Courtenay, B.C. – SPORTS – Kansas City, Missouri’s Michael Letzig carded a 6-under 66 on Tuesday at Crown Isle Resort and Golf Community to take the lead through one round at PGA TOUR Canada’s British Columbia Qualifying Tournament.
The veteran of 114 starts on the PGA TOUR birdied his first four holes and made seven birdies to offset one bogey, giving the 34-year old a one stroke advantage over Waterloo, Illinois’ Collin Neeman, Galloway, Ohio’s Ethan Tracy and Taiwan’s C.T. Pan.
“I got off to a hot start birdieing the first four. I hit it close on the first three holes and made a 25-footer on four to keep the momentum going. It was nice to come through there in 5-under,” said Letzig.
After finishing 219th in the FedExCup standings in 2013 and losing his PGA TOUR status, Letzig said he has been practicing and playing in Arizona this winter in the hopes of kicking off a return path to the PGA TOUR through PGA TOUR Canada this season.
“I’ve been through this a little bit. I’ve been playing pretty good, just trying to stay warm down in Arizona,” said Letzig, who has made one start on the Web.com Tour this season, finishing T41 at the Chitimacha Louisiana Open.
Tracy, who finished tied for second at last week’s Lexus Panama Classic presented by World Jewelry Hub on PGA TOUR Latinoamérica, fired a 5-under 67 to share second with Pan and Neeman, managed a bogey-free round despite arriving in Courtenay late Monday evening after a missed flight out of Panama.
“I didn’t really know the course because I didn’t have a practice round. I came in here late last night and tried to hit my shots into the right areas of the fairways,” said Tracy, who ranks eighth on the PGA TOUR Latinoamérica Order of Merit. “It was pretty rough. I was scheduled to go out at 8:00 a.m. from Panama City. I left my hotel at 4:00 a.m. and I missed my flight. I just hit a lot of traffic and didn’t expect it to take that long.”
NUMBERS YOU NEED TO KNOW
$2,842,783: Michael Letzig’s career earnings on the PGA TOUR.
25: The number of players under par after round one.
2: Bogey-free rounds on Tuesday: Ethan Tracy (67) and Justin Bardgett (71).
The medalist this week will earn exempt status on PGA TOUR Canada for 2015. Finishers 2-18 will be exempt through the first six events and subject to the re-shuffle, with the rest of the top 40 (plus ties) earning conditional status. The cutoff for the top 18 through the first round was at 1-under, with the cutoff for the top 40 at 1-over.
“Justin Thomas is one of my best friends. I mean, I talk to him every day, multiple times a day. It’s motivating and inspiring at the same time. It lets me know that my best golf can be out there. He just said good luck. I haven’t played in a while, so he was interested to see how things were going. He’s so excited about getting in THE PLAYERS. Sawgrass is one of his favourite courses, and I think he had a practice round with Jordan Spieth, Jimmy Walker and Daniel Berger today.” – St. Simons Island, Georgia’s Cory Whitsett, who fired a 4-under 68, on University of Alabama teammate Justin Thomas, making his debut at THE PLAYERS this week.
“Look at these views. I hit a tree on one hole, and I looked over and I was like ‘This is a great view. I don’t really care.’ It’s unbelievable. I’ve never been up here. I told my dad, ‘I could have a bad round but the views are so good, I don’t really care.” – Waterloo, Illinois native Collin Neeman, on Crown Isle Resort and Golf Community and the surrounding area.
“I know Nick (Taylor) and Chris Williams pretty well. PGA TOUR Canada seems to be a pretty good option for us to come and play in the summer, and a lot of guys before me have done it.” – Taiwan’s C.T. Pan on fellow University of Washington alumni who have played PGA TOUR Canada. Former Huskies to have won on PGA TOUR Canada include Joel Dahmen, Brock Mackenzie, Chris Killmer and Joe Panzeri.
Weather: 13 degrees Celsius. Partly cloudy with scattered showers. Winds 11 km/h.
Calgary, Alberta’s Todd Halpen was the low Canadian (T10) after round one with a 2-under 70.
Among the others at 70/T10: 2012 The Players Cup runner-up Vince Covello, 2013 Order of Merit No. 10 Kyle Stough and former PGA TOUR Canada winner Jaime Gomez.
Four-time PGA TOUR Canada winner Stuart Anderson carded a 1-under 71.
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