Freedom 55 Championship Set to go for PGA TOUR Canada

Q-School at the PGA TOUR Canada British Columbia
Q-School at the PGA TOUR Canada British Columbia

by Brian Decker

LONDON Ontario – SPORTS – The Freedom 55 Financial Championship is the final of 12 events on the 2017 schedule, with three events in as many weeks to close out the race to finish in The Five and earn status on the Tour for 2018. The top 60 players on the Order of Merit through the Ontario Championship hosted by National Pines Golf Club make the field and retain exempt status on the Mackenzie Tour for the 2018 season.
The event returns to the Stanley Thompson-designed Highland Country Club for the third year, with the club taking on an expanded role as the event’s host organization.
Final stop in the race for The Five
This week’s Freedom 55 Financial Championship is the final chance for players to earn status on the Tour for next season. Below is a breakdown of the Tour status available by position on the 2017 Order of Merit.
No. 1
Exempt on 2018 Tour
Nos. 2-5
Conditional status on 2018 Tour
Nos. 6-10
Exemption into final stage of Tour Q-School
Nos. 11-20
Exemption into second stage of Tour Q-School
Hickok secures spot in The Five and Tour status
With his win last week at the Ontario Championship hosted by National Pines Golf Club, Dallas, Texas’ Kramer Hickok assured himself at least the No. 2 position on the Order of Merit and status on the Tour next year. Thanks to two wins and three runner-up finishes, the University of Texas alum has a firm grip on the No. 1 spot on the Order of Merit, with the only scenario allowing a change at the top being a Robby Shelton win this week and a Hickok finish of worse than 19th.
About Kramer Hickok:
Full name: Kramer Austin Hickok
Height/Weight: 5’11”/178 lbs.
Hometown: Dallas, Texas
Residence: Dallas, Texas
Birthdate: April 14, 1992
Education: University of Texas (2015, Geography)
Mackenzie Tour wins: 2017 Players Cup, 2016 Ontario Championship hosted by National Pines Golf Club
Bio: Was a two-time NCAA All-American at the University of Texas. Currently lives with three-time major champion and 11-time PGA TOUR winner Jordan Spieth. Earned Mackenzie Tour status with a T15 finish at the 2017 British Columbia Q-School. Won the Players Cup for first Mackenzie Tour win and added runner-up finishes at the Staal Foundation Open, National Capital Open and Cape Breton Open. Defeated Johnny Ruiz in a four-hole playoff to win last week’s Ontario Championship.
Mackenzie Tour statistical ranks: 2nd in birdies (181), 3rd in eagles (8), 3rd in scoring average (68.52), 1st in Top-10 finishes (5).
Hickok leads the way in the current top five heading into this week. In addition to Hickok being guaranteed at least the No. 2 position, Robby Shelton, Johnny Ruiz and Patrick Newcomb can finish no worse than fifth on the Order of Merit:
The Five through 11/12 events
Notes on season
Kramer Hickok
Two wins, three runner-ups, five top-10s
Robby Shelton
One win, two runner-ups, five top-10s
Johnny Ruiz
One win, two runner-ups, five top-10s
Patrick Newcomb
Two wins, four top-10s
Lee McCoy
One win, four top-10s
McCoy looking to hold on to ‘bubble’ position
Former University of Georgia standout Lee McCoy comes into the Freedom 55 Financial Championship on the verge of finishing in The Five and earning Tour status, currently holding the coveted fifth spot. The Tampa, Florida native started the season with a bang at the Freedom 55 Financial Open, where he won by eight and set the record for the largest margin of victory on the Mackenzie Tour.
Any player currently 26th or better on the Order of Merit has the mathematical possibility of moving inside The Five with a win this week. Below are players 5-26 and their minimum required finish to surpass McCoy in fifth place.
To reach No. 5
Minimum Required Finish
Max Rottluff
2-way 28th
Chase Wright
2-way 3rd
Hunter Stewart
3-way 2nd
T.J. Vogel
2-way 2nd
Mark Blakefield
2-way 2nd
Rico Hoey
2-way 2nd
Todd Baek
Solo 2nd
Cody Blick
Solo 2nd
Chad Ramey
Solo 2nd
Players 15-26
Du Toit looks to secure Top Canadian honours in first pro season
In just his first season as a professional, Kimberley, British Columbia’s Jared du Toit leads the way among Canadians on the Mackenzie Tour and is in position to win the Dan Halldorson Trophy as Freedom 55 Financial Canadian Player of the Year along with a $25,000 prize. The 22-year old Arizona State alum owns three top-10s and six top-25s this year and ranks 22nd on the Order of Merit heading into this week with $23,223 in earnings.
All eight Canadians who earned a spot in the field in London can win the award. Below are the eight Canadians in the field and their minimum required finish to surpass current top Canadian Jared du Toit.
To reach du Toit
Minimum Required Finish
Seann Harlingten
Vancouver, B.C.
Solo 9th
Ryan Williams
Vancouver, B.C.
2-way 6th
Aaron Cockerill
Stony Mountain, Man.
3-way 4th
Wes Heffernan
Calgary, Alta.
2-way 4th
Daniel Kim
Toronto, Ont.
Solo 4th
Michael Gligic
Burlington, Ont.
2-way 3rd
James Love
Calgary, Alta.
Solo 3rd
Khan redeems 2016 disappointment with narrow pass into London
Tucson, Arizona’s Jonathan Khan was the unlucky odd man out at last year’s Freedom 55 Financial Championship, barely missing out on a spot in London by less than $350 when he fell from 54th on the Order of Merit to 61st in the season’s penultimate week. After entering last week’s Ontario Championship hosted by National Pines Golf Club at 58th and missing the cut, he had to sweat out the weekend before safely advancing and making into this week at 59th in season-long earnings.
Notes on the field
  • Countries represented: United States (48), Canada (8), South Korea (1), Germany (1).
  • 30 players who earned status at Qualifying Schools this Spring.
  • 26 players who had never held status on the Mackenzie Tour prior to 2016.
  • Zimbabwe’s Scott Vincent and the United States’ Jake Knapp both qualified for this week but are not in the field.


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