EDWARD FIGUEROA EXTENDS LEAD AT MACKENZIE TOUR Q-SCHOOL

The exciting final round of the PGA TOUR Canada Staal Foundation Open is heading onto the course
The exciting final round of the PGA TOUR Canada Staal Foundation Open is heading onto the course

The exciting final round of the PGA TOUR Canada Staal Foundation Open is heading onto the course
The exciting final round of the PGA TOUR Canada Staal Foundation Open is heading onto the course

Second Round Leaderboard:

Edward Figueroa – 65-68 (-11)
Chad Ramey – 68-68 (-8)
Jake Kevorkian – 69-69 (-6)
Mason Jacobs – 68-70 (-6)
Blake Palmer – 70-68 (-6)

THE RECAP: Naples, Florida’s Edward Figueroa continued to build his lead at the Mackenzie Tour – PGA TOUR Canada’s USA East #2 Q-School on Wednesday, shooting a 4-under 68 at PGA Golf Club’s Wannamaker Course in Port St. Lucie, Florida to lead by three shots through 36 holes.

On a day when gusting winds added to the challenge of the Wannamaker course, the 23-year old opened up a three stroke advantage over Fulton, Mississippi’s Chad Ramey with two rounds to go.

“I was a couple under par quick, and then I was able to just kind of relax, but it was tough. It was a long day and you can’t take anything for granted with the wind,” said Figueroa, who has successfully navigated Mackenzie Tour Q-School in each of the last two years.

A South Florida resident who plays out of Mediterra Golf Club in Naples, Figueroa said his experience playing in windy conditions came in handy as he needed to use his full arsenal of shots on Wednesday.

“I had to hit a lot of flighted shots and a lot of draws and fades,” said the former Florida Golf Coast University student, who opened with a 7-under 65 yesterday. “You had to think about every shot with the gusts. There was a lot of grinding and scrambling. It wasn’t as clean as yesterday, but that’s going to happen.”

Ramey, who held conditional status on the Web.com Tour in 2016, posted a 68 for the second straight day, while two shots further behind at 6-under were St. Petersburg, Florida’s Jake Kevorkian and Metropolis, Illinois’ Mason Jacobs.

CURRENT SCORES FOR MACKENZIE TOUR STATUS: After 72 holes this week, every player inside the top 40 and ties will earn Mackenzie Tour status for 2017. Below is a breakdown of where the cut-offs stand:

1st (Exempt for 2017 season): -11/1st

5th (Exempt for first 8 events, subject to 2nd reshuffle): -6/T3

16th (Exempt for first 4 events, subject to 1st reshuffle): -1/T15

40th (Conditional status): +3/T38

BACKGROUND ON THE LEADER: Though he grew up in Naples, Florida, Figueroa has represented Puerto Rico since his amateur days, helping him compete in events for more than just his own name.

“To be able to play for your country and your teammates, not just yourself, it’s really cool,” said Figueroa.

His countryman Rafa Campos, who recently parlayed a sponsor exemption into the PGA TOUR’s Puerto Rico Open into finishes of T10-7-T32 on the PGA TOUR, has given inspiration to Figueroa, who counts the 28-year old Campos as a friend and a former teammate at the Bridgestone America’s Golf Cup.

“He’s a good buddy of mine, and he’s playing great right now. I’ve played a lot with him and he’s a really good guy, so I wish the best for him,” said Figueroa, who said he hopes to represent Puerto Rico in more international competition and hopefully the Olympics in the future.

Figueroa teed it up in 14 Mackenzie Tour events over the past two seasons and made five cuts. He finished T23 and T28 in 2015 and 2016, respectively, at the Bayview Place Cardtronics Open presented by Times Colonist, including a second round 62 last year.

THEY SAID IT:

“I talked to [Carlos Sainz, Jr.] a good bit. He played on the Mackenzie Tour last year too, and plans on playing again this year. He said it’s a great Tour and he’s loved it, and kind of persuaded me into doing it.” – Chad Ramey, who decided to play Mackenzie Tour Q-School with the encouragement of fellow Mississippi State grad and former Players Cup champion Carlos Sainz, Jr.

Miscellaneous notes:

  • Weather: 29 degrees Celsius (feels like 35), partly cloudy, winds 16 mph gusting to 27 mph.
  • Kitchener, Ontario’s Chris Hemmerich was the top Canadian through two rounds at even-par (T10). Other Canadians in position to earn status: Elliott Whitley (+1/T25), Brett Cairns (+2/T31), Michael Blair (+3/T38).
  • Blake Jens recorded a hole-in-one on the par-3 6th hole, using a 9-iron from 161 yards.
  • Two-time World Long Drive Champion Jamie Sadlowski is T43 after rounds of 72-76. The St. Paul, Alberta native was 7-over for his first five holes on Wednesday but recovered with four birdies and a bogey over his last 13 holes.
  • Click here for scores.