Round 3 – GolfBC Championship
Third Round Leaderboard:
Robby Shelton – 63-68-65 (-17)
Adam Webb – 70-64-65 (-14)
Johnny Ruiz – 71-65-64 (-13)
Cody Blick – 66-68-66 (-13)
Jake Knapp – 66-66-68 (-13)
By Brian Decker
KELOWNA B.C – Sports – Wilmer, Alabama’s Robby Shelton cruised to a 6-under 65 on Saturday at Gallagher’s Canyon Golf and Country Club to extend his lead to three shots at the GolfBC Championship, the third event of the 2017 Mackenzie Tour – PGA TOUR Canada season.
The former University of Alabama standout made five birdies and an eagle against just one bogey on the day, finishing the day with a six-foot birdie putt at the 18th hole to lead by three over Ridgeway, Virginia’s Adam Webb heading into the final round.
“I’m striking it really well, and a few putts fell for me on the front nine to get the momentum going,” said Shelton, a three-time 1st team All-American at Alabama and a past U.S. Walker Cup team member. “I just cruised and everything’s working out for me.”
Beginning the day with a one-shot lead, Shelton found himself tied with Webb, Camarillo, California’s Johnny Ruiz and Costa Mesa, California’s Jake Knapp in the early going but put together a flawless front nine, capped by a 50-foot birdie putt at the ninth to take the outright lead.
“I’m throwing darts, and luckily a few putts fell,” said Shelton, who said the three-shot cushion puts him in the driver’s seat for Sunday’s final round. “I can put it on cruise control and hopefully someone doesn’t go stupid low.”
The 22-year old also benefited from some local knowledge on Saturday, with Gallagher’s Canyon Club Champion Dwayne Henry as his caddie for the weekend.
“It was great. He definitely helped me with some reads, and it’s pretty cool to have the club champion on the bag,” said Shelton.
Webb shot a 6-under 65 to hold solo second, while Ruiz, Knapp and Danville, California’s Cody Blick were a shot further back in a tie for third at 13-under.
BACKGROUND ON THE LEADER: As an amateur, Robby Shelton was consistently among the top players in college golf. He played at the University of Alabama from 2013 to 2016, where he won seven times, helped the Crimson Tide to the 2014 National Championship and was named a 1st team All-American in each of his three seasons.
Shelton finished third at the 2015 Barbasol Championship on the PGA TOUR, the highest finish by an amateur on the PGA TOUR since Phil Mickelson won the 1991 Northern Telecom Open.
Shelton earned exempt status for the 2017 season by winning the USA East #1 Q-School. He opened his 2017 season with finishes of T20-T14 and ranks 21st on the Order of Merit.
Shelton’s 2015 Walker Cup teammates Lee McCoy, Hunter Stewart and Jordan Niebrugge are also Mackenzie Tour members this season.
Shelton has held the solo lead after each round this week. The last player to lead outright after each round at a Mackenzie Tour event was Joel Dahmen at the 2014 Syncrude Boreal Open presented by AECON.
The last player to hold at least a share of the lead after each round of a tournament was Adam Cornelson at the 2016 Bayview Place Cardtronics Open presented by Times Colonist.
THEY SAID IT:
“I was just thrilled to play the weekend and to go try and shoot a great score. I love playing as a single, so that was awesome for me. I tried to birdie every hole and give myself a good look, and I played well.” – Jared du Toit on a 10-under 61 on Saturday, which set the new Gallagher’s Canyon Course Record.
“I was just trying to keep breathing. I’ve been really working on my breathing techniques and I put them into play today. It creeps in your head if you get that low, especially after 12 holes, but I made a bogey on my next hole and that kind of brought me back down to earth.” – Johnny Ruiz, who was 9-under though 12 holes, on the pressure of getting well under par.
“It’s finally one of those weeks where I’m putting everything together. The first two weeks, I’d have rounds where I’d drive it well and not putt well and vice versa. This week I’ve done a little bit of everything correctly, so it’s just coming around when it’s supposed to.” – Adam Webb on carding rounds of 70-64-65 to sit solo second.
MORE PLAYER NOTES:
29-year old Adam Webb is making his 14th career start on the Mackenzie Tour. Last year, he recorded three top-25s and one top-10 to earn a spot in the Freedom 55 Financial Championship and retain exempt status for 2017.
Webb played collegiate golf at Longwood University, where he recorded two individual wins. He owns two mini tour wins as a professional on the eGolf Tour and GPro Tour.
Jake Knapp is making his 10th career start on the Mackenzie Tour. He earned exempt status for the 2017 season by winning the USA West #2 Q-School earlier this year.
Knapp opened the season with a T4 finish at the Freedom 55 Financial Open.
Last year, Knapp Monday Qualified as a non-member for the GolfBC Championship and finished T45. He would go on to earn conditional status for the remainder of the year as one of the top three non-members on the Order of Merit at the first re-shuffle.
23-year old Johnny Ruiz is making his seventh career start on the Mackenzie Tour. Earlier this year, he earned exempt status for the first eight events of the season with a T2 finish at the British Columbia Q-School.
Ruiz had conditional status on the Mackenzie Tour in 2015 and missed the cut in all four starts. He did begin playing golf until age 14 and notched his first pro win at the 2016 Monterey Open.
- Weather: 21 degrees Celsius, cloudy, winds 5 km/h gusting to 10 km/h.
- Playing in the day’s first tee time as a single, Jared du Toit shot a 10-under 61 to set the new Gallagher’s Canyon course record. The former Golf Canada National Team member is playing on a sponsor exemption this week.
- Two-time World Long Drive champion Jamie Sadlowski shot a 4-under 67 and was T17 after three rounds.
- Click here for scores.