Whitecap, SK – SPORTS – Bear, Delaware’s Eric Onesi shot a 5-under 67 on Saturday at Dakota Dunes Golf Links to build a four stroke lead heading into the final round of the SIGA Dakota Dunes Open presented by SaskTel, the fourth event of the Mackenzie Tour – PGA TOUR Canada season.
The 27-year old reached 19-under through 54 holes to lead by four over Pitt Meadows, British Columbia’s Justin Shin and by five over five other players and will look for his first Mackenzie Tour win on Sunday.
“It gives me a lot of confidence,” said Onesi of his 67 on a windy Saturday, where gusts in excess of 25 km/h made for tricky scoring conditions. “I didn’t try to go after anything and used a little more club here and there. I made some nice smooth swings and the ball reacted great most of the time.”
The 27-year old, who earned medalist honours at the British Columbia Qualifying Tournament earlier this year, added one more birdie for good measure at the 18th hole on Saturday by knocking an 8-iron from 165 yards inside 10 feet and rolling in the putt.
“I picked a nice line and it was a little closer than I thought it would be,” said Onesi of his approach. “To make that putt, especially in front of a whole lot of people, that gives me a lot of confidence.”
With one round to go, the Old Dominion University grad knows the field will be chasing him on Sunday, but said he felt comfortable with a simple approach to the final round.
“I don’t even know what the lead is, but I know I can only control myself and I know I control my own destiny,” said Onesi, who added that he has drawn confidence from his Q-School this week at Dakota Dunes. “I did it at Q-School, so I always tell myself ‘you’ve done it, just keep sticking to your gameplan.’ There are great players out here and they’re going to make birdies, but if I can make some birdies too, I’ll be a couple of shots better.”
Shin, who is making his first Mackenzie Tour start of the year on a sponsor’s exemption, fired a bogey-free 66 to hold solo second through three rounds. The 23-year old earned his first professional win earlier this year on the PGA TOUR China Series at the UI Real Estate Wuhan Open and currently ranks fourth on that Tour’s money list.
One shot back of Shin at 14-under were Chris Williams, Ross Beal, Ryan Brehm and Ben Silverman, who lost in a playoff at last week’s Syncrude Boreal Open presented by AECON.
NUMBERS YOU NEED TO KNOW
-19: Eric Onesi’s 54-hole score to par, matching Nick Taylor in 2013 for the lowest in tournament history.
197: Eric Onesi’s strokes through 54 holes, the fewest on the Mackenzie Tour this season.
4: Eric Onesi’s lead through 54 holes, the largest on the Mackenzie Tour this season.
“Obviously it was my first win as a pro, so that got me a lot of confidence to keep it going here. I’ve been playing really solid the last few weeks and I’m feeling good about how my game has come along.” – Justin Shin on the development of his game this season.
“It’s just building on the confidence I got from last week. Everything with my game feels solid and in control, so contending is more about where my head’s at. I’ve really stuck to my game plan this week and not paid too much attention to what the other guys are doing.” – Ben Silverman on keeping his solid play going after finishing T2 last week in Fort McMurray.
“I thought I was going to be near the middle of the pack and I barely made the cut, so I knew guys were going to go low and I didn’t really stress about that. It let me play kind of freely and hit some cool shots and make a few putts.” – Chris Williams, who matched the round of the day with a 7-under 65.
- Weather: Partly cloudy. 25 degrees Celsius. Winds 25 km/h.
- The Mackenzie Tour record for lowest first 54 holes is owned by Brock Mackenzie, who shot rounds of 65-63-67 (195) at the 2014 ATB Financial Classic at Sirocco Golf Club.
- The Mackenzie Tour record for the lowest 54 holes (any consecutive rounds) is owned by Ryan Brehm, who shot 64-66-64 (194) in the second through fourth rounds at the 2014 ATB Financial Classic at Sirocco Golf Club.
- 54 hole leaders or co-leaders have converted one of three leads into victory on the Mackenzie Tour this season.
- At the 2014 SIGA Dakota Dunes Open presented by SaskTel, Matt Harmon took a five shot lead into the final round and went on to win by three.
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