Lake Elsinore, California’s Aaron Wise shot a final round 2-under 70 on Sunday at Glendale Golf and Country Club to win the inaugural Syncrude Oil Country Championship presented by AECON, capturing his first Mackenzie Tour – PGA TOUR Canada win and first victory as a professional.
Wise, the 2016 NCAA Men’s Individual and Team Champion at the University of Oregon, held off Yakima, Washington’s Brock Mackenzie and Argentinian Puma Dominguez to win by one stroke at 19-under par for the week.
With the win, Wise moves into fourth on the Order or Merit despite having played just two events, in position to earn Web.com Tour status for 2017.
“I battled all day long, and I got a couple of good breaks and a couple bad breaks. For it all to come in the way it did and for me to win, that was the goal and I’m very excited,” said Wise, who at 20 years, 1 month and 10 days is the youngest winner Mackenzie Tour winner in the PGA TOUR era (2013-present).
Starting the day tied with Mackenzie, Wise began the day with a birdie at the first and never looked back, holding the lead throughout the round. It was no cakewalk though, with Dominguez and Mackenzie providing the chase that left the outcome in doubt until the final hole.
Holding a two stroke lead on the 17th, Wise found the water with his second on the par-5 and made bogey, his lead dwindling to one over Dominguez, who was in the clubhouse at 19-under, and his fellow competitor Mackenzie.
Mackenzie, a two-time Tour winner with extensive experience on the Web.com Tour, did all he could at the last to put the pressure on, with his 20-footer for birdie and the tie somehow lipping out at the last second.
“He had so many putts just like that that were so close,” said Wise, who was left with a two-footer for the win. “You knew with 20-feet, right to left up the hill he was gonna give it a good shot, and luckily for me I guess it didn’t go in. He gave a great battle all day. He played incredible and he’s a great player.”
“I gave it a good run, and I really thought it was in the whole way. I’ve gotta tip my hat to Aaron – he battled hard out there and it was fun competing with him out there,” said Mackenzie.
For Wise, the win marks the continuation of a meteoric rise that started with a win at the Australian Master of the Amateurs in January and the NCAA title in May. With his first pro win in the books, the sky is the limit for the Californian.
“It’s crazy. I didn’t think it would be possible this quickly,” admitted Wise. “Moving from high school to college, it was that much harder and I saw I could get that much better. Once I won in Australia and had NCAAs on the horizon, I just worked even harder.”
Georgia’s Seth Reeves notched a career-best finish in solo fourth at 16-under, while England’s David Skinns, South Carolina’s Will Starke and Oklahoman and Order of Merit no. 2 Taylor Moore tied for fifth at 15-under.
2016 NCAA Champion Aaron Wise was making his second career Mackenzie Tour start. The 20-year old former University of Oregon Duck made his Tour debut at the Staal Foundation Open presented by Tbaytel two weeks ago and finished T10.
Wise becomes the first NCAA Men’s Individual Champion to win on the Mackenzie Tour since 2009 winner Matt Hill at the 2012 SIGA Dakota Dunes Open.
Wise joins fellow former Oregon Ducks Daniel Miernicki (2015 ATB Financial Classic) and Eugene Wong (2012 Freedom 55 Financial Championship, 2012 Great Waterway Classic) as winners on the Mackenzie Tour.
Before claiming the NCAA Men’s Individual Championship and helping the Ducks to their first ever team title this spring, Wise claimed medalist honours at the British Columbia Qualifying Tournament to earn exempt status for the 2016 season.
Wise made his professional debut at the U.S. Open after claiming medalist honours at his Sectional Qualifying site.
At 20 years, 1 month and 10 days, Wise is the youngest player to win on the Mackenzie Tour during the PGA TOUR era. The youngest all-time winner is James Lepp at the 2003 Greater Vancouver Classic (19 years, 8 months, 15 days).
35-year old Brock Mackenzie was making his 50th career start on the Mackenzie Tour this week. The native of Yakima, Washington owns two career wins, coming at the 2014 ATB Financial Classic and 2010 Bayview Place Island Savings Open presented by Times Colonist.
Mackenzie was one of eight players in the field this week who competed at Glendale during the 2009 Telus Edmonton Open (Wes Heffernan, Danny Sahl, Clayton Rask, Ryan Williams, James Love, Brock Mackenzie, Michael Gligic, Dan McCarthy).
PGA TOUR Latinoamérica Order of Merit leader Puma Dominguez finished T2, marking his third runner-up finish of the season combined between Latinoamérica and the Mackenzie Tour.
WILLIAMS TAKES FREEDOM 55 FINANCIAL TOP CANADIAN
With a total score of 14-under par in solo eighth place, Vancouer, British Columbia’s Ryan Williams finished as the top Canadian on the leaderboard, earning Freedom 55 Financial Canadian Player of the Week honours and a $2,500 prize for the third time this year.
The top Canadian on the leaderboard each week takes home the award, with the top Canadian on the Order of Merit at season’s end earning the Dan Halldorson Trophy, Freedom 55 Financial Canadian Player of the Year honours and a $25,000 prize.
CHASE FOR THE FIVE
With his win, Aaron Wise moved inside the top five on the Order of Merit, earning $31,500 for the win. Below are the top five players through seven events (bold denotes Canadian):
1. Dan McCarthy $106,383
2. Taylor Moore $59,780
3. Adam Cornelson $37,297
4. Aaron Wise $35,700
5. Max Rottluff $35,350