VANCOUVER – The Mackenzie Tour – PGA Canada is off to a fantastic start. The 2015 season started off in the opening tournament with a five person playoff to determine the winner.
Atlanta, Georgia’s Drew Weaver defeated Adam Svensson, Taylor Pendrith, Riley Wheeldon and Ross Beal in a playoff on Sunday at Point Grey Golf and Country Club, capturing his first Mackenzie Tour – PGA TOUR Canada title at the PC Financial Open.
The 28-year old carded a final round 3-under 69, including a clutch birdie on the 72nd hole to get into a playoff, then outlasted Svensson on the third extra hole to secure the win and the $31,500 first-place prize.
“It was an incredible finish,” said Weaver. “All week I tried to keep a level head, and thankfully I was able to maintain that in the playoff.”
The playoff finish capped a wild afternoon that saw several players make a charge to the top of the leaderboard. Pendrith, a Mackenzie Tour rookie from Richmond Hill, Ontario, was the first to post 12-under in the clubhouse after a chip-in eagle at the 72nd hole. Then, Beal, a fellow rookie from Uniontown, Ohio, matched him with an eagle putt from eight feet to share the clubhouse lead at 12-under.
Wheeldon, a Comox, B.C., native with one Mackenzie Tour win, joined them after knocking his approach from the fairway to within four feet and converting the putt, while Svensson, a Surrey, B.C., native playing on a sponsor’s exemption in his first Mackenzie Tour event as a professional, two-putted for birdie after finding the par-5 18th in two.
Weaver had previously reached 12-under with a birdie on the 11th hole, but bogeyed 14 to drop a shot behind. His brilliant approach from the 18th fairway found the par-5 green in two, and a two-putt birdie added his name to the sudden victory playoff.
After Wheeldon, Beal and Pendrith were unable to get good looks at birdie on the 18th in the first extra hole, Svensson and Weaver both converted from outside of five feet to keep the playoff going. A second trip up the 18th settled nothing once again, as Weaver two-putted for birdie and Svensson got up and down from just beside the green.
Both players found the 1st fairway on the third extra hole, with Weaver hitting his approach in a greenside bunker and Svensson running his through the back of the green into an awkward lie. After Weaver blasted out to tap-in range, Svensson ran his chip past the hole and lipped out his birdie putt, giving Weaver a tap-in for the win in his first Mackenzie Tour start.
“All I know is I’m glad that last putt was about four or five inches,” Weaver said afterward, wearing a look of relief on his face.
The win sees Weaver take the early lead atop the Order of Merit, with 11 events remaining to finish in The Five and earn status on the Web.com Tour for 2016, a perk the 28-year old said was the main reason for coming to Canada this summer.
“I’ve had very good summers the past four, five years and unfortunately haven’t had great falls in the [Web.com Tour Qualifying Tournament]. I made a very strict plan to come up here and build a bunch of momentum, and I’m excited for the rest of the summer. I’ll have 11 more opportunities to get in contention,” said Weaver, who won on the eGolf Tour earlier this spring.
Svensson, Pendrith, Wheeldon and Beal each earned $11,550 in a tie for second and comprise the remainder of The Five heading into next week’s Bayview Place Island Savings Open presented by Times Colonist in Victoria, B.C.
NUMBERS YOU NEED TO KNOW
13: Players who were within one shot of the lead after Weaver and playing partner Jay Myers teed off in the day’s final pairing.
-7: Combined score to par of the five playoff participants on the par-5 18th hole in regulation.
366: Taylor Pendrith’s measured drive on the 18th hole, leading to a 149-yard approach and an eagle chip-in.
PENDRITH WINS FREEDOM 55 FINANCIAL TOP CANADIAN AWARD
With a total score of 12-under, Richmond Hill, Ont.’s Taylor Pendrith claimed Freedom 55 Financial Canadian Player of the Week honours on Sunday along with a $2,500 prize. Each week, the top Canadian on the leaderboard will earn the award, with the top Canadian on the Order of Merit at season’s end earning the Freedom 55 Financial Canadian Player of the Year and a $25,000 prize.
Pendrith earned the win in a tiebreaker over Adam Svensson and Riley Wheeldon thanks to his final round 64.
“If somebody told me after day one that I’d be in a playoff, I’d have taken it for sure. It would be nice not to get off to that start next week. I’m happy with how I hung in there. It was just nice to have a chance to win in front of all these local fans.” – Riley Wheeldon, who opened with a 2-over 74 before playing the final 54 holes in 14-under.
“I’m really excited to get a good first tournament in and looking forward to the next ones. I wasn’t playing particularly well the first two days, so it was nice to post a low round today give myself a chance.” – Taylor Pendrith, who began the day six shots off the lead and posted the round of the tournament with an 8-under 64.
“I had fun and I’m not too disappointed. I thought that putt was in on my last playoff hole, but that happens. A lot of my buddies came out, family and friends, so it was fun. It builds my confidence even more.” – Adam Svensson on having a chance to win in his first Mackenzie Tour event as a professional.
Weather: 23 degrees Celsius. Partly cloudy. Winds 10 km/h.
David Pastore recorded the first hole-in-one of the Mackenzie Tour season, carding an ace from 157 yards with an 8-iron on the second hole.
As part of his victory, Drew Weaver received an AVIS car rental for a week. The winner of each Mackenzie Tour event will receive a free car for a week at any point during the summer as part of their win.
The top three non-members on the Order of Merit through six events of the 2015 season will be eligible for membership. Svensson ($11,550) is the top non-member, followed by Bryn Parry ($2,538) and Corey Conners ($473).
Ross Beal finished T2 at the Florida Qualifying Tournament earlier this spring.
Adam Svensson was looking to become the first sponsor’s exemption to win on the Mackenzie Tour since Eugene Wong at the 2012 Freedom 55 Financial Championship.
Eugene Wong, who posted his third top-10 in four starts on the PGA TOUR China Series this week, will make his 2015 Mackenzie Tour debut at the Bayview Place Island Savings Open presented by Times Colonost in Victoria.
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