CHASE WRIGHT TAKES SECOND ROUND LEAD AT ATB FINANCIAL CLASSIC
Second Round Leaderboard (Bold denotes Canadian):
Chase Wright 65-65 (-12)
Todd Baek 67-64 (-11)
Brandon McIver 67-65 (-10)
Greyson Sigg 69-63* (-10)
Patrick Newcomb 68-64 (-10)
Johnny Ruiz 67-65 (-10)
Yi Cao 68-64 (-10)
*indicates course record
By Brian Decker
Calgary –Indiana’s Chase Wright shot back-to-back rounds of 6-under 65 in rounds one and two to take a one-stroke lead over South Korea’s Todd Baek through 36 holes at the ATB Financial Classic, the eighth event of the 2017 Mackenzie Tour – PGA TOUR Canada season.
The 28-year-old, who is making his eighth career Mackenzie Tour start, hit 17 of 18 greens in regulation on Friday and made eight birdies on the day, including four birdies in his last six holes. Both of his bogeys were the result of three-putts.
“It goes back to patience and kind of accepting a bad or average shot,” said Wright, whose best finish in his first season on the Mackenzie Tour this year was T15 at the Players Cup. He entered this week on the heels of a T19 finish last week. “I haven’t been focusing on one thing, I’ve just been keeping it in front of me really well, and the speed’s been great on the green, so just keeping that up.”
This marks the first time Wright has held the lead on the Mackenzie Tour, but this isn’t completely new territory for him—Wright has played in 69 Web.com Tour events since turning pro in 2012 after graduating from Indiana University.
“It’s been about a year-and-a half, two years, since I’ve played this consistently,” said Wright, who held the lead after the first round of the Web.com Tour’s 2015 Price Cutter Charity Championship—his only lead on that tour after any round—before finishing T16.
“I don’t forget how to do it,” Wright said about being in contention. “If I just keep playing my game like I’m doing—if somebody beats me they beat me—but I can just control what I can control.”
BACKGROUND ON THE LEADER:
28-year-old Chase Wright is making his eighth career Mackenzie Tour start in his first season on the tour. In a season marked by four made cuts and two top-25 finishes, the Indiana University alum’s best finish was T15 at the Players Cup.
Wright earned status on the Mackenzie Tour by finishing sixth at the USA West #2 Q-School.
Since turning pro in 2012, Wright has made 69 starts on the Web.com Tour, where he’s notched 12 top-25 and six top-10 finishes. His best finish came at the 2015 Columbia Championship, where he was in solo second after the third round but went on to finish T3.
While a collegiate golfer at Indiana University, Wright was selected to the All-Big Ten First Team and PING All-Midwest Region Team as a senior. He also won the 2010 Indiana State Open.
ADDITIONAL PLAYER NOTES:
25-year-old Todd Baek is making his third Mackenzie Tour start of the season, where he missed the cut at the Staal Foundation Open and finished T50 at the Mackenzie Investments Open.
Since turning pro in 2012, Baek has made two PGA TOUR starts and 56 Web.com Tour starts. His Web.com Tour career has been marked by 25 made cuts and five top-10 finishes. Battling an injury this year, Baek has only made three Web.com Tour starts, all of which resulted in missed cuts.
Baek also started in three PGA TOUR Latinoamerica tournaments, all of which came in 2017. He missed two cuts and finished T46 in his other appearance.
23-year-old Brandon McIver is making his seventh career start on the Mackenzie Tour after earning status at the USA West #1 Q-School earlier this spring, where he bounced back from a third-round 78 with a final-round 65 to move up 26 spots and finish 11th.
The Montana native missed four cuts in six previous starts this year but is coming off a T60 at last week’s Syncrude Oil Country Championship presented by AECON.
McIver, a 2016 University of Oregon graduate, earned Second-Team All-Pac-12, PING All-Region West Team and Pac-12 All-Academic team honors as a junior and was a two-time Montana State Amateur Champion.
22-year-old Greyson Sigg is making his eighth career start on the Mackenzie Tour after earning status at the USA East #1 Q-School, where he competed as an amateur while still at the University of Georgia. He finished T3 at Q-School after posting rounds of 71-67-67-69 (-14).
In seven starts this season, Sigg has missed two cuts and posted back-to-back top-10 finishes in the first two events of the season. He entered this week on the heels of a T38 finish at last week’s Syncrude Oil Country Championship presented by AECON.
A 3rd team NCAA All-American and first-team All SEC selection, Sigg helped lead Georgia to its 29th league title at the SEC Championship in 2016.
27-year old Patrick Newcomb is making his fifth career start on the Mackenzie Tour this week and recently became the first player to win on both the Mackenzie Tour and PGA TOUR Latinoamérica after his playoff win over Max Rotluff at last week’s Syncrude Oil Country Championship presented by AECON.
Newcomb moved into The Five in the Order of Merit thanks to his win and is playing on the Mackenzie Tour out of a category for members of PGA TOUR Latinoamérica, where he ranks eighth on the Order of Merit thanks to a win at the Honduras Open presented by Indura Beach and Golf Resort.
Newcomb played college golf at Murray State, where he collected nine individual victories.
THEY SAID IT:
“Just have dinner. Kind of relax. I’m big into Netflix. “ – Chase Wright on how he is going to pass the time between his second and third rounds.
“Conditions are great. Greens are really firm and fast, especially in the afternoon, it was lightning.” –Todd Baek on the course conditions this week.
“This is the freshest I’ve felt this week, actually, in the last five [weeks].” –Patrick Newcomb on playing his 12th straight competitive week, which included events on the Web.com Tour, PGA TOUR Latinoamérica, the Mackenzie Tour and the Kentucky State Open.
“It’s cool to be in the category with Tony Finau. He’s out there on the PGA TOUR doing good things.” –Grayson Sigg on setting the new course record at Country Hills Golf Club with an 8-under 63 on Friday. The prior record of 64 was previously held by Tony Finau and Joe Panzeri—both shot 64 at the 2013 ATB Financial Classic.
“I hit my shot and kind of put my sunglasses down and said, ‘I have no idea where the ball is,’ and then we just hear the group on the next tee put their arms up and I put my arms up.” –Max Buckley on his hole-in-one, his second during a competitive round (first on the Mackenzie Tour) and fifth in his career.
“We went to Banff on Monday and we went up to what they call the Beehive. I think it took us 4 hours to get there and back. I was pretty sore the next day but it felt good. We actually jumped in the water up there which was pretty darn cold, but it felt great. It was kind of cleansing of all the bad stuff.” – Ryan Heisey on his trip to Banff prior to the tournament. Heisey shot a bogey-free 64 on Friday and is T11.
Weather: mostly sunny, with a high of 25 degrees Celsius. Winds 5-10 km/h in the morning and early afternoon. Gusts up to 17 km/h in the late afternoon.
66 players made the cut at 3-under-par.
The demanding par-4 10th hole was the toughest hole of the day, yielding only 7 birdies on Friday and playing to an average of 4.520.
Click here for scores.
Georgia’s Greyson Sigg set the new course record at Country Hills Golf Club with an 8-under 63 on Friday. The previous record of 64, which was recorded by Tony Finau/2013/R4 and Joe Panzeri/2013/R2, was matched during round two on Friday by 5 players (Todd Baek, Patrick Newcomb, Yi Cao, Cristobal Del Solar and Ryan Heisey)
The low Canadian through two rounds is Jamie Sadlowski, who posted scores of 67-67 and is T11.
New York’s Max Buckley carded an eagle on the par-5 13th and then made a hole-in-one on the par-3 14th. He played a 180-yard, 7-iron shot on the downhill 210-yard hole. Buckley shot a second-round 5-under 66 and is T29. The last player to make back-to-back eagles was Olin Browne, Jr. at the 2017 Mackenzie Investments Open presented by Jaguar Laval.
No. 2 in the Order of Merit Johnny Ruiz carded a bogey free 6-under 65 in the second round, which included an eagle on the par-5 13th. Only 442 dollars separates Ruiz from No.1 Robby Shelton, who is not in the field this week.
Calgary native and PGA of Canada professional Kyle Miller, who is playing on a sponsor’s exemption this week and is the first person with Cerebral Palsy to compete in a PGA TOUR-sanctioned event, shot first and second round scores of 101-88.
Third-round tee times will be from 7:57 am to 12:50 pm in twosomes off No. 1 tee.