Caledon, Ont. —When Paul Barjon is on his game – which, when you look at his year so far, seems to be all the time – he is difficult to beat.
And it doesn’t look like the Dumbea, New Caledonia native is slowing down anytime soon at the Osprey Valley Open presented by Votorantim Cimentos – CBM Aggregates.
After opening with scores of 64 and 66, improving upon his Mackenzie Tour-best scoring average of 67.05, Barjon fired a third-round 66 on the North Course at TPC Toronto at Osprey Valley and heads into the final round with a two-stroke lead over Canadian Taylor Pendrith.
“I played really good today,” said Barjon, who has been under-par in each Mackenzie Tour round thus far this season. “I hit the ball really well and then to make a few putts here and there, that’s what you have to do out here.”
Entering the round tied for the lead with playing-competitor JD Fernandez, Barjon got his round started by making an eagle on the par-5 1st. He held the lead by himself after that 25-foot putt dropped, and he wouldn’t let go of that position on the leaderboard all day.
After making his only bogey of the week on hole No. 4 (breaking a stretch of 49-consecutive holes without a bogey), the 2019 Bayview Place DCBank Open champion made a birdie on No. 6 before a thunderstorm sent players back to the clubhouse for close to 2-hours.
“I hit a lot of good shots, but the pins were pretty tough and the wind was blowing,” said Barjon. “After the delay I came out, hit it to about six feet on No. 8 and made my second eagle, which was really nice.”
On the back side, Barjon made birdie on No. 11, a long par-3 with a hazard on the right and the wind off the left, a hole he said would play a key role in determining the tournament’s champion.
“I just knew if I went a little long of the pin and a little left, I would have the straightest putt you can have there without going right at the pin,” said Barjon. “I had about a 30-footer left and made it, so that was really cool.”
With four top-10 finishes this season on the Mackenzie Tour, a victory would propel Barjon into first place on the Order of Merit.
Barjon will likely have a large crowd following along on Sunday, playing alongside Pendrith, who is in search of his first-career Mackenzie Tour victory.
“It’ll be fun, hopefully they cheer for me a little bit,” laughed Barjon. “He was in the group ahead of me and they had quite a few people following. It’ll be fun.”
With a win on Sunday, Pendrith would become the first Canadian to win on the Mackenzie Tour since Adam Cornelson in 2016 at the Bayview Place DCBank Open.
“I’m in a great position, and any time you’re playing in the final group on Sunday it’s a good thing,” said Pendrith, who finished third on the Mackenzie Tour Order of Merit in 2015. “I’m just going to go try to make as many birdies as possible and see what happens.”
- At the mid-way point of the 2018 season, five out of the top-10 players on the Order of Merit eventually finished the season inside the top-10.
- Following a T3 finish at the Lethbridge Paradise Canyon Open and a T8 finish at the Windsor Championship, Hayden Buckley, who currently resides in the No. 10 spot on the Order of Merit, has a scoring average 66.7 in his past 11 tournament rounds.
- Looking for his third-win of the season, Jake Knapp looks to join Dan McCarthy as the only players in Mackenzie Tour history to win three events in the first half of the season. Knapp would also become the second-fastest player to ever reach the $100,000 mark in a season.
- Playing in his first Mackenzie Tour event of the season despite entering the year with six guaranteed starts, 41-year old David Sanchez shot his second-consecutive 66 and hasn’t made a bogey in 27 holes.
- With only one blemish on the week, Brad Miller has played 42-consecutive holes bogey free and enters the final-round T7, looking for his first top-10 finish since the 2018 ATB Financial Classic (T10)
“It’s been a while for sure, being in the final group and having a chance to win, but hopefully there will be some more local support out here trying to root on a Canadian. I’ll just embrace it, have fun with it, and do what I’ve been doing. I’ve been hitting the ball well, I’ve been driving it great, and my putter is starting to heat up. I’m Just going to stay patient. It’s easy to get ahead of yourself, but I’m just going to stay patient and I’m going to try to make as many birdies as possible. I think it’s going to be a shootout.” – Taylor Pendrith
“We’ve had delays the last few weeks, so I’m pretty used to it. An hour-and-a-half, two hours, whatever it was it was, it was nice to reset and just figure out a game plan. I was even par at that point, but I was on a par-5 with a great drive, and I made birdie there. I chipped in on 10, so it got the round going. I had a sloppy three-putt on 14, but I had a nice finish, so that was good.” – Taylor Pendrith
“Every shot matters. If you fall from second to eighth, you make like, half of what you would have, it’s not even about the money, but rankings wise. Somewhere down the line, that $1000 is going to be pretty important and could determine whether you finish 10thor 12th on the order of merit. ” – Hayden Buckley
“During the last couple weeks, I’ve been hitting it well, but struggling with the putter. It sounds crazy, but I’ve been making easy birdies on the par-5s and then a couple short ones and have stayed out of trouble. I’ve found a way to keep it in play here, had a few three-putts, but really overall it’s been a grind from tee to green and made a few putts from outside 15-feet which I haven’t seen in weeks.” – Hayden Buckley
“I hit a great drive, had a good number to a pin that was somewhat on the left. I like to draw the ball, so it was a comfortable shot, the green softened up with the rain, so my shot stuck 10-feet from the pin.” – David Pastore
“It’s important to carry the momentum into Sunday. I saw a leaderboard after No. 17 and saw it was bunched up at 15-under where I was and I know Paul (Barjon) is playing really well and I don’t want to let him run away with the tournament, so it’s important to stay up there as well.” – David Pastore
“I’ve been hitting the ball solid this week and hit some more fairways today, so I didn’t put too much pressure on my putter, which I’ve been doing recently, so all-in-all it was good.” – David Pastore
“It’s funny, Stephen (Franken) and I joked about this today because we both went to NC State, I just happened to graduate in about 2001. My assistant coach at the time is now the head coach, and when I asked him about the coach he asked if I played at Vanderbilt, because that’s where he was before. I said, ‘no, I was at NC State’, and he gave me a funny look. But after playing a few holes with these guys, they see that I can play a bit, too.”– David Sanchez
“I don’t really know what my plan is. As of right now, I have a few other events scheduled in the next month or so, but with a good finish this week, that might change. That’s kind of just my life, going week-to-week, saying ‘we’ll see’, and then just going from there.” –David Sanchez
“(The rain delay) definitely helped me. I wasn’t hitting my irons super great, for whatever reason I was hitting them super thin. I was still driving the ball great and putting well, but my irons were just kind of off. To get that restart, to stretch out and treat it like a new round and just go on the range and get a good feel for something was great.”– Jake Knapp
“It’s a competition of who makes the most putts. If you’re hitting it well, you can get it closer, but I struggled the first day on the greens and didn’t make much on the front nine today. I didn’t have to work too hard for the birdies today, but tomorrow obviously I’ll be a couple back and will need to get the putter going early and close that gap as quick as possible.” – Jake Knapp
“It’s not easy to make birdies out here, but Paul (Barjon) is playing well and he’s been playing well all year; he’s just a solid player. You can’t expect him to come back to you, you have to figure he’ll make a couple more coming in and whether he’ll be at 20-under or something like that, I’ll have to shoot 7, 8, 9-under to test him.” – Jake Knapp
Third-Round Weather: Overcast. High of 25. Wind up to 20 KM/h.