PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Florida — Firing his third-consecutive round in the 60s at the Dye’s Valley course at TPC Sawgrass, Chase Parker battled back from a double bogey on his second hole and made birdie on his final-three-holes of the day to sign for a 68 and takes a one-stroke lead into the final round.
“I got off to a pretty poor start, three over after three, but I didn’t panic and I made two quick birdies right after to set me in the right direction,” said Parker. “It was playing harder than it had all week with the wind, but I just stayed patient and the last three holes are pretty easy and I took advantage of them.”
The University of Kentucky alum managed to avoid bogeys the rest of the day following the slow start, firing a 32 on the back nine to leap ahead of Dalton Ward and Grant Leaver, who trail by one.
“if (the slow start) had lingered on longer it would have been harder and harder to get back from it, but it felt like I had easy holes ahead of me and I was okay,” said the 28-year old, who’s on his sixth-straight week of competition after playing mini-tour events around the South. “I’ve been grinding pretty hard, it hasn’t all come together yet, but I’m playing pretty well this week.”
With Web.com Tour status in 2017, Parker picked up a fourth-place finish at the The Bahamas Great Abaco Classic on his way to a 112th-place finish on the Order of Merit.
With a victory tomorrow, Parker would join fellow medalists David Wicks, John Coultas, William Gordon and Jake Knapp who are fully exempt through 2019 on the Mackenzie Tour.
“I’m not too worried about that, I’m just trying to win a golf tournament,” said Parker, who finished 64that the 2016 U.S. Open. “I’m trying not to worry about what it means or what it gets me. I know I’m in a good spot, it’ll be playing hard again tomorrow with the weather coming in, so I just have to keep my head down and grind it out.”
Get to know Chase Parker:
- The top Canadians on the leaderboard following the third round are Austin James (T12) and Daniel Kim (T17). Austin James has made two cuts in seven career Mackenzie Tour starts while Kim finished in spot No. 42 on the 2017 Mackenzie Tour Order of Merit.
- Canadian Brandon Lacasse was the biggest mover after the third round, leaping 46 spots to T43 despite opening rounds of 78 and 74. The Central Arkansas alum made seven birdies on his way to a 66.
- Following a T2 Mackenzie Tour Q-School finish in 2018 at the same venue, Justin Doeden made five cuts, finishing in 66thplace on the Order of Merit. Riding a bike in Montreal following the Mackenzie Investments Open, where he closed the year out with a T12 finish, the University of Minnesota grad tore his ACL. After an offseason of rehab, Doeden returns to Mackenzie Tour Q-School and posted a third-round 68 to move to T9 heading into the final round.
- Top amateurs on the leaderboard Christian Bosso, who fired a third-round 65 to move to T20 and Jorge Garcia, who fired a third-round 73 to move to T12, may be seeing a lot more of each other in the coming weeks. With Garcia’s Barry University currently No. 1 and Bosso’s University of Western Florida No. 3 in the NCAA Division II poll, the two seniors may be paired together at various times in the regional championship.
- 2018 Ohio Amateur champion Brandon Hoelzer continued his brilliant display of golf at TPC Sawgrass on Thursday, backing up back-to-back 69s with a 70 to move to T6.
- Keenan Huskie, who picked up three collegiate wins with the University of South Carolina, rebounded nicely from an opening-round 74 with a Wednesday 68. Improving again on Thursday, Huskey made six birdies on his opening nine on his way to a 7-under 65.
Tournament fast fact
University of North Carolina alum Will Register elected to watch the latest episode of Game of Thrones for the second time following his second round on Wednesday. When asked his plans for Thursday night, Register says he plans to watch the episode for a third time.
“It was pretty tough out there; the wind was a big factor. Those tee shots get a little tighter with water on one side with some wind. I didn’t hit it particularly well, but my short game pulled me through again and I managed to keep it in front of me for the most part. I birdied No. 16 and 17 and had a good look on 18, but missed it, so it was a good finish to a day that felt not so good, but I just kind of managed.” – Grant Leaver
“I hit a few good ones, but I have a lot of work to do. My ball striking has gotten progressively a bit worse through the week, but that’s golf. I’ll head to the range and maybe find something.” – Grant Leaver
“It’s definitely something to play for. If I get on a roll down here and get into some Web events or something like that, I don’t have the pressure to start in Canada, I could stick down here, so the ability to free up your schedule is something to play for.” – Grant Leaver On the opportunity to gain 12-guarenteed starts
“I started out with a couple of pars and then I got it to two under quick. I made a bogey and two more birdies and was three-under through eight, then made bogey on nine. It was a little tougher today, the wind was blowing more, I didn’t quite have my best stuff, but I just played pretty solidly and managed to make a lot of pars. 71 today with the way I hit it is decent and I’ll be ready tomorrow afternoon.” – Dalton Ward
“Today was kind of stressful for some reason. I got it around and tried to stay in my rhythm and my routine. I got an eagle on 17, those last four tee shots set up for me. I hit a low punch cut driver, not a full one, and the shape of the holes set up perfectly for that, so I just ripped that and then hit a 5-iron under the wind.”– William Register
“Any Q-School is more stressful than a regular tournament. In Canada you know you’ll have four, six, 12 events, here you only have one to get there, so it’s more stressful over the four days. I think that’s why you try to talk a bit just to loosen up and settle down and get your mind off things.”– William Register
“Game of Thrones is awesome to me. You’ve got violence, love stories and so many plot lines. I might re-watch it for the third time tonight.” – William Register
“I needed to make up a lot of ground, maybe not a lot, I guess, but I knew if I shot something around six-under that would be what I was looking for. It was pretty easy, I just hit a bunch of greens and pretty much had a good look at birdie on pretty much every hole and I made a few putts.” – Keenan Huskey
“I was just getting in a rhythm where everything, for a lack of a better word, got easy. I hit the fairways and greens and I feel really good with my putter right now, I feel like anything inside twenty feet I’m going to make.” – Keenan Huskey
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|
Third-Round Weather Report
Partly cloudy. High of 26. Wind ESE at 14 kmh.