Phoenix, Arizona — In full control of his game, Jake Knapp has kept the ball in front of him through two days at Wigwam Golf Resort, backing up an opening-round 66 with a 69 to take a two-stroke lead into the third round of Mackenzie Tour Q-School.
“Today was about the same as yesterday,” said the two-time winner with the UCLA Bruins. “I hit it pretty solid and just didn’t roll in as many putts, but I gave myself a lot of chances and made it pretty easy on myself.”
Knapp became a well-known player, especially within California golf circles, after an excellent amateur and college career that included a trip to the U.S. Open in 2015, an appearance in the semi-finals of the Western Amateur and a run to the Round of 16 at the U.S. Amateur.
Opening his day with two birdies in his first four holes, the 24-year old made only a single bogey, which came at No. 10, and carded two more birdies to head into the third round at 9-under.
“Usually in a morning round you’re thinking you can go pretty low,” said the No. 57 finisher on the 2017 Mackenzie Tour Order of Merit. “Today it was windy early on, which made it tough, especially on those into-the-wind holes, it made it a much longer golf course.”
Knapp, known for his length off-the-tee, was the first to tee it up on Wednesday, opposite of where he will play tomorrow, in the final group alongside Jamie Sadlowski and Will Zalatoris.
If one thing is for certain, it’s that the last group to leave the tee-deck on Thursday will not lack firepower. At the 2017 GolfBC Championship, both Sadlowski and Knapp were in the finals of the pre-tournament long-drive competition, with Knapp sending one 384-yards to claim victory.
- Prior to the Mackenzie Tour’s arrival in the desert, the Dreamchasers Golf Tour hosted an event on the Gold Course at Wigwam Resort. Prepping for Q-School, Sadlowski entered and fired 69-67-67 to win the event at 13-under.
- Vancouver, B.C. native David Rose is right in the hunt after rounds of 70-71. The 29-year old looks to earn status for a second-consecutive year after finishing T4 at this same Q-School last season.
- Playing in the wind in the morning, Blake Cannon followed up an opening-round 69 with a 71 on Wednesday. A talented player out of Colorado State University, Tucker won two-consecutive tournaments during his senior year, the first included a final-round bogey-free 64. Cannon’s second victory came at the Tucker Intercollegiate, an event won by many successful Tour players including Tiger Woods.
- Sam Weatherhead had the round of the day at Wigwam, making seven birdies, including three in his final five holes, to bounce-back from an opening-round 74 with a 67.
- Though he has played in three PGA TOUR events and 12 Web.com Tour events, Cory Whitsett looks to plan out an entire schedule on a PGA sanctioned Tour for the first time in his career. The University of Alabama alum is well on his way, shooting rounds of 70-71 through two days.
- Bouncing back from an opening-hole bogey in the most extraordinary way possible, Matt Barry made a hole-in-one on his second hole of the day to get back into red figures for the day. The University of Missouri – St. Louis alum comes from an athletic family as his mom recently completed her first Ironman at age 52 and his dad qualified for the 2018 U.S. Senior Am. Barry shot 70 on Wednesday and is 1-under for the tournament.
- Jake Byrum, the son of past PGA TOUR winner Curt Byrum and nephew of another PGA TOUR winner, Tom Byrum, is well in contention to earn status through two days, currently 4-over and T55.
“Setting the pace, obviously you get good fresh greens and if you read them well, they will roll true and this course is in really good condition. Being the first group, you don’t feel like you have to rush and can just play at your own pace.” – Jake Knapp
“I’ve been battling a hand injury that started yesterday. When I woke up this morning I was not feeling well. I got off to a bad start, I started on 10 and made a bogey and then hit a hosel-rocket on 12 from the fairway. I ended up getting it up and in, but then my hand locked up for four holes and I hit a snap-hook on the par-4 14th, but ended up making par. Then I made birdie on 16 and started to feel a bit better.” – Jamie Sadlowski
“It was the ultimate grind round, it’s hard enough when you’re healthy, but battling an injury, I held it together and played beautifully on my back nine and turned what could have been a really bad round into a pretty nice round. Yesterday I felt great and shot three (under), today I felt horrible and shot four (under), so I’m in good position going into tomorrow.” – Jamie Sadlowski
“I had trouble loosening the hand up. I only hit a handful of balls, just to get going, but it’s easier when you see a few birdies go in. I’m not sure how I’m going to feel tomorrow, but there’s no alternatives, I just have to push and grind through the next two days.” – Jamie Sadlowski
“Last year at Q-School I played nicely and finished T9. At the start of the year, the game went to hell and I couldn’t get it going all year. But I played a prep event here last week and ended up shooting 13-under for three days and winning, so the short game has been really nice the past couple months and I’ve been putting well.” – Jamie Sadlowski
“I took full advantage of the par-5s today which made it a little bit less stressful than yesterday. I putt better, which is a good sign going into the last two rounds. Playing in the afternoon, the greens were a little bit firmer, so the next two days with afternoon tee times I’ll just have to aim a little bit more towards the middle of the greens to avoid being short-sided.” – Will Zalatoris
“All day it was rough. I hit three or four fairways, which is opposite from yesterday. I came up on 17 and 18 and it was straight into the wind, which is pretty tough. I pulled 3-wood out and hit really good shots and had wedges in. I had about 20-feet above the hole on 17, a putt that you really just have to touch and hope it goes in. I actually hit a bad putt and it went in, so I got away with one there and then 18, which was another tough pin, I hit one in to about 10 feet and rolled it in.” – Hayden Buckley
“It was good to bounce back and post 1-over instead of 2 (over) or 3 (over). I was never out of it, even if I shot three-over, but knowing I could get one or two birdies going into tomorrow was a huge turn of events for me.” – Hayden Buckley
How the Tournament Works
There are 120 players competing this week with hopes of earning Mackenzie Tour membership for the 2019 season. Below is a breakdown of the status available at each of the six Qualifying Tournaments:
|Medalist||Exempt for the 2019 season|
|2nd through 14th (no ties)||Fully exempt for the first six tournaments and subject to the re-shuffle|
|15th through 40th (plus ties)||Conditionally exempt|
Second-Round Weather: Sunny. High of 27. Wind at 20 KPH.