Robby Shelton Leads the Pack at GolfBC Championship

PGA TOUR Canada - Staal Foundation Open presented by Tbaytel
The 18th Green at Whitewater Golf Club in Thunder Bay one of the stops on the 2015 tour

PGA TOUR Canada Qualifying School in British Columbia

Second Round Leaderboard:

Robby Shelton – 63-68 (-11)
Kevin Lucas – 68-64 (-10)
Jake Knapp – 66-66 (-10)
Oliver Goss – 66-67 (-9)
Lee McCoy – 67-66 (-9)

By Brian Decker

Kelowna, B.C. – Wilmer, Alabama’s Robby Shelton managed a 3-under 68 on a windy afternoon at Gallagher’s Canyon Golf and Country Club to maintain his lead at the GolfBC Championship, the third event of the 2017 Mackenzie Tour – PGA TOUR Canada season.

The former University of Alabama standout holed out for eagle at the fifth hole and notched three birdies and two bogeys to lead by one over Folsom, California’s Kevin Lucas and Costa Mesa, California’s Jake Knapp through 36 holes at Gallagher’s Canyon.

“I’m striking the ball really well. That’s not a problem right now,” said Shelton. The 22-year old didn’t hole as many long putts as he did in an opening 8-under 63 Thursday, but was still pleased with how he played. “I didn’t putt as well today, but when you hit fairways and hit greens, you have a lot of opportunities. It feels like I putted bad, but I really didn’t.”

The 2015 U.S. Walker Cup team member took the lead with a closing birdie at the 18th hole, getting up-and-down from short of the green to take the solo overnight lead.

“I really wanted the lead going into tomorrow,” said Shelton. “I hit driver off the tee and that was a little aggressive, but I think it’s the play on that hole. The shot wasn’t that tough and luckily I did it and finally got a putt to fall, which was really nice.”

Lucas matched the day’s best round with a 7-under 64, while Knapp carded his second straight 66 to reach 10-under through two rounds. Australia’s Oliver Goss and Dunedin, Florida’s Lee McCoy were a shot further behind at 9-under.

BACKGROUND ON THE LEADER: As an amateur, Robby Shelton was consistently among the top players in college golf. He played at the University of Alabama from 2013 to 2016, where he won seven times, helped the Crimson Tide to the 2014 National Championship and was named a 1st team All-American in each of his three seasons.

Shelton finished third at the 2015 Barbasol Championship on the PGA TOUR, the highest finish by an amateur on the PGA TOUR since Phil Mickelson won the 1991 Northern Telecom Open.

Shelton earned exempt status for the 2017 season by winning the USA East #1 Q-School. He opened his 2017 season with finishes of T20-T14 and ranks 21st on the Order of Merit.

Shelton’s 2015 Walker Cup teammates Lee McCoy, Hunter Stewart and Jordan Niebrugge are also Mackenzie Tour members this season.

THEY SAID IT:

“This third week, I’ve kind of found my game. These guys are good, there’s no doubt about that. You know the (winning) number’s gonna be low, so you have to be comfortable going low. There’s going to be a certain number every week, and it’s going to take some low rounds and your bad rounds still have to be under par.” – Kevin Lucas on his first weeks competing on the Mackenzie Tour.

“I don’t see myself being in contention by the end of the day. I’ve played with Robby Shelton the last few days leading up to this event, and honestly I’d be happy to be within five.” – Freedom 55 Financial Open winner Lee McCoy on his respect for fellow competitor and 36-hole leader Robby Shelton.

“We’re good friends. I think he knows when I’m hitting it well, usually I play well. Hopefully I can play with him on the weekend – that would be fun.” – Robby Shelton on the friendly back-and-forth with McCoy.

“Going 4-over through four isn’t ideal, but I managed to bounce back. Two years ago at the Cape Breton Open, I was 4-over early and still ended up losing in a playoff, so I just kind of hung in there. The greens are really good and there were a lot of wedges out there, so I just kind of had to hang in and make some birdies.” – Taylor Pendrith, who started the day 4-over through four holes but managed a 3-under 68 on the day.

MORE PLAYER NOTES:

Kevin Lucas

Kevin Lucas is making his third career start on the Mackenzie Tour. He earned exempt status for the first eight events of the season at the USA West #2 Q-School in March. Lucas finished CUT-T59 in his first two events of the season.

Lucas played collegiate golf at the University of Nevada-Reno and won the Money List on the 2014 eGolf Tour. Lucas qualified for the 2015 U.S. Open at Chambers Bay.

Jake Knapp

Jake Knapp is making his 10th career start on the Mackenzie Tour. He earned exempt status for the 2017 season by winning the USA West #2 Q-School earlier this year.

Knapp opened the season with a T4 finish at the Freedom 55 Financial Open.

Last year, Knapp Monday Qualified as a non-member for the GolfBC Championship and finished T45. He would go on to earn conditional status for the remainder of the year as one of the top three non-members on the Order of Merit at the first re-shuffle.

Miscellaneous notes:

  • Weather: 22 degrees Celsius, partly cloudy with showers in the morning, winds calm in the morning, 26 km/h gusting to 43 km/h in the afternoon.
  • Two-time World Long Drive champion Jamie Sadlowski made the cut with rounds of 66-72 (T27). Sadlowski has conditional status on Tour this year and is playing on a sponsor exemption.
  • Daniel Mazziotta made a hole-in-one on the third hole, using a 7-iron from 175 yards.
  • The 36-hole cut came at 1-under 141, with 75 players at T58 or better making it to the weekend.
  • Click here for scores.