WESTON, Florida — Camilo Aguado had barely hit his drive on No. 14 Thursday when he heard the horn signifying the end of play due to darkness. Aguado will return Friday morning to complete his third round at the Mackenzie Tour’s first Qualifying Tournament, and he will do so with a comfortable cushion as he seeks Mackenzie Tour membership for the first time. The Colombian by way of Mexico City who currently lives in Miami after attending college in Alabama—did you get all that?—holds a five-shot lead over playing partner Jeremy Gandon. Aguado, currently a PGA TOUR Latinoamérica member, is at 18-under, with both players 3-under on the round played during a warm, sunny day at The Club at Weston Hills’ Players Course.
While Aguado has relied on quick starts in both of his first two trips around the Players Course, things began a little more slowly Thursday for the player who attended and played golf at Jacksonville State. Aguado started with two pars then made his first birdie of the day at the third hole. He added three more pars before giving the stroke back at the par-5 seventh, with only his second bogey of the tournament. He immediately bounced back with a birdie at the par-3 eighth, draining a five-footer. He made the turn to the back nine at 2-under.
After a two-putt birdie at 11 and a par at the 12th, he made the kind of shot that players in the lead make. Aguado missed the green with his tee shot at the par-3 13th. But because of all the rain over the first two days, officials allowed players preferred lies. When Aguado got to his ball that was 25 feet short of the green, he cleaned it and replaced it. Prior to hitting his second shot, though, he noticed the ball oscillated.
“I was making my practice swing and the ball moved. I called the rules official, and he told me because I didn’t do anything I could just play it,” explained Aguado, who proceeded to chip in for birdie to get to 18-under. “It wasn’t too hard. I could easily put it inside three feet, but it was a bonus to make it.”
Assessing his day overall, Aguado noted his work off the tee, from both a distance and accuracy standpoint. His putting was a bit more inconsistent. “I was a little [long] on certain putts then I missed a couple of really close ones—lipouts. I also made some,” he added. “So, it’s been a good round so far. I’m happy about the whole day.”
Gandon couldn’t mount a charge and was only able to stay even with Aguado, his playing partner. He made four birdies and a bogey during his 13-hole day.
The former Kansas State Wildcat was 2-under for the day when he made a disappointing bogey No. 8, hitting his tee shot long and unable to get up and down. He stayed in the mix, though, with birdie putts of nine feet at No. 10 and six feet at the 11th. Gandon also noted two good pars—at the fifth hole after short-siding himself with his approach shot and another at No. 13 when he again missed the green in regulation.
“I really kept the momentum going on those two holes,” he said. “It was solid today. I’m not striking it perfectly, but I’m not making a lot of mistakes. I’m pretty steady with my 3-under.”
Those players who did not finish their third rounds will resume play at 9 a.m., EST. Meanwhile, the final round will begin at 7 a.m. Once the third round is complete, officials will not regroup the players by score and they will continue playing in their third-round threesome.
Did you know Erik Flores was a member of the UCLA team that won the 2008 NCAA Championship? Flores, a four-time Pac-10 All-Conference first-team selection and a two-time second-team All-American, as well as a third-team player, was a mainstay on that Bruin team, along with current PGA TOUR player Kevin Chappell and former PGA TOUR player Lucas Lee. The Bruins defeated conference member Stanford by a shot in West Lafayette, Indiana, to win the school its 103rd national championship and first golf national championship in 20 years.
How the Tournament Works
Ninety-nine players began this week, and there are 95 remaining. Below is a breakdown of the various Mackenzie Tour membership statuses available this week.
|Medalist||Exempt membership for the 2021 season|
|2nd through 6th (no ties
|Exempt through the reshuffle, which will occur approximately halfway through the season|
|7th through 25th (plus ties)||Conditional membership|
- There will be playoffs, if necessary, for the medalist position and for the sixth and final position available.
- Matthew Siporin has had an interesting three days, improving by seven strokes each round after opening with an 8-over 80. In Wednesday’s second round, he shot a 73 and Thursday his 66 was the low score of the day among the players who completed their rounds. Siporin’s 66 came via seven birdies and a bogey.
- In 2016, Matthew Siporin held Mackenzie Tour status after tying for 16th at one of the Tour’s Qualifying Tournaments. In six starts that year, he failed to make a cut.
- Erik Flores is 8-under through 14 holes and is 10 shots behind leader Camilo Aguado. He is in position to earn status on the Mackenzie Tour for the first time, however. He opened 67-70 and was even-par Thursday, checking in at 8-under overall.
- Erik Flores last played a PGA TOUR-affiliated Tour in 2014, tying for 40th at the Korn Ferry Tour’s Stonebrae Classic outside Oakland, California, his lone start that season. Flores struggled with injures after playing full-time on the Korn Ferry Tour in both 2012 and 2013. Since not retaining his card in 2014, Flores essentially retired from golf, working in the restaurant business in Charlotte, North Carolina, running two restaurants, Bardo and VANA. “I decided to start playing again because I’ve always felt like I had unfinished business on the golf course,” said Flores. “Also, the COVID shutdown allowed me some free time away from the restaurants for a few months. I started practicing and playing again, so I decided to come back full-time this season.”
- The low amateur is currently Andrew Walker. He is 9-under midway through his third round. Walker is nine shots behind leader Camilo Aguado. Of the amateurs who finished play Thursday, Jon Moles is 6-under. He shaved six strokes off his previous-day’s score with a 5-under 67.
- Amateur Jon Moles played collegiate golf at Shorter University in Rome, Georgia. He has maintained his amateur status since finishing college in 2017. Thursday, Moles put himself into contention for Mackenzie Tour status with his 5-under 67 that included a four-in-a-row-birdie stretch, beginning at No. 13. He was 1-under through 12 holes when his hot streak began.
- Matthew Organisak had a difficult finish to his second round Thursday morning. He was at 7-under through nine holes but played his final nine in 3-over par, with three bogeys coming over his last four holes to shoot a 74. Organisak again had a difficult finish in the third round. At 1-under through 12 holes, he played his final six holes in 3-over to shoot a second consecutive 74. He’s 2-under with 18 holes to play.
- Jason Thresher is in his third year playing on PGA TOUR Latinoamérica. He has 30 career starts, including three in the Tour’s 2020-21 wraparound season. Thresher, a Bryant University graduate, also played in six of the eight LOCALiQ Series tournaments last summer and fall. He posted one top-10, a tie for seventh here at The Club at Weston Hills—on the Tour Course.
Quotable from the Players
“The pins are tough out there compared to the last two days.” –Camilo Aguado
“It’s going to be fun. It’s my first time here. I’m going to keep trying to make birdies. They have set up the course tougher, and the wind was coming off a different direction than Tuesday and Wednesday. So it was kind of weird to adjust. There are so many trees, and it makes it hard to know which direction the wind is coming from. It’s going to be fun tomorrow and a lot of golf—22 holes.” –Camilo Aguado
“I’m not thinking too much about it. I’m happy to be playing well. I just wanted to keep playing steady, with pars and birdies and I should be good after four rounds. We’ll see.” –Jeremy Gandon
“There were some tricky pins out there, I felt, more so than the other days.” –Jason Thresher
“My goal was to get to 15(-under) to start the final round and then see what [Aguado] did. We’ll see what happens Friday.” –Jason Thresher
Third-Round Weather: Sunny and warm all day. High of 84. Wind variable at 7-12 mph.