Canadian James Allenby takes Canada Life Open lead after second-round 63

The Mackenzie Tour - PGA TOUR Canada Staal Foundation Open
The Mackenzie Tour - PGA TOUR Canada

Vancouver, British Columbia—Hailing from Langley, British Columbia, James Allenby shot his career-low round on a PGA TOUR-sanctioned circuit on Friday at Point Grey Golf & Country Club, firing a 9-under par 63 to head into the third round of the Canada Life Open with a two-stroke lead over Jake Knapp.

A sponsored exemption this week, the 34-year old played in four separate one-day competitive events in May leading up to the Canada Life Open. He set the course record in three of those rounds and tied his own course record in the fourth.

The numbers in those rounds? A 65 in the local RBC Canadian Open qualifier, a 63 at Sandpiper Golf Course and a pair of 61s at Mission Country Club and Chilliwack Golf Club during local Vancouver Golf Tour events.

“It’s a rhythm for me right now, it’s all I can describe it as. It’s not something that I think about, it’s not on my mind, I just go out and continue doing what I’m doing,” said Allenby following Friday’s second round. “I’m putting really well and usually that’s what it takes to shoot really low numbers.”

It wasn’t just the putter that was hot for Allenby on Friday at the Mackenzie Tour’s season opener, but all facets of his game.

Starting on hole No. 11 due to the tournament’s modified back-nine start, Allenby began his day 1-under through six holes, but gained momentum as he made the turn that included three par-5s in a four-hole span, playing his next seven holes 7-under par.

Tacking on one more circle on his final hole of the day, Allenby bested his 65 from the 2013 Canada Life Championship with a bogey-free 63 to move to 13-under for the week.

“This is where you want to be,” said the former All-American with the Oregon Ducks. “It’s a lot of fun and there’s still a lot of work to do, but hopefully I can keep this rhythm I have going and take it through to the finish.”

A journeyman who’s played 69 Mackenzie Tour events since 2009, Allenby’s best year came in the form of an 18th-place finish on the Order of Merit in 2012. In his career, Allenby has 16 top-25 finishes on the Mackenzie Tour.

Though a stint on the PGA TOUR Latinoamerica came with mixed results in 2018, finishing 93rd on the Order of Merit, Allenby has found success in recent years on various mini-tours, picking up nine-professional victories since 2017. Despite his game trending in the right direction, he’s still searching for status on a professional tour.

“It’s a grind, sometimes it’s not fun, but I have to get myself out there. I have to give myself enough shots at getting on a tour somewhere, anywhere,” said Allenby. “It hasn’t worked out for me yet so far, but I know it’s there and I know the game is there, it’s just a matter of time.”

On Allenby’s heels is 24-year old Jake Knapp, two-strokes back at 11-under par following a second-round 68.

Key Information

  • Jake Knapp is well acquainted with Point Grey Golf & Country Club’s fairways. Having played 10 tournament rounds at the course, the UCLA Bruins alum has been under par nine times.
  • The Winter Series Order of Merit winner in 2018 on the All-Pro Tour, Eric Ricard, who was a four-year letterman with the Louisiana State University golf team, shot a bogey-free 65 and heads into the third round T5.
  • After a one-over par front nine, Case Cochrane shot 30 on his back nine on Friday to sign for a 5-under 67, putting him just three-strokes off the pace heading into the weekend.
  • Despite starting his round 3-over on his first eight holes, first-round leader Brian Carlson fought his way all the way back to red figures, making four birdies the rest of the way to sign for a second-round 71.
  • 2017 Canada Life Championship winner Paul Barjon was in fine form on Friday, making nine birdies on his way to a second-round 64. The New Caledonia, France native is T5 heading into the weekend.
  • Heading into his final hole 2-over for the day, and two strokes off the cut line, Canadian Hugo Bernard clutched up and made eagle on the 18th hole to sign for an even-par 72 and secure his spot on Saturday’s tee sheet.
  • After missing the cut by a single stroke at the Canada Life Open in 2018, Hunter Stewart played his first two rounds this season without a bogey on the card, firing 69 on Thursday and 67 on Friday to enter the weekend T8.

Quotable 

“Today was my second or third time playing with him. I know his game; he swings really good and has a lot of speed. He rolls the putter well too, there’s lots of potential there.” – James Allenbyon playing partner and fellow Canadian Chris Crisologo. 

“I made a crazy bogey on the par-5, No. 1. I had 248-yards and wanted to bust a hybrid and overcooked it, thank God I found it. A playing competitor said he thought it might have went in the hazard, but I ended up finding it and made a mess of a bogey. Later I lost a ball and made double on hole No. 8. I just doubled crossed a 5-iron, but I stayed patient and hung in there and made birdie on No. 9, which really helped me after the double, and I made birdie on No. 12 which helped me some more. I three-putt the last which will haunt me for probably the next hour.” – Brian Carlson

“I like being in contention. I love competition, so it’s always fun.”– Brian Carlson 

“I did not hit it well on the front and all my putts lipped out, it was a weird first nine holes. I stayed patient and dug in and it was a deciding point of the event where you have to determine what kind of tournament it’s going to be. Are you going to be around the cut or play well? I dug in and played well.” – Case Cochran 

“I hit two or three 8-irons to six feet on hole No. 11, 15 and 17, so those birdies were pretty great.” – Case Cochran

“Canada is great. This is my first time in Canada at all. I had heard nothing but amazing things and I’m staying with a great host family, and he’s actually caddying for me, so it’s just awesome.” – Case Cochran

“The course got a little softer and the ball started sliding off the face a little bit more, so you have to be smart with the shots you’re picking. I would say it started coming down pretty good by the time we finished hole No. 4, so our last six or seven holes we played in decent rain and that’s a tough stretch to play in the rain, so you have to be smart and pick some conservative lines. – Jake Knapp on the mid-round downpour 

“This is where you want to put yourself every week. You want to give yourself a chance to win going into the weekend and ideally into Sunday, so I’ll stick to the same game plan, maybe change a few things up depending on what some guys do today, whether I’m a couple back or tied for the lead, but I’m super excited to put myself in this position.”– Jake Knapp

“It went a bit better than yesterday. Yesterday I actually played pretty good but hit some average drives in the woods and I tried to go for it still and didn’t respect the course. I was trying to be aggressive and that didn’t work out well and I made a double bogey and a bogey, but today I went in the woods a couple times and laid up. I saved it once, but I played more how the course is supposed to be played with more irons and 3-woods off the tee, which is usually what I like to do. There are some big trees around the fairways, but I hit my lines today and made quite a few putts.” – Paul Barjon 

“This is, in my opinion, the most beautiful part of Canada, so it’s always nice to come play these good courses. It’s in pristine shape today and yesterday and will be the rest of the days, so it’s fun.” – Paul Barjon

“My coach, my parents and my fiancé have all helped me out in my career and my host family here. I have a good group of people, and my caddie from here, he’s caddied for me a few times and he knows my game, so that’s very helpful.” – Paul Barjon

Second-Round Weather: Overcast/Rainy. High of 12. Wind 10 KM/h.