JORDAN NIEBRUGGE LEADS AT Q-SCHOOL AFTER 9-UNDER 6

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Fantastic conditions and great golf at the PGA TOUR Canada Staal Foundation Open
Fantastic conditions and great golf at the PGA TOUR Canada Staal Foundation Open

Cheque presentation on the 18th green at Whitewater Golf Club at the 2015 Staal Foundation Open presented by Tbaytel
Cheque presentation on the 18th green at Whitewater Golf Club at the 2015 Staal Foundation Open presented by Tbaytel

Second Round Leaderboard:

Jordan Niebrugge – 67-63 (-14)
Brant Peaper – 67-66 (-11)
Joey Petronio – 67-66 (-11)
Robby Shelton – 67-68 (-9)
Daniel Mazziotta – 73-62 (-9)

SPORTS – The path to the PGA TOUR Canada summer tour continues. The USA East Q-School is underway.

THE RECAP: Mequon, Wisconsin’s Jordan Niebrugge shot a 9-under 63 on Wednesday at Sun ‘N Lake Golf Club to take the 36-hole lead at the Mackenzie Tour – PGA TOUR Canada’s USA East #1 Q-School.

Niebrugge, a former standout at Oklahoma State University who gained notoriety for finishing tied for sixth at the 2015 Open Championship, recorded a Hole-in-One on the 13th and closed with a 7-under 29 on the back nine to lead by four over Tequesta, Florida’s Brant Peaper and Orlando, Florida’s Joey Petronio through two days at Q-School.

“I closed it out really well,” said Niebrugge, who made birdie putts from three feet, one foot and 15 feet on the final three holes. “I did everything really well. I hit 15 greens, I had 26 putts and hit a lot of fairways.”

Oddly enough, Niebrugge’s ace wasn’t the only one on Wednesday at 13, with Branson Davis notching an ace on the 166-yard par-3 earlier in the day.

“Didn’t even get the skin,” said Niebrugge with a laugh. “It landed about 10 feet short, took one hope and went right in.”

Peaper and Petronio both carded rounds of 66 to post 11-under par, while Fort Myers, Florida’s Daniel Mazziotta and Wilmer, Alabama’s Robby Shelton were two shots further behind in a tie for fourth at 9-under.

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): -14/1st

5th (Exempt for first 8 events, subject to 2nd reshuffle): -9/T4

16th (Exempt for first 4 events, subject to 1st reshuffle): -5/T15

40th (Conditional status): -3/T33

BACKGROUND ON THE LEADER: Niebrugge is no stranger to the big stage, having played in the Masters after winning the U.S. Amateur Public Links in addition to his major championship experience at St. Andrews in 2015.

After playing several PGA TOUR events on sponsor exemptions in 2016, the 23-year old is looking to work his way to the game’s highest level through the Mackenzie Tour.

His current Jupiter, Florida roommate, 2016 Mackenzie Tour member Jonathan Garrick, and former Oklahoma State teammate Wyndham Clark, who just earned status at the USA West #2 Q-School, were among the players who suggested he take his game to Canada this summer.

“There have been a few guys I’ve talked to that said ‘go out there and win it,’ just like any other qualifier,” said Niebrugge, who recently Monday Qualified for the Web.com Tour’s Chitimacha Louisiana Open presented by NACHER.

With two rounds to go and a three-stroke advantage in hand, the Wisconsinite knows he’s playing well and hopes to run through the finish line this week.

“It’s just a matter of keeping my head on straight and keep moving forward.”

THEY SAID IT:

“I just knew that I played well here in PGA TOUR Latinoamérica Q-School, and the scores weren’t as low as I thought they might be, and the top-16 was within reach of a solid round. I made a birdie on 18, my ninth, and that was huge to keep the momentum going from there.” – Daniel Mazziotta on a 10-under 62 on Wednesday.

“Honestly, my contact lens fuzzed up on me when I hit it and I couldn’t see the hole, so I was just told that it disappeared.” – Branson Davis on his hole-in-one from 168 yards on the 13th hole.

“I play with Trey (Mullinax) and Smylie (Kaufman) all the time, and I’m right there with them. Knowing I can play with them and they’re on the PGA TOUR, it gives me a lot of inspiration, and I look forward to actually getting there.” – Robby Shelton on taking inspiration from peers who have succeeded on the PGA TOUR.

MORE PLAYER NOTES:

Joey Petronio

23-year old Joey Petronio is looking to secure Mackenzie Tour status for the first time. The University of North Florida grad earned three individual victories while playing for the Ospreys and was teammates with 2016 Mackenzie Tour member Taylor Hancock.

Robby Shelton

21-year old Robby Shelton turned pro last June after a successful career at the University of Alabama, where he won seven times and won the Phil Mickelson Award as Freshman of the Year in 2014. Shelton was named a 1st team NCAA All-American three times at Alabama and helped the Crimson Tide to a national championship in 2014.

Daniel Mazziotta

28-year old Daniel Mazziotta is a two-time winner on PGA TOUR Latinoamérica. He claimed victory at the 2014 Mundo Maya Open and 2015 PGA TOUR Latinoamérica Championship.

Mazziotta earned Web.com Tour status in 2016 but struggled that season, making just three cuts in 19 starts. He played college golf at Florida Gulf Coast University.

Brant Peaper

Brant was a Mackenzie Tour member in 2014 and 2015, making five cuts in 21 starts including a career-best T35 finish at the 2014 Players Cup.

The 23-year old played college golf at Indiana University, where he was named an All-Big 10 1st team member in 2013 and won twice individually.

Miscellaneous notes:

  • Weather: 26 degrees Celsius (feels like 32), cloudy winds 20 km/h gusting to 30 km/h.
  • Branson Davis and Jordan Niebrugge both recorded a hole-in-one from 166 yards on the 13th hole. Davis used a 9-iron while Niebrugge used a pitching wedge.
  • 18-hole leader Kyle Peterman shot a 1-under 71 to sit sixth.
  • Former University of Georgia standout Lee McCoy was T33 after rounds of 71-72.
  • Daniel Mazziotta’s 10-under 62 represents the new competitive course record at Sun ‘N Lake’s Deer Run Course.
  • Click here for scores.