PGA TOUR Canada – Wyndham Clark, Cameron Davis share lead at Q-School

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PGA TOUR Canada - Staal Foundation Open presented by Tbaytel
The 18th Green at Whitewater Golf Club in Thunder Bay one of the stops on the 2015 tour

SPORTS – Denver, Colorado’s Wyndham Clark and Sydney, Australia’s Cameron Davis each opened with a 5-under 66 on Tuesday at the Country Club at Soboba Springs to share the first round lead at the Mackenzie Tour – PGA TOUR Canada’s USA West #2 Q-School.

Clark, a senior at the University of Oregon playing as an amateur, carded three birdies, two eagles and three bogeys, while Davis, the reigning World Amateur Individual champion, rebounded from an early double bogey with seven birdies to co-lead by one over Costa Mesa, California’s Jake Knapp and Mililani, Hawaii’s Jared Sawada through one round.

Clark was 1-over through eight holes before making an eagle on the 18th hole (his ninth), part of a stretch that saw him go 7-under for six holes.

“The eagle really got my round started. I had it really going for about six holes after that. It was good,” said Clark.

Davis, meanwhile, bounced back from his early stumbles with a flawless finish to his round to reach 5-under.

“I was hitting the ball pretty well all day,” said Davis. “I had a bit of a stumble on the third hole – I hit it right up against a tree I was actually aiming for. After that I played the back nine really well and didn’t make any mistakes.”

CURRENT SCORES FOR MACKENZIE TOUR STATUS: After 72 holes this week, every player inside the top 40 and ties will earn Mackenzie Tour status for 2017. Below is a breakdown of where the cut-offs stand:

1st (Exempt for 2017 season): -5/T1
5th (Exempt for first 8 events, subject to 2nd reshuffle): -3/T5
16th (Exempt for first 4 events, subject to 1st reshuffle): -1/T7
40th (Conditional status): +1/T35

BACKGROUND ON THE LEADER: Clark comes into the week as the No.1 player in Golfweek’s Men’s Collegiate Individual Rankings on the strength of two individual wins for the University of Oregon.

If the story sounds familiar, consider former Duck Aaron Wise, who played Mackenzie Tour Q-School in 2016 as one of the highest-ranked collegiate players in the nation, going on to earn medalist honours. The rest was history, with Wise winning the NCAA Individual Championship and then the Syncrude Oil Country Championship presented by AECON, ultimately earning a spot in The Five and status on the Web.com Tour.

Clark says that Wise’s success was part of the decision to compete for Mackenzie Tour status this week.

“Going through Canada is now a really good route to get to the Web.com Tour and the PGA TOUR. He did a great job, and seeing how he did helped to convince me to come here and do this,” says Clark.

Davis, meanwhile, turned pro in 2016 after a standout amateur career that included individual wins at the 2015 Australian Amateur and 2016 World Amateur. He narrowly missed out on earning a spot in The Masters after finishing second at the 2015 Asia Pacific Amateur.

Upon turning pro, Davis made a splash by finishing T15 after earning an exemption into the PGA TOUR’s OHL Classic at Mayakoba.

“I did feel like I played pretty well that week, and it was nice to know I could compete against guys that you only really see on TV. It was my first PGA TOUR event. It was nice to play well against a top field and see how I compared,” says Davis, 22.

Now based in Seattle, Davis says he’s making the adjustments of going from top level amateur golf to trying to find a footing in the pro ranks.

“All of a sudden, you’ve gone from being able to play in really amateur tournament you want to really scraping for starts,” says Davis, who has played a handful of Monday Qualifiers on the PGA TOUR since the T15 in Mexico. “It would be nice to have something to look forward to and a couple things to plan around.”

THEY SAID IT:

“Last year, I didn’t play a lot after Q-School, and coming into the Mackenzie Tour I didn’t play very much, so I didn’t feel tournament ready. This year I tried to play a lot of one-day events and three-day events just to keep myself fresh.” – Jake Knapp on taking a different offseason approach.

MORE PLAYER NOTES:

Jake Knapp

23-year old Jake Knapp played his way on to the Mackenzie Tour last year after being one of the top three non-members after the first re-shuffle of the 2016 season. He went on to make the cut in two of seven starts.

Knapp qualified for the U.S. Open in 2015, missing the cut with rounds of 74-76.

Miscellaneous notes:

  • Weather: 22 degrees Celsius, partly sunny giving way to drizzle, winds 7 km/h.
  • Golf Canada National Amateur Team member Stuart Macdonald opened with a 3-under 68
  • 19 players were under par at the end of day one.
  • Click here for scores.