Blake Olson climbs leaderboard on Friday

Whitewater Country Club - Photo Courtesy of Tourism Thunder Bay

Whitewater Country Club - Photo Courtesy of Tourism Thunder BaySecond-Round Leaderboard Staal Foundation Open  

Pos.

Name Scores

T1

Blake Olson (U.S.) 66-64—130 (-14)

T2

Brett Coletta (AUS.) 67-65—132 (-12)

T2

Zach Zaback (U.S.) 68-64—132 (-12)

T4

Ian Davis (U.S.) 68-65—133 (-11)

T4

David Bradshaw (U.S.) 62-71—133 (-11)

T6

Stoney Crouch (U.S) 66-68—134 (-10)

T6

Hunter Stewart (U.S.) 67-67—134 (-10)

T6

Mark Anguiano (U.S.) 70-64—134 (-10)

T9

Michael Gellerman (U.S.) 70-65—135  (-9)

T9

Cole Miller (U.S.) 66-69—135  (-9)

T9

Greyson Sigg (U.S.) 67-68—135  (-9)

T9

Jake Duvall (Can.)  68-67—135  (-9)

T9

Cody Blick (U.S.) 64-71—135  (-9)

T9

Lee Hodges (U.S.) 69-66—135  (-9)

Full leaderboard: https://www.pgatour.com/canada/en_us/leaderboard.html

Thunder Bay — The only player in the field at Whitewater Golf Club without a blemish on his card through two days, Blake Olson has played as close to flawless golf as you’ll see and has jumped ahead to a two-stroke lead at the Staal Foundation Open.

Olson, coming into the event with momentum from three rounds in the 60s last week at the Windsor Championship, backed up a first round 66 with a six birdie, one eagle 64 for a 14-under total.

“It’s been getting close,” says Olson. “I’ve been talking to people and saying, ‘I’ve been playing well, but just haven’t been getting the results.’ I’ve been lucky enough to have two good rounds this week, but there’s still a lot of golf to play.”

After making birdie on his first hole, the Pensacola, FL native jolted himself up the leaderboard quickly on the par-5 third hole, striping a five-iron to six feet, which he would clean up for eagle moments later.

Adding two more birdies on the front to his three on the back, the 27-year-old happily signed for a 31-33 card, tying his low on the Mackenzie Tour this year.

“I’m a big fan of the golf course,” said Olson. “It’s just so different from both the first two weeks and the last two. The first two were tree lines and shorter, while the last two have been wide open with not many trees at all.

“This week is a mixture of both, but it’s a longer course, so you have to hit a lot of mid-irons,” Olson added. “Seeing low numbers like I shot today, I don’t think that will be the norm, I think it will be a grind on the weekend.”

Olson, who played seven events on the Web.com Tour in 2016, saw his best finish at a PGA TOUR-sanctioned event earlier this season at the Freedom 55 Financial Open where he came T10.  He is currently ranked 32 on the season-long chase for The Five and the Web.com Tour status that comes with it.

Nearest to Olson are Australian Brett Coletta and American Zach Zaback, who shot 65 and 64 respectively on Friday to move into a tie for second.

Key Information

  • Since missing the cut early in the season at the Freedom 55 Financial Open at Point Grey Golf and Country Club in Vancouver, Hunter Stewart has yet to score higher than 70 in a round on Tour. The American sits T4 after back-to-back 67s at the Staal Foundation Open. His scoring average during the 16-round stretch is 67.75.
  • Greyson Sigg has played all 20 of his Mackenzie Tour rounds this year at even par or better, shooting in the 60s in 17 of those rounds. The 11th ranked player on the Order of Merit begins the Staal Foundation Open 67-68 and heads into the weekend T8.
  • Windsor Championship winner Mark Anguiano put himself back into contention heading into the weekend with a second-round 64. The California native made four birdies on each side and looks to become the first ever player in the PGA TOUR era of the Mackenzie Tour to win back-to-back events.
  • Jamie Sadlowski made seven birdies on Friday to make his first Mackenzie Tour cut of 2018. The Canadian shot 72-67 the past two days to head into the weekend T42.
  • Cole Miller, who narrowly missed the cut at the U.S. Open last month, heads into the weekend in Thunder Bay T9. The American chipped in on the 18th hole for eagle on Thursday and made only a single bogey on Friday for rounds of 66-69.
  • Michael Gellerman, who came into the round far down the leaderboard following an opening-round 70, made four birdies and an eagle on the front nine on Friday for a 30. Despite two bogeys on the home stretch, an eagle on the par-4 16th helped him to a 65 as he heads into the weekend T9.
  • Alabama graduate Lee Hodges has made only a single bogey through two rounds of the Staal Foundation Open, shooting 66 on Friday with six birdies on the card.
  • Victoria, B.C. native Jake Duvall played his best golf of the season during the first two days in Thunder Bay, shooting 68 and 67 to head into the weekend T9, and is the low Canadian to this point.
  • Riley Wheeldon was hovering just above the cut line until late in his round when he jarred his 158-yard approach shot on the 9th hole, his last of the day. The holed 9-iron for eagle came after a birdie on the 8th hole, and moves the Comox, B.C. native to 8-under for the event.
  • Matthew Picanso rebounded from a double bogey on the 18th hole, his 9th of the day, with six birdies in his final nine holes to shoot 30 on his back half. The 68 moves Picanso to 8-under for the event and into a tie for 15th.
  • Coming into the week in second place on The Five standings, George Cunningham jumped 46 spots into a tie for 22nd after a second-round 66.
  • Amateur, and Golf Canada exemption, Joey Savoie followed up a respectable first day 72 with a 5-under 67 to head into the weekend T42. The Middle Tennessee State University product plays on Canada’s national amateur squad.

Quotable

“It’s just been easy golf. I’ve been hitting it pretty stripy this week and haven’t made any bogeys, so it’s been a pretty clean card. I’m in a good spot going into the weekend.”

Blake Olson  

“Yesterday, I got off to a slow start, being one over through eight. Going off early, mentally I wasn’t quite into it, but made a good birdie on 18 to turn and figured something out and shot 4-under on the back nine. I feel comfortable with my whole game and I played well today, I just wanted to build off that back nine and keep that going.”

Zach Zaback   

“I feel good! This is my third professional start out here, so it’s good to be in the mix and I’m sure I’ll learn something about myself the next few days. I’m hitting the ball well and making some putts out there, so I feel good about my game.”

Jake Duvall

“I think with the wind down, the soft condition and playing the ball up in the fairways, if you’re hitting fairways it’s pretty gettable and the greens are pretty receptive. It’s a good golf course; there are some long, long holes and that plays as an advantage for me, because I’m a long hitter.”

Jake Duvall

“I saw the scores after playing yesterday and I couldn’t believe how low people were going, but I guess that’s the standard these days on this Tour. Today my goal was just to have the best attitude that I could, yesterday I didn’t have my best attitude, it was tough after winning last week to get on the same track, but I did that today.”

Mark Anguiano

“I putted a lot better today. Yesterday I missed four putts inside 5-feet, which isn’t like me, usually I’m very solid from those distances, but today I made everything I needed to make and a couple 15-footers and it adds up to a 64.”

Mark Anguiano

Second-Round Weather: Sunny, High of 30. Wind 5 KM/h.