WINDSOR, Ont. — Matching the Ambassador Golf Club course record on Thursday during the opening round of the Windsor Championship, Nathan Jeansonne takes a one-stroke lead into Friday following an eight birdie, one eagle 62.
Though he lost in a playoff earlier this season in San Diego at Mackenzie Tour Q-School, it was evident that Jeansonne would be a name to watch on Mackenzie Tour leaderboards after he was the only player in the field to play three-consecutive rounds in the 60s.
That became even clearer following his opening-day 63 at the Lethbridge Paradise Canyon Open just a few short weeks ago, making his first cut as a professional and eventually finishing T45.
Bringing the momentum out East with him, Jeansonne became the sixth player this season to shoot a 9-hole score of 28, doing so for the first time in his career on his first nine holes of the day.
“I came up to my last hole on my front (nine) and, I’ve shot 29 twice, but never 28, so I was like ‘okay I’m going to shoot 28’,” said the 22-year old. “Surely enough, I made my four-footer, which was nice.”
Opening with three birdies in his first four holes, Jeansonne knocked it tight on the drivable par-4 No. 14 before making another birdie on No. 16.
“I actually hit it pretty bad warming up this morning, but got out there and had some good numbers,” said the former top-10 high school recruit. “I drove it decent, maybe not as good as it usually is, but I hit my irons really well and putt really well.”
With 31 players within four strokes of the lead, the former team USA member from the 2015 Toyota World Cup in Japan knows that he’s going to need much of the same through the remaining three rounds in order to claim his first professional victory.
“The course is in perfect condition and if it stays like this with no wind for the most part you have to go pretty low every day to stay on top,” said Jeansonne. “Now I just have to forget about it tomorrow and start from scratch again; you have to put up three more good rounds to be in contention.”
Trailing Jeansonne by one heading into the second round are Charles Wang and Matt Gilchrest, who each posted an opening-round 63.
Meanwhile, Canadian Riley Wheeldon’s opening-round 64 was the lowest Thursday score of his Mackenzie Tour career. His previous low, a 65 at the first round of the 2013 Bayview Place DCBank Open, led to a third-place finish, which he followed up a few weeks later at the Syncrude Boreal with his lone Mackenzie Tour victory.
- It took Riley Wheeldon 69 Mackenzie Tour starts to open with a score of 64 or lower.
- At the Monday qualifier, Anthony Maccaglia missed four of his last five greens, getting up-and-down on each occasion to salvage a 69. Waiting around for six hours, he would eventually enter a playoff and made a 12-footer to qualify into the tournament. Maccaglia made nine birdies on Thursday afternoon to sign for a 64 in his first Mackenzie Tour start of 2019.
- Recent Vanderbilt alum and 2018-19 All-American Will Gordon has now played each of his first three Mackenzie Tour events with at least one round of 66 or lower. Coming into the event following a T22 at the Lethbridge Paradise Canyon Open that included an opening-round 60, Gordon opened with a bogey-free 65 on Thursday.
- In five tournaments rounds at Ambassador Golf Club, defending champion Mark Angiuao has never played a round in more than 66 strokes, needing that amount on Thursday to head into Friday T17
- Heading into the Windsor Championship, Charles Wang had missed four consecutive cuts, breaking par in just one tournament round. With his father on the bag for the first time in nearly 15 years, Wang opened the event with eight birdies and an eagle to sign for a 63.
- Finishing in the top-10 in six PGA TOUR Latinoameria events in 2018, Matt Gilchrest matched his low score in a PGA TOUR sanctioned event, opening with a 63 to head into the second round just one stroke off the lead.
- Knowing his way around Ambassador Golf Club, University of Michigan alum Kyle Mueller placed T11 at the event as a sponsor’s exemption in 2018. Gaining entrance this year based on his Mackenzie Tour status, Mueller opened with a 64.
“I didn’t do much last week. I chilled out and practiced a little bit, it was so hot back home and raining a ton, so I just hung out with some friends and played a couple rounds with them and money games, I think they emptied my (pockets).”– Nathan Jeansonne
“I think putting was what I did best today, I hit a lot of good putts. The greens are so pure out here, if you can start a putt on line it’s either going in or burning the edge and I got lucky and all the putts were sinking.” – Charles Wang
The course is in great shape and it’s very scorable as you can see from the leaderboard, you have players 8-under through 12 holes. If you can hit fairways out here, it’s almost like a wedge and putter game.” – Charles Wang
“When I was younger in junior tournaments my dad caddied for me, but he hasn’t been on the bag for a long time, it’s been almost 15 years. I think we work well together, my dad knows me so well and he’s been around my game for 17 years, even himself, he’s a scratch golfer, so he loves the game and loves to help out.” – Charles Wang
“I think that’s probably the best start I’ve gotten off to in my entire Mackenzie Tour career so it feels good to get out of the gates fast, I still had some areas I can clean up but I chipped in twice and it was solid. The golf course is gettable, so I didn’t really pay attention to what the other scores were, I knew I wanted to go low and it’ll be the same the rest of the way.” – Riley Wheeldon
“I spent the off-week in Rochester, New York, I played a couple times there but took it easy. It’s a long season so I got away from the game a bit. My game honestly felt really good the last few events, even though Lethbridge was a missed cut, I just played too many holes in the wind. I didn’t let that get me down, I played well in the pro-am and came into today feeling pretty calm and confident.”– Riley Wheeldon
“I mentally prepared to be pulled off the course. I looked at the weather report earlier this week and knew we’d face an afternoon storm, so I was mentally prepared and luckily it was a short one and there was little to no wind afterword, so it was a bit of a good thing.” – Riley Wheeldon On Thursday’s one-hour weather delay
“It was really good today. I’m fortunate just to be in the tournament. I Monday qualified in and, it’s my first start of the year, so I’m trying to make something happen and I’m off to a good start. The course is in great shape and I did a lot of things really well today.” – Anthony Maccaglia
“In May I Monday qualified into a Korn Ferry Tour event [Knoxville Open, where he shot 75-72 to miss the cut], but since then it’s been a struggle. The past two or three weeks I’ve put together some good rounds and I feel like I am in a groove and it’s nice to keep it going. When I got through the Monday, I was struggling the first five holes, but I turned it around and now 31 holes later I’m in a pretty good spot.” – Anthony Maccaglia
“Today was probably the best driving day I’ve had all year. Maybe I missed one or two fairways, I was just controlling everything well and it’s always nice playing from the fairway.”– Anthony Maccaglia
“Huge shoutout to my friend from high school, Tyson Alexander. He plays in the Detroit Tigers organization. He got called up, had his first start yesterday, five innings pitched and two earned runs, I’m happy for him and I wish I could have seen it. Quote of the day right there!” – Matt Gilchrest
“I was pretty in control of my ball and left it in the right spots and made some putts. From Texas, I’m just perpetually hot, the biggest challenge is just getting the right distance on the ball and the greens firmed up a bit. It’s not a really tough course but you still have to hit your wedges the right distances and I was pretty in control today.” – Matt Gilchrest
“It was a pretty boring front nine, got on the par-5s in two and just made birdie. On the back, which I think is harder, hit some good shots and got on No. 13 in two and made an eagle two on the par-4 No. 16, which is a tough eagle, so I was proud of that.” – Matt Gilchrest
First-Round Weather: Sunny and humid. High of 32. Wind 12 KM/h.