The Mackenzie Tour – PGA TOUR Canada Tees Off in Saskatchewan

The players were followed by huge galleries of avid golf fans.
PGA TOUR Canada Staal Foundation Open the players were followed by huge galleries of avid golf fans.

THUNDER BAY – SPORTS – The Mackenzie Tour – PGA TOUR Canada season resumes this week with the SIGA Dakota Dunes Open presented by SaskTel, the fourth of 12 events on the schedule. Albin Choi (Toronto, Ont.) leads the Order of Merit, but just $1,085 separates Choi and the second and third places, held by Kevin Spooner (West Vancouver, B.C.) and Drew Weaver (Atlanta, Ga.), respectively.

At last week’s event in Fort McMurray, Spooner won in a marathon five-hole playoff over Talor Gooch (Choctaw, Okla.) and Ben Silverman (Thornhill, Ont.). Spooner, who earned a spot in the field via a top-20 finish at the Bayview Place Island Savings Open presented by Times Colonist, became the first non-member to win on the Mackenzie Tour since Max Gilbert at the 2013 Freedom 55 Financial Championship.

A look back at the 2014 SIGA Dakota Dunes Open presented by SaskTel
Grand Rapids, Michigan’s Matt Harmon entered the final round of the 2014 SIGA Dakota Dunes Open with a 5-stroke advantage over Sweden’s Robert Karlsson thanks to a 9-under 63 in round three. The 29-year old kept the field at bay with a 6-under 66 on Sunday to win by three over Edmond, Oklahoma’s Will Kropp, who shot 62 on Sunday. Harmon went on to finish No. 2 on the Order of Merit and earn conditional status on the Tour for 2015.

Race for The Five taking shape
The top five players on the 2015 Order of Merit will earn status on the Tour, making each shot and every dollar important. With all 50 cards to the PGA TOUR now coming from the Tour, it’s possible for players to move on from PGA TOUR Canada to the PGA TOUR in just over one year’s time. Here are the standings through the Syncrude Boreal Open presented by AECON (bold denotes Canadian):

1. Albin Choi – $37,310
2. Kevin Spooner – $36,575
3. Drew Weaver – $36,225
4. Adam Svensson – $25,617
5. Ben Silverman – $16,151

Race for RBC Canadian Open spots
The next three weeks on the Mackenzie Tour will see a hotly-contested race at the top of the Order of Merit, with the top three players through the Staal Foundation Open presented by Tbaytel gaining entry into the RBC Canadian Open, July 20-26 at Glen Abbey Golf Club. Tour in Canada this week for Nova Scotia Open
The Tour will be celebrating Canada Day this week by coming to the Great White North for GOLFest Nova Scotia and the Nova Scotia Open. Below are the names of players who have played on the Mackenzie Tour this year who are in the Nova Scotia Open field (bold denotes Canadian):

Buttacavoli, Michael Campbell, Peter Homan, Wes
McCoy, Nate Miernicki, Daniel Pastore, David
Pendrith, Taylor Renfrew, Cory Silvers, Mark
Svensson, Adam Williams, Ryan Wong, Eugene

The Roar Starts at Dakota Dunes

A win at Dakota Dunes certainly appears to be a harbinger of future success, with each of the last six champions earning status on the Tour or PGA TOUR in the following seasons. Below are the most recent winners and the levels they reached following their wins:

2014: Matt Harmon ( Tour)
2013: Wil Collins ( Tour)
2012: Matt Hill ( Tour)
2011: Joe Panzeri ( Tour)
2010: Will Wilcox (PGA TOUR)
2009: Andres Gonzales (PGA TOUR)

Golf Canada National Amateur Team Exemptions
At each regular Mackenzie Tour event, two sponsor exemptions will be awarded to current or former members of Golf Canada’s National Amateur Team. Alumni of the team to have played on PGA TOUR Canada include Graham DeLaet, Adam Hadwin and Nick Taylor. Below are the players teeing it up this week:

Justin Shin, Pitt Meadows, B.C.
Mitch Sutton, London, Ont.

Other Sponsor Exemptions:

Jerry Christiansen, Air Ronge, Sask.
Horacio Leon, Santiago, Chile
Pat Marcia, Regina, Sask.
Martin Ring, Prince Albert, Sask.
Mitchell Fox, Okotoks, Alta.

Monday Qualifiers
Below are this successful entrants from Open Qualifying, which took place at The Willows Golf Club in Saskatoon (bold denotes Canadian, * = PGA TOUR Canada member)

T-1. Aaron Cockerill (Gunton, Man.) – 65
T-1. Ben Briscoe* (Wales) – 65
T-1. Drew Preston* (Ada, Mich.) – 65
T-4. Josh Wytinck (Glenboro, Man.) – 67
T-4. Max Gilbert* (St-Georges, Que.) – 67
T-4. Jeff Hatten* (Farmington, Conn.) – 67
T-7. Clint Schiller (LLoydminster, Sask.) – 68
T-7. Brian Hughes* (Raleigh, N.C.) – 68
T-7. Yi Cao (China) – 68
T-7. Eric Frazzetta* (Long Beach, Calif.) – 68

Player Notes

  • Taiwan’s C.T. Pan, a four-time NCAA All-American and recent Ben Hogan Award finalist, will make his Mackenzie Tour debut this week. Pan, a graduate of the University of Washington, finished T64 at the U.S. Open and T25 at the Travelers Championship on the PGA TOUR the past two weeks. Pan finished second individually at the NCAA Championships in June. Pan earned his Mackenzie Tour status at the British Columbia Qualifying Tournament earlier this year.
  • Justin Shin (Pitt Meadows, B.C.), who currently sits fourth on the PGA TOUR China Order of Merit, will play this week on a sponsor’s exemption.
  • Players who earned a spot in the field at the SIGA Dakota Dunes Open presented by SaskTel thanks to top-20 finishes: Chris Trunzer (T4), Daniel Bowden (T8), Corey Conners (T12), James Erkenbeck (T12), Doug Letson (T17).
  • Matt Hill (2012) is the only past champion in the field this week.

Miscellaneous Dakota Dunes Open presented by SaskTel

  • 29 Canadians are playing this week, along with players from 14 other countries including the United States, Germany, France, England, Wales, Sweden, Finland, Puerto Rico, Chile, Australia, China, Taiwan, South Korea and French Polynesia.
  • The Great Waterway Classic champion David Bradshaw Monday qualified for the Greenbrier Classic on the PGA TOUR.


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