Eagle on 18th Puts Taylor Moore atop the Leaderboard
THUNDER BAY – SPORTS – Round three of the Mackenzie Tour PGA TOUR Canada Staal Foundation Open started with calm conditions and a fog delay, that opened up to a beautiful day for golf. The quality of the play was very exciting as golfers repeatedly peppered the flag stick with shots.
Edmond, Oklahoma’s Taylor Moore eagled the 18th hole on Saturday at Whitewater Golf Club to shoot a 6-under 66 and take the 54-hole lead at the Staal Foundation Open presented by Tbaytel, the sixth event of the 2016 Mackenzie Tour – PGA TOUR Canada season.
The 22-year old rolled in a 30-foot putt for eagle on the final hole to lead by one shot over Irvine, California’s Tain Lee and two over a group of three players headed to Sunday in Thunder Bay.
“Obviously that was nice to see that go in. I was just trying to lag it down the hill there and get another shot going into tomorrow, and it happened to fall in, so it was a bonus,” said Moore. “The wind started blowing on the back nine, and I just stayed steady throughout.”
Starting the day three strokes off the lead, the University of Arkansas graduate started slowly but caught fire with a 5-under 31 on the inward nine to reach 12-under, with four birdies complementing his eagle at the last.
“I got it going on those holes into the wind. I hit a few quality shots and had some putts drop,” said Moore.
Sunday’s fourth round will put plenty on the line for Moore, who needs at least a two-way tie for second to move inside the top three on the Order of Merit and earn an exemption into the RBC Canadian Open next week. Still, the rookie pro said he would try not to get caught up in the moment and continue with what has worked for him so far this week.
“I’m just going to try to take it one shot at a time and stick to my gameplan and add ‘em up at the end. At the end of the day, it’s just another golf tournament and I’ll try to hit some golf shots and make a few putts,” said Moore.
Lee, who began the day with a two-shot lead, managed a 70 to sit at 11-under, while Corey Conners, David Skinns and Cameron Peck were a shot further behind heading into Sunday.
Taylor Moore is making his fifth career start on the Mackenzie Tour this week. At No. 6 on the Order of Merit, Moore needs at least a two-way tie for second this week to have a chance at moving inside the top three on the Order of Merit and earn an exemption into the RBC Canadian Open.
If Moore finishes in a two-way tie for second, he would would need the winner to come from outside the top-34 on the Order of Merit and the co-second place finisher to come from outside the top-6 to remain inside the top-3 on the Order of Merit.
If Moore finishes solo second, he would need the winner to come from outside the top-24 on the Order of Merit to stay inside the top-3.
Moore was named a 2014 and 2016 Honorable Mention All-American and was the 2012-13 SEC Freshman of the Year. He finished second in his pro debut earlier this year at the Bayview Place Island Savings Open presented by Times Colonist.
Moore earned exempt status through the first four events of the year with a T9 finish at the British Columbia Q-School.
Tain Lee is making his sixth career start on the Mackenzie Tour this week. His best career finish was a tie for 15th at last week’s Players Cup in Winnipeg.
Lee held good status on the Web.com Tour in 2015 but finished 159th on the Order of Merit after making just five cuts in 20 starts. He held the first round lead at the Chile Classic before going on to finish T30.
Lee won the Jack Nicklaus Award as the top player in Division III NCAA golf in 2010 while playing for Claremont McKenna College.
Corey Conners is making his third start of the season and 12th of his Mackenzie Tour career. The Listowel, Ontario native sits third on the PGA TOUR Latinoamérica Order of Merit this season with four top-10s and no missed cuts in eight events.
The member of Golf Canada’s Young Pro Squad is in his second season as a professional after a stellar amateur career that included a runner-up finish at the 2014 U.S. Amateur and a berth in the 2015 Masters Tournament. Conners played collegiate golf at Kent State, where he was twice named an NCAA All-American.
Conners finished third at the 2015 Staal Foundation open presented by Tbaytel, which earned him conditional status for the remainder of the season as one of the top three non-members on the Order of Merit through six events. Conners went on to finish 37th on the Order of Merit to retain exempt status for 2016.
Conners’ caddie this week is five-time Whitewater club champion Barry Caland.
Conners’ 64 matches the course and tournament record, which was shot four times in 2014-15 and earlier on Saturday by Long Beach, California’s Brett Lederer.
“I have a lot of confidence from playing well down there. I have a goal to keep getting myself in position and hopefully to win an event, and it’s great to have played well all year and know that I can trust my game,” said Corey Conners on building on his strong PGA TOUR Latinoamérica season so far.
“It helped my confidence being in that last group, playing with Dan and just seeing how everything worked out. I’m just feeling really confident right now and playing really well,” stated Cameron Peck, who played in the final group on Sunday last week at the Players Cup on the way to a T2 finish.
“Today was really difficult. I don’t know what time those 8-unders played, but I didn’t see that score out there myself,” commented Tain Lee on the difficulty of the course on Sunday and some of the low scores that were shot earlier in the day.
Brett Lederer Talks about Hot Third Round
- Weather: 23 degrees Celsius (feels like 26), partly cloudy, winds 20 km/h gusting to 30 km/h.
- Order of Merit leader Dan McCarthy shot a 4-under 68 to sit T13 at 7-under heading into Sunday.
- The top three players on the Order of Merit after this week will earn exemptions into the PGA TOUR’s RBC Canadian Open. Scores from the top five through Round 3: Dan McCarthy (-7/T13), Adam Cornelson (-1/T51), Max Rottluff (MC) Ryan Williams (-2/T46), Carter Jenkins (MC).
- NCAA individual champion Aaron Wise recorded a 1-under 71 on Saturday to sit T24 through three rounds.
- Preferred lies were in effect again for Round 3.
- Due to anticipated weather, Round 4 tee times will run from 7:15-9:15 a.m. with players teeing off the 1st and 10th tees in threesomes.
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