMurray
In addition to a $20,000 joint donation made by the Mackenzie Tour and Web.com Tour, players at this week’s Freedom 55 Financial Open are signing up to donate money per birdie and eagle to the United Way of Canada in support of Fort McMurray wildfire relief efforts.
Fans are encouraged to match players’ contributions or make their own donation by visiting the PGA TOUR’s charity website at www.pgatour.com/together.
At each regular Mackenzie Tour event, two sponsor exemptions are awarded to current or former members of Golf Canada’s National Amateur Team. Alumni of the team who have played on PGA TOUR Canada include Graham DeLaet, Adam Hadwin and Nick Taylor. Below are the players teeing it up this week:
Stuart MacDonald, Vancouver, B.C.
Eric Banks, Truro, N.S.
Other sponsor exemptions:
James Allenby, Langley, B.C.
Devin Carrey, Surrey, B.C.
A.J. Ewart, Coquitlam,B.C.
Tony Gil, Vaughan, Ont.
Bryn Parry, North Vancouver, B.C.
Mitch Sutton, London, Ont.
Open Qualifying took place at Swan-e-Set Bay Resort & Country Club.
(bold denotes Canadian, * = Mackenzie Tour member).
Kyle Peterman* (Savannah, Georgia) – 67
Mason Mallory (Morgan Hill, California) – 67
Trent Sanders (Scottsdale, Arizona) – 68
Steven Lecuyer (Grimshaw, Alberta) – 68
Jordan Massey (Winter Springs, Florida) – 68
Samuel Saunders* (Albuquerque, New Mexico) – 69
Jake Johnson* (Cameron Park, California) – 69
Darren Hupfer (Victoria, B.C.) – 69
Dylan Crowley (Studio City, California) – 69
Darren Day (Victoria, B.C.) – 69
Notes on the field
- 16 British Columbians are in the field this week: Brad Clapp (Chilliwack); Adam Cornelson (Langley); Darren Day (Victoria); Brendan Dillon (Port Moody); Seann Harlingten (West Vancouver); Thomas Hay (Langley); Darren Hupfer (Victoria); Stuart MacDonald (Vancouver); Bryn Parry (North Vancouver); Cory Renfrew (Victoria); Kevin Spooner (West Vancouver); Riley Wheeldon (Comox); Ryan Williams (Vancouver).
- 30 Canadians are in the field.
- 2015 tournament winners in the field: Brad Clapp (The Great Waterway Classic), Daniel Miernicki (ATB Financial Classic), Chris Ross (The Wildfire Invitational), Kevin Spooner (Syncrude Boreal Open presented by AECON), Drew Weaver (Freedom 55 Financial Open)
- Defending champion Drew Weaver is in the field after playing in last week’s BMW Charity Pro-Am presented by SYNNEX Corporation on the Web.com Tour. Weaver, who has conditional status on the Web.com Tour, made his first cut of the season and finished T48 after sitting T5 through 36 holes.
- Former The Five member and two time Mackenzie Tour winner Brock Mackenzie is in the field, making his first Mackenzie Tour start since finishing fourth on the 2014 Order of Merit. Mackenzie has conditional status on the Web.com Tour for this season.
- Among the players making their first Mackenzie Tour start is Tadd Fujikawa, who finished T20 at the 2007 Sony Open in Hawaii to become the second-youngest player to ever make the cut on the PGA TOUR at the time (16 years, 4 days). Fujikawa finished T19 at the USA East Q-School No. 1 to earn conditional status for 2016.
- 2015 2nd team NCAA All-American Jonathan Garrick is making his professional debut after completing his collegiate career with UCLA.
Mackenzie Tour alumni notes
- 2015 The Five member Jason Millard finished T6 at the Web.com Tour’s BMW Charity Pro-Am presented by SYNNEX Corporation to lead all alumni.
- 14 Mackenzie Tour alumni, including seven members from 2015, are inside the top-75 on the Web.com Tour Money List and in position to make the Web.com Tour Finals.
- Five players who played on the Mackenzie Tour since 2013 are members of the PGA TOUR this season: Nick Taylor, Tony Finau, Mark Hubbard, Tyler Aldridge and Lucas Lee.
Other Freedom 55 Financial Open Financial Open notes
- Other notable tournaments to be held at Point Grey Golf and Country Club include the RBC Canadian Open (1954) and Canadian Pacific Women’s Open (2003).
- The top three players on the Order of Merit through the first six events of the 2015 season will earn exemptions into the RBC Canadian Open.