OTTAWA – SPORTS – If Brock Mackenzie decides to take up another sport outside of golf, he might consider long-distance running.
The 35-year old from Yakima, Washington prevailed in a marathon seven-hole playoff over Spain’s Samuel Del Val and Langley, British Columbia’s Adam Cornelson on Sunday to win the National Capital Open to Support Our Troops, securing his third career Mackenzie Tour – PGA TOUR Canada win.
The win, which came thanks to a final round 3-under 68 and then a birdie on the seventh extra hole, moves Mackenzie to second on the Order of Merit with three events remaining.
“Winning is hard,” said Mackenzie. “It seems like it gets harder and harder on this Tour. The quality of guys goes up and up every year on this Tour so I don’t take it for granted, that’s for sure.”
Beginning the day three shots off the lead, the former University of Washington standout admitted he thought he was out of the tournament when Cornelson reached 17-under with three holes to go. Two closing bogeys for the Canadian, however, coupled with a Mackenzie birdie at the 72nd hole, changed the landscape of the tournament, and when Del Val managed two delicate par saves at the 17th and 18th, all three returned to the 18th tee for extra holes.
“I thought Adam had a stranglehold on it,” said Mackenzie. “Unfortunately he made those two bogeys and then all of a sudden the playoff started and chaos ensued.”
All three players made par on the first two extra holes, but Mackenzie put the pressure on after stuffing a 6-iron from 185 to four feet at the par-3 third hole. And while Del Val was able to keep pace after rolling in a long birdie putt, Cornelson’s dreams of a second victory in 2016 were dashed when he wasn’t able to cash in on a birdie try of his own.
“It was dumping rain and blowing 30 km/h, and everything else goes out the window. I just tried to battle and get it done,” said Cornelson, lamenting his bogey-bogey finish. “I was hitting a lot of good shots. Unfortunately, it didn’t go my way but if you give yourself a chance that’s all you can do.”
When the playoff resumed, Mackenzie kept the pressure on, hitting green after green and forcing Del Val to match. But the Spaniard, a two-time runner-up on PGA TOUR Latinoamérica, produced several tremendous up-and-downs for par to stay alive and force the playoff to a seventh chapter.
“I kind of thought I was going to win about three different times in that playoff,” said Mackenzie, admiring Del Val’s never-give-up mentality.
Eventually, Mackenzie’s ace ball striking paid off, giving himself a 12-foot look for birdie at the par-3 third that he poured in for the win seven hours and 44 minutes after he originally teed off in the final round.
“I’ve been in a few playoffs before,” said Del Val, “but definitely not a seven-hole playoff. It was a great battle. He made a great putt on the par-3 and I can’t do anything else but congratulate him.”
For Mackenzie, the win puts him in strong position to finish in The Five and earn a promotion to the Web.com Tour, where he played in 2015. Despite finishing second in Greens in Regulation, Mackenzie admitted to struggling on the greens last season and said he would relish the opportunity to get back to the Web.com Tour.
“I’ve played really good golf for probably the last three or four years,” said Mackenzie, who finished 97th on the Money List to retain conditional status. “Last year on the Web.com Tour I think I was the no. 2 ball striker on Tour, and I just putted poorly. Hopefully the putter is coming around and next year I’ll be up there doing what J.J. Spaun and some of the guys that have graduated up there are doing.”
Should Brock Mackenzie go on to finish in The Five, he would become the first player to ever finish in The Five twice, having finished fourth in 2014.
Mackenzie’s other two wins on the Mackenzie Tour came at the 2010 Bayview Place Island Savings Open presented by Times Colonist and the 2014 ATB Financial Classic.
In all three of his wins, Mackenzie has birdied the 18th hole on Sunday.
With his playoff loss, Adam Cornelson moved to No. 4 on the Order of Merit. With a win, he would have become the first Canadian to win twice in a season since Eugene Wong in 2012.
Earlier this year, Cornelson won the Bayview Place Island Savings Open presented by Times Colonist for his first career Mackenzie Tour win.
Cornelson made the cut while playing on a sponsor exemption at the Web.com Tour’s Price Cutter Charity Championship presented by Dr. Pepper last week and finished T71.
Samuel Del Val
Del Val ranks 14th on the PGA TOUR Latinoamérica Order of Merit this year. He moves to 16th on the Mackenzie Tour Order of Merit with the playoff loss.
“I worked pretty hard this winter to get my game to where it needed to be and fortunately I’ve been playing really well. Confidence is a big thing with me, and in Victoria it really grew and I’m trying to build off that. The push for the end of the season is coming quickly here.” – Adam Cornelson on his big step forward in 2016.
“I didn’t have anything to lose. I have my card safe here next year and I just tried to play aggressively to get a win. I set the strategy to hit a lot of drivers off the deck just to get myself in a position to get closer to the whole. I stayed aggressive all the way, even on the playoff.” – Samuel Del Val on his T2 showing.
- Weather: 22 degrees, showers heavy at times, winds at 20 km/h gusting to 35 km/h.
- Due to anticipated poor weather, round three tee times were moved up to 7:15 a.m. to 9:15 a.m. with threesomes off the 1st and 10th tees.
- Sunday’s seven-hole playoff marks the longest of the PGA TOUR-era on the Mackenzie Tour. The longest all-time playoff was 11 holes (Lee Chill def. Chris DiMarco, 1992 Willows Classic).
- Click here for boxscores.