Edward Figueroa hangs on to lead at Q-School
Exempt status in sight as 23-year old eyes return to Canada
April 20, 2017
By Brian Decker, PGATOUR.COM
- Edward Figueroa hopes to return to Canada for the 2017 season (Enrique Berardi/PGA TOUR)
THE RECAP: Naples, Florida’s Edward Figueroa did enough to hang on to the solo lead for the third straight day at the Mackenzie Tour – PGA TOUR Canada’s USA East #2 Q-School on Wednesday, managing a 1-over 73 in windy conditions at PGA Golf Club’s Wannamaker Course in Port St. Lucie, Florida to lead by one shot through 54 holes.
The 23-year old carded four birdies to mitigate his five bogeys on the day to sit at 10-under through three rounds, one shot ahead of St. Petersburg, Florida’s Jake Kevorkian with one round to go at Q-School.
“I didn’t strike it quite as well and made a couple of bogeys, but I got it back a little bit. I’m not too upset with it. I’m still in good position, and that’s all that matters,” said Figueroa. “Hopefully I’ll have a good one tomorrow.”
With one round to go and exempt status in his sights, the former Florida Gulf Coast University student credited his performance through three rounds in windy, firm conditions at PGA Golf Club to changes he’s made to better suit his game to playing in Canada.
“I think my game now suits Canada a little better. I’m hitting more fades than I used to to try and hit more fairways. Up there, it’s about putting the ball in play off the tee and you have to be accurate more than anything, and that’s helped me this week,” said Figueroa.
Two shots behind Kevorkian in a tie for third were Atlanta, Georgia’s Charlie Harrison, Metropolis, Illinois’ Mason Jacobs and Dawsonville, Georgia’s Blake Palmer at 7-under.
CURRENT SCORES FOR MACKENZIE TOUR STATUS: After 72 holes this week, every player inside the top 40 and ties will earn Mackenzie Tour status for 2017. Below is a breakdown of where the cut-offs stand:
1st (Exempt for 2017 season): -10/1st
5th (Exempt for first 8 events, subject to 2nd reshuffle): -7/T3
16th (Exempt for first 4 events, subject to 1st reshuffle): E/T16
40th (Conditional status): +5/T36
BACKGROUND ON THE LEADER: A veteran of two seasons on the Mackenzie Tour as well as multiple seasons on PGA TOUR Latinoamérica and four starts at the PGA TOUR’s Puerto Rico Open, Figueroa is motivated to return to Canada this year at least in part due to his affinity for British Columbia and the season’s first three events: the Freedom 55 Financial Open, the Bayview Place Cardtronics Open presented by Times Colonist and the GolfBC Championship.
“I want to go back to B.C. Those three tournaments, those are my favourite places in the world. Vancouver, Victoria and Kelowna, those are great places,” said Figueroa.
The affection started to turn into results last year, when Figueroa shot a second round 62 at Uplands Golf Club and posted his second straight top-30 finish at the Bayview Place Cardtronics Open presented by Times Colonist.
“The biggest thing there was I just love that place and that course. I love being there, and even though I was 4-over there my first round, I just liked being there, and I think that was the mindset more than anything,” said Figueroa of the tournament.
Figueroa teed it up in 14 Mackenzie Tour events over the past two seasons and made five cuts. He finished T23 and T28 in 2015 and 2016, respectively, in Victoria.
THEY SAID IT:
“It matured me a lot, because the courses you play in Canada are arguably very different from what you play in the states. It forced me to strategies and think about managing my game a little bit more, which is what I think I’m doing this week.” – Charlie Harrison on what playing the Mackenzie Tour in 2016 did for his game.
“I’m so happy for that guy, but I have no doubt that I can be there too and it’s just about playing good golf at the right time.” – Brett Cairns on seeing his fellow former Kent State Golden Flash Mackenzie Hughes win on the PGA TOUR. Cairns shot a 4-under 68 on Thursday.
“I love playing in the wind. These are the kind of fast, windy conditions I really like and I look forward to the opportunity to play in them.” – South Florida native Olin Browne, Jr., who shot a 3-under 69 on Thursday, on playing in windy conditions.
- Weather: 29 degrees Celsius (feels like 35), partly cloudy, winds 16 mph gusting to 24 mph.
- Canadians in position to earn status: Brett Cairns (-2/T9), Chris Hemmerich (+2/T25), Elliott Whitley (+3/T27), Steven Lecuyer (+5/T36)
- Two-time World Long Drive Champion Jamie Sadlowski is T42 after three rounds of 72-76-74.
- Former 1st team NCAA All-American Charlie Danielson carded a 3-under 69 to move up 23 spots to T20.