WESTON, Florida — Slow and steady is paying off for the 27-year-old Mickey DeMorat. He has played his first 36 holes bogey-free and has jumped to the top of the leaderboard, holding a one-stroke lead at the PGA TOUR Canada Qualifying Tournament at The Club at Weston Hills.
“I played pretty solid the last two days,” DeMorat said after Wednesday’s round. “The conditions have been pretty tough out there with a little bit of wind in the afternoon. The greens are very firm, and some of the pins today were in tricky, undulating spots, so I thought I did a good job of just keeping the ball in the middle of the green and taking advantage of a couple of the wedge shots I was able to hit close.”
And take advantage he did, tying the low score of the day, at 5-under and jumping four spots to No. 1 with two more rounds to go.
“I didn’t do anything too special,” he added. “With four rounds you don’t have to go crazy low in any one round, so my mindset is just to keep a slow, steady pace. I’ve kept it in front of me pretty well, thus far, and hopefully I can just get a few more putts rolling in the next couple rounds.”
With an 8-under 136 (69-67), DeMorat leads Eric Beringer by one stroke. Beringer came out in the second round after shooting an opening, 8-under 64 and had a much different experience from his opening 18. Beringer finished the day with a 1-over 73 to fall to 7-under 137 at the halfway point.
“I had to be a lot more cautious,” Beringer said. “The wind was up, and I missed a lot more greens today than I did [Tuesday]. My two three-putts were what set the tone for the day, but other than that, I thought I played really well.”
Sitting tied for third, Mexico’s Luis Gerardo Garza shot even-par and is at 5-under overall after 36 holes. He joins Americans Brandon Hoelzer and Ben Carr, heading into the third round. Carr, a fifth-year senior at Georgia Southern, is the highest-ranked amateur in the field.
Did you know Englishman Harry Ellis shared low-score honors and moved up 36 positions, into a tie for sixth? He was able to drop seven birdies in his first 12 holes, before ending with a couple of bogeys late in his round. In 2012, Ellis became the youngest winner of the English Amateur, at age 16, beating the previous record held by Nick Faldo.
How the Tournament Works
One-hundred-twenty-eight players started the tournament Tuesday, and 123 remain in the field for Thursday’s third round. Below is a breakdown of the various PGA TOUR Canada membership statuses available this week.
|Medalist||Exempt membership for the 2023 season|
|2nd through 10th (no ties)
|Exempt through the reshuffle, which will occur approximately halfway through the season|
|11th through 30th (plus ties)||Conditional membership|
- This is a 72-hole, no-cut event. There will be playoffs, if necessary, for the medalist position and for the 10th and final position available.
- Players in this week’s field come from nine countries or territories: Canada, China, Ecuador, England, France, Japan, Mexico, Sweden and the United States.
- Mickey DeMorat has had Qualifying Tournament success in his past. In December 2019, at the Korn Ferry Tour Qualifying Tournament finals, he shot rounds of 66-67-68-66 at Orange County National outside Orlando, Florida, to tie for fifth and secure his 2020 Korn Ferry Tour playing privileges, a season that played out over two years because of the global pandemic.
- Besides what he’s done on the Korn Ferry Tour, Mickey DeMorat has also had success on the PGA TOUR, playing in four tournaments and making two cuts. One of his weekend visits came at the 2018 U.S. Open, where he tied for 56th—with four others. At the 2022 RSM Classic, DeMorat opened with a 7-under 63 in Sea Island, Georgia, and that eventually led to a tie for 47th.
- Amateur Ben Carr didn’t have a bogey on his card Wednesday, with six birdies and 11 pars. Unfortunately, he did have a double bogey, at the par-4 13th hole. He is tied for third, three strokes off the leading pace. Carr is a senior at Georgia Southern University. He has picked up three individual tournament titles during his time in Statesboro.
- Nicholas Marchese remains the top Canadian competing this week. He is at 3-over 147 and tied for 43rd with eight Americans.
- The hardest hole of the day was once again the par-3 No. 5. However, with the tough pin placement and wind playing a factor, this hole has given golfers significantly more trouble than Tuesday’s opening round when 10 golfers recorded double bogeys or higher on the hole. In the second round, seven players had double bogeys and 16 players recorded triple bogeys or worse.
The Players Chip in!
“I just tried to make sure I was landing a little short of a hole and letting it release because if you land on the hole, you could get in some trouble with it bouncing over the green.” –Mickey DeMorat on his approach-shot strategy on the course’s firm greens
“I know that birdies are out here. I’m not trying to go out there and necessarily attack every hole, but I just try to keep it in front of me and I know that if you give yourself enough looks, you’re going to [make] a few putts out there.” –Mickey DeMorat
“I’ve played the game for quite some time, and I’ve learned how to reset. I made an adjustment after the fifth hole [Tuesday], where I made a triple (bogey), and I was 4-over through five holes. I think that really helped me, just being able to reset. Getting your head back on and playing some good golf is really important. I ended up playing a great back nine [Tuesday], which gave me the momentum that kick-started today’s round.” –Harry Ellis on how he turned his game around after early first-round struggles
“No. 5 played very hard again today. It’s a short pin over water. It’s a par-3, and making a four there sort of stalled my momentum a bit. However, I’d say, four isn’t actually a bad score on that hole. It is what it is, I’m still happy where I’m at, and hopefully I can go out again and play another good round [Thursday].” – Harry Ellis
I do like the golf course here, so I’m looking forward to getting back out there.” –Harry Ellis
Second-Round Weather: Partly Cloudy. High of 87. Wind SSE at 10-20 mph.