Dan McCarthy Rides Hot Round to Top Player’s Cup

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Q-School at the PGA TOUR Canada British Columbia
PGA TOUR Canada

WINNIPEG – SPORTS – Mackenzie Tour – PGA TOUR Canada Order of Merit leader Dan McCarthy took a big step towards solidifying his commanding lead atop the season-long money list on Friday, shooting a 7-under 64 at Niakwa Country Club to take the 36-hole lead at the Players Cup.

The Syracuse, New York, native recorded a hole-in-one on the par-3 second hole to go with another eagle, five birdies and two bogeys on the day, earning him a one-stroke lead over James White and Sam Fidone through two rounds in Winnipeg.

The PGA TOUR Canada is in Winnipeg this week, headed to Thunder Bay for the Staal Foundation Open starting on Monday at the Whitewater Golf Club.

“You never expect it. I hit a really good shot, but whenever it goes in the hole it’s always a little bit lucky,” said McCarthy of his ace, the sixth of his life and fourth of his professional career. “It landed about 12 feet short of the hole and we saw it rolling, and then it just disappeared. I was hoping it went and my celebration wasn’t for nothing, I was hoping it didn’t go over the green.”

With two victories already this season at the Freedom 55 Financial Open and GolfBC Championship, McCarthy entered the week with more than twice the earnings of Order of Merit No. 2 Adam Cornelson. Still, the 30-year old said he expects to feel some nerves on Saturday as he looks for his third win of the year.

“I should be comfortable with it, but there’s always a bit of anxiety being in the lead and in the final group, so it’s a good test every time,” McCarthy said. “You learn what happens to you in the moment, but you’re still going to be on edge.”

One shot behind McCarthy were White, playing in a sponsor exemption this week, and Fidone, who ranks No. 5 on the PGA TOUR Latinoamérica Order of Merit.

“Being a sponsor exemption this week, I really want to try and finish in that top 20,” White said. “That’s still a big priority of mine so I can play next week as well, and if I get a chance to win I’ll go for it.”

Fidone, who shared the first-round lead after opening with a 64, said he wasn’t as sharp as he was on Thursday but managed a good score to give himself a chance on the weekend.

“In the beginning of my round I was not finding a lot of fairways but ended up scrapping it in and got lucky on a 30 footer on 18 – hit the pin and went in for birdie,” Fidone said. “On the back nine I really dialed in my driver, made a few putts coming in and took advantage of the par 5s.”

NOTES:

Dan McCarthy

Order of Merit leader Dan McCarthy’s 7-under-par 64 on Friday was his 18th consecutive under-par round to open the 2016 season. With the round, McCarthy is now 76-under par for the 2016 season.

McCarthy is mathematically guaranteed to be in the top three on the Order of Merit through next week’s Staal Foundation Open presented by Tbaytel and will earn a spot in the RBC Canadian Open – his first appearance in a PGA TOUR event.

In his previous two victories this season, McCarthy was T1 at the Freedom 55 Financial Open and T2 at the GolfBC Championship through 36 holes.

James White

Sponsor exemption James White shot an 8-under 63 on Friday to sit tied for second through 36 holes. The Acworth, Georgia, native is making his first career start on the Mackenzie Tour and owns one T2 finish on the Web.com Tour.

In March, White played the USA East No. 1 Q-School in Kissimmee, Florida, and finished 72 holes inside the number to earn exempt status for the first four events of the season, but was disqualified for failing to sign his scorecard.

White played collegiate golf at Georgia Tech and was named an NCAA 1st team All-American in 2011.

QUOTABLES:

“Major mistake on my part. Now, to get a chance to come back out here, I’m super grateful for that. It was definitely something to learn from, but just realizing that I was good enough to play out here, I just took that away from it. If I keep playing that well, eventually it will work out.” – James White on his disqualification from Q-School earlier this year.

“I worked on my putting a lot last week, because I felt like that was holding me back. At the last event, I think I missed in two days and missed the cut, so I went back home the week off, and it was common sense what I had to do.” – Tain Lee on his improvement in play this week in Winnipeg.

“I like this golf course, and it suits me more than Pine Ridge. I like Pine Ridge, but I never seemed to play well there and this place suits my eye a little better, so hopefully I can play well this weekend.” – Michael Gligic on the difference between Pine Ridge and Niakwa.

“I’ve been playing not that great this summer, so I’ve been working really hard on my game and it’s just starting to click a little bit. I made a lot of putts today, and that makes it easy.” – Cameron Peck on his improving play this week.

Miscellaneous notes:

  • Weather: 25 degrees Celsius (feels like 29), Partly cloudy, winds 6 km/h.
  • Order of Merit leader Dan McCarthy recorded a hole-in-one on the second hole with an 8-iron from 173 yards.
  • Niakwa Country Club returns as host of the Players Cup for the first time since 1984, temporarily replacing Pine Ridge Country Club, which hosted the event from 2000-2015. The Players Cup will return to Pine Ridge in 2017 and alternate with Niakwa through 2019.
  • After the conclusion of next week’s Staal Foundation Open presented by Tbaytel, the top three players in the Order of Merit will qualify for the PGA TOUR’s RBC Canadian Open on July 21-24.
  • Oklahoma’s Will Kropp rebounded from an opening 5-over 76 with a 9-under 62 on Friday to set the new competitive course record.
  • Gunton, Manitoba’s Aaron Cockerill was the only Manitoban to make the cut, sitting at T28 through 36 holes.
  • Burlington, Ontario’s Michael Gligic is the low Canadian through 36 holes at 9-under (T6).
  • Click here for boxscores.