PGA TOUR Canada – Niebrugge a runaway freight train on moving day

602
Q-School at the PGA TOUR Canada British Columbia
PGA TOUR Canada

Third-Round Leaderboard

Freedom 55 Financial Open

Pos.

Name Scores

T1

Jordan Niebrugge (U.S.) 66-66-66 (-16)

T2

Zach Wright (U.S.) 70-63-72 (-11)

T2

Chris Williams  (U.S.) 65-67-73 (-11)

T4

Tyler McCumber (U.S.) 71-68-68 (-9)

T4

Jake Knapp (U.S.) 71-66-68 (-9)

T4

Matthew NeSmith (U.S.) 67-69-71 (-9)

T4

Cody Blick (U.S.) 66-66-75 (-9)

T8

Greg Eason (England) 68-73-67 (-8)

T8

Greyson Sigg (U.S.) 70-69-69 (-8)

 Full leaderboard

VANCOUVER, British Columbia—With consistency as his mantra, Jordan Niebrugge on Saturday shot his third consecutive sub-70 round, and he takes a five-stroke lead into the final round of the Freedom 55 Financial Open, the Mackenize Tour – PGA TOUR Canada season-opening tournament.

Niebrugge’s bogey-free 66 came after rounds of 66-68 the first two days. The Bridgeton, Mo., native’s closest chasers, Zach Wright and Chris Williams, shot rounds of 72 and 73, respectively, to give Niebrugge the substantial cushion.

“I played well today, just like the last couple days,” said Niebrugge. “When I got into trouble mid-round, I was able to get out of it. I just putted really well.”

Niebrugge had three top-three Mackenzie Tour finishes in 2017, including a tie-for-second showing here a year ago when Lee McCoy rolled to the title. Those finishes helped the Oklahoma State University alum to a ninth-place finish on the final Order of Merit.

What kept Niebrugge from winning at Point Grey a year ago was his inability to piece together low scores each day of the tournament, with a second-round 63 his only score under 70.

“I’m sticking to what I’m doing best and I’m hitting my irons really well and just getting opportunities on the green. I’ve gotten a lot the last few days,” said Niebrugge. “I’ve made my fair share of putts too, so it’s nice to see them drop.”

A few holes seemingly fit the 24-year-old’s eye. Niebrugge has birdied the first hole all three days and has played the fourth hole 4-under par for the week. On the back nine, Niebrugge has played holes 12-16 in 9-under par, best of the week there.

The grind was real on the back nine for Williams and Wright. Wiliams completed his final nine in 39 strokes, and Wright, who could only muster a 38. Both players held the lead for a short portion of the day in the morning.

Key Information

  • Greg Eason, who was forced to Monday qualify into the event after missing out on his card at Q-School, shot a 5-under 67 to head into Sunday T7. Eason was one of the Mackenzie Tour’s The Five in 2014 after making all but one cut on Tour. He spent the past three seasons on the Web.com Tour, but the 2017 campaign was tumultuous for the Englishman as he only made four cuts.
  • The third-round leader has gone on to win the last two Freedom 55 Financial Opens. A year ago, Lee McCoy held a three-shot, 54-hole cushion and cruised to an eight-shot triumph. In 2016, Dan McCarthy led by one through three rounds and won by a shot. In the first two years of the tournament, Jack Newman, in 2014, and J.R. Myers, in 2015, couldn’t hold on to their 54-hole leads, losing to Joel Dahmen and Drew Weaver, respectively. Newman went on to tie for seventh, while Myers tied for 10th.
  • Since making a bogey on the par-4 seventh, his 16th hole of the first round, Jordan Niebrugge has gone bogey-free for 38 consecutive holes. During that streak, he has 11 birdies and 27 pars. Niebrugge is also the only player in the field with scores in the 60s in his first three rounds (66-68-66).
  • In the history of the Freedom 55 Financial Open, Lee McCoy is the only player to shoot all four rounds in the 60s. In his eight-shot triumph in 2017, McCoy had rounds of 66-69-67-66.
  • In seven rounds at the 55 Freedom Financial Open, Jordan Niebrugge has a stroke average of 68.0
  • Jordan Niebrugge used his 6-under 66 to take a commanding five-shot lead into the final round. Joining him with low-round-of-the-day honors were Charlie Kern and Zane Thomas. They, too, turned in 66s. Kern had eight birdies and two bogeys, while Thomas had nine birdies and three bogeys. This is Kern’s first made cut in three Mackenzie Tour starts, while Thomas is making his Tour debut. Meanwhile, Niebrugge has made nine cuts in 11 career appearances, and he’s looking for his first victory after a pair of 2017 runner-up finishes.
  • All three Australians in the field made the cut this week. Leading the way are Ruben Sondjaja and Brett Coletta, who eagled his final hole of the day—making a 10-foot putt—to move to 5-under. Sondjaja had his worst round of the tournament, recording a 1-over 73 Saturday. Lucas Herbert opened with a 73 and has knocked two strokes off his score each day after that and checks in at 3-under, tied for 32nd.
  • Two years removed from a runner-up finish in Vancouver, Tyler McCumber is back near the top of the leaderboard following his second consecutive 68 that left him at 9-under and tied for fourth, with Jake Knapp and Matthew NeSmith. In 11 career rounds at Point Grey, McCumber is a combined 27-under, with nine under-par scores. A year ago, McCumber tied for 39th.
  • The top Canadians in the field is Riley Wheeldon, tied for 10th, following rounds of 70-69-70 (7-under). Wheeldon was runner-up in 2015, and he tied for 15th in 2014. The Comox, British Columbia, resident missed the cut the last two years. Wheeldon battled back from two back-nine bogeys with a birdie on the 17th followed by an eagle on his closing hole.

Quotable

“It was definitely the hottest day of the week, so the ball was going a little farther. Yesterday was a little cooler, a little rain but not much. It might rain a little more [Sunday], but we’ve been playing golf a long time, so we’ve played in everything and we’re going to be prepared.” – Jordan Niebrugge

“I just made some putts, I just got it in the fairway. I parred both par 5s on the back, which is a little frustrating, but was able to get some good stuff going there on that back nine.” – Jordan Niebrugge

“I hit a little foul ball on 12. I had two bad swings off the tee, but other than that it was just getting it in play. I had an issue on the back nine a little bit, but that’s golf. You’re not going to have it on every tee box, I’ve been playing good golf, so I’ll keep drawing on that.” – Zach Wright

You’ve gotta attack the par 5s out here; that’s part of the game plan, and as long as you’re in the fairway, there’s going to be lots of birdie chances [Sunday]. There might be rain, but you just gotta play with it. There’s no safe word.” – Zach Wright

“I thought it was the easiest today honestly. The pins might have been a tad easier, and the more you play a course the easier it gets. I thought the first two days were tricky, and today was a little easier.” – Riley Wheeldon

“After going 45 holes without a bogey and then making four in six holes, it was like the wheels were coming off. I didn’t feel any different, I just hit some bad shots in some bad places and made some bad bogeys. That happens out here.” – Chris Williams

I just kept telling myself there’s a lot of golf left. It’s only Saturday. I just maintained as much as I could and then luckily made birdie on the last, but it was a total grind.” – Chris Williams

Third-Round Weather: Partly cloudy and pleasant, with a high of 20. Wind at 5 kph.

Previous articleJohn Street Fire Leaves Four People Displaced
Next articleJune 3, 2018 – Northwestern Ontario Day STARTER
NetNewsledger.com or NNL offers news, information, opinions and positive ideas for Thunder Bay, Ontario, Northwestern Ontario and the world. NNL covers a large region of Ontario, but are also widely read around the country and the world. To reach us by email: newsroom@netnewsledger.com Reach the Newsroom: (807) 355-1862