Victoria, BC – PGA TOUR Canada – Yakima, Washington’s Brock Mackenzie rode a streak of five birdies in a row to card a 4-under 66 on Friday at Uplands Golf Club and build a two stroke advantage heading into the weekend at the Bayview Place Island Savings Open presented by Times Colonist.
The 2010 champion made a tricky up-and-down at the par-4 18th to keep his two shot cushion intact, a fact he knew would be significant heading into the weekend with a tightly-packed leaderboard. 10 players were within five shots of the lead after 36 holes, including five within three.
“You never want to finish a round where you grinded all day and you’re kind of exhausted by giving one back,” said Mackenzie. “Every stroke when you’re out in front is so important. It’s one more mistake that I can make and one less mistake than guys behind me can make.”
The 32-year old got off to a shaky start, going 1-over for his first seven holes before righting the ship in a big way. He carded five straight birdies on holes 8-12 to jump out in front and turn a tough round into a solid one.
“I was treading water,” said Mackenzie of his start. “The first seven holes I just was real scrappy. It was a nice stretch. I needed that.”
Calm winds and soft conditions in the morning gave way to swirling breezes and firm greens on Friday, setting up a test Mackenzie expected to see in the late afternoon on the weekend.
“It was playing tough, but that’s kind of what I’m going to expect for Saturday and Sunday too,” said Mackenzie. “It was good to get a taste of it, and I settled down during the middle of the round and started hitting some good shots.”
Two shots behind Mackenzie were North Dakota’s Josh Persons and New Mexico’s Tim Madigan at 9-under par, while Florida’s Michael Buttacavoli and California’s Jake Sarnoff were a shot further behind at 8-under. Vancouver Island native Riley Wheeldon of Comox, British Columbia, who finished third here last year, carded a 1-under 69 to sit tied for eighth heading into the weekend.
MADIGAN IN THE HUNT
When Las Cruces, New Mexico’s Tim Madigan turned pro, it looked like playing professionally would be a cakewalk for the New Mexico State alum. Now in his fourth year as a professional, a little experience has helped the 25-year old gain a little perspective on the game as he plays his first year on PGA TOUR Canada.
“My pro debut was at the New Mexico Open in 2011 when I set the scoring record there and happened to come out on top. I thought the game was very easy then, and I quickly learned that it wasn’t,” said Madigan after a 64 on Friday that left him 9-under through two rounds and two back of leader Brock Mackenzie. Through 36 holes at Uplands, Madigan maintained a clean scorecard without a single bogey.
After a T-15 finish to start his season at the PC Financial Open, Madigan is squarely in the hunt through 36 holes at Uplands, and said he was just happy to be getting the experience
“It feels great,” said Madigan. “It’s just a pleasure to be out here, and to be on top hopefully by the end of the day would be great. But just to be out here is an absolute privilege.”
DAHMEN ON THE MEND AND IN THE HUNT
After winning his first title on PGA TOUR Canada at the PC Financial Open last week, Washington’s Joel Dahmen didn’t have much time to celebrate. Instead, he spent the following days laying low and recovering from a nasty cold in his hotel room. With opening rounds of 66 and 67 this week at Uplands, however, the 26-year old isn’t showing any ill effects, and said it actually may have helped him contend again this week.
“I think being sick was almost a blessing, so I could just kind of rest and hide in my room and let it all blow over,” said Dahmen. “Sometimes you can get caught up in the win and not play so well the next week. I think that getting to lay low actually helped me.”
Currently four back of leader Brock Mackenzie, Dahmen said it was a struggle during Thursday’s first round to find the energy to compete, but that he’s in a good spot to try and pick up where he left off last week at Point Grey.
“I was a little shaky the front nine of my first round. I was pretty tired,” said Dahmen. “I got some food in me and started to eat and actually felt really good the last 27 holes I played. I’m in a good spot. I’m looking forward to the weekend.”
- Weather: 18 degrees. Winds 20 km/h, gusting to 30 km/h in the afternoon. Sunny.
- 76 players made the cut at 1-under par (T-58). The largest cut ever on PGA TOUR Canada was 80 players at the 2001 TELUS Edmonton Open.
- Victoria native Cory Renfrew shot a 3-under 67 to sit tied for 11th at 5-under.
- Bogey free rounds: Tim Madigan (64), Michael Buttacavoli (64), Curtis Yonke (64), Josh Persons (65), Dan Miernicki (65), Ryan McCormick (66), Andrew Vijarro (66), Cory Renfrew (67), T.J. Bordeaux (67), Jeff Corr (67), Jordan Krantz (67), Ted Brown (67), Robert Karlsson (68).
- Cory Renfrew tweeted on Friday night that he would be donating $5 per birdie and $20 per eagle on the weekend to the Children’s Health Foundation of Vancouver Island, with Riley Wheeldon indicating he would match him.