Ancer, Thompson, Yip tied on top after Round 1
April 20, 2017
By Nick Parker and Michael Baliker, PGATOUR.COM
- Kyle Thompson, the five-time career Web.com Tour winner would secure his PGA TOUR card with a win this week. (Stan Badz/PGA TOUR)
NEWBURGH, Ind. – On the toughest course of the Web.com Tour season a year ago, Kyle Thompson, Abraham Ancer, and Ryan Yip proved Victoria National Golf Club gettable with 4-under 68s to take a share of the first-round lead at the United Leasing & Finance Championship. Thompson and Ancer posted the only bogey-free rounds of the day to take the lead after the morning wave, while Yip joined the party with a chip-in birdie on No. 17 on his way to a back nine 3-under 33.
In search of his second win of the season, Thompson hit every fairway Thursday and took advantage of the short grass, rolling in birdies at Nos. 10, 11, 17, and 3 after starting on the back nine.
“I hit a lot of fairways, a lot of greens. I’m really happy shooting 4-under,” Thompson said. “In the pro-am yesterday, [the guys I played with] showed me all the places not to hit it and that’s the way I played today. I kept it down the middle.”
Thompson’s win at the season-opening The Bahamas Great Exuma Classic at Sandals Emerald Bay came following the highest cut line in Web.com Tour history. With $110,503 in earnings this season, the five-time career Web.com Tour winner would lock up his PGA TOUR card with a win this week.
“I really like playing hard golf courses, and this is probably one of the hardest ones we’ll play all year,” Thompson said. “Looking forward to the weekend. Hopefully the weather will hold out.”
Ancer, who is making his 43rd career Web.com Tour start this week, holds a share of the first-round lead/co-lead for the first time in his career. After missing seven greens during his round, the key for Ancer was a deft short game that helped him to a perfect 7/7 effort in scrambling and helped him avoid any blemishes on the card.
“I didn’t hit it that great, but I scrambled really well. I got it up and down from everywhere,” Ancer said. “That was really nice to keep the round going. Putted it really nice, chipped it really good, and that’s what keeps a round alive around here. Hopefully I can keep that going tomorrow.”
Ancer’s 68 is his ninth straight round of par or better on the Web.com Tour this season. With two top 5s this season, the 26-year-old enters the week at No. 12 on the Web.com Tour money list with $58,722 in earnings and is looking for his second career win. Ancer won the 2015 Nova Scotia Open on his way to earning his PGA TOUR card for the 2015-16 Season, where he made six cuts in 19 starts.
Yip seized a share of the 18-hole lead for the first time in his career despite a shaky start. The 32-year-old Canadian made bogey at the first and eighth but rolled in birdies at Nos. 3, 4, 9, 10, and 12 to get within one of the lead, and then chipped in at the 17th, the most difficult hole of the day, to get to 4-under.
“I hit a lot of good shots today and obviously got lucky a couple times out there. You need it out there on this golf course,” Yip said. “The best thing about my game today was I kept it in play for the most part and made a couple putts.”
Nate Lashley and Zach Wright sit one shot back in a tie for fourth. 24 players broke par in the first round. Two groups remain on the golf course and will return at 7:30 a.m. CDT. Second-round tee times will begin as previously scheduled at 6:30 a.m.
Abraham Ancer's clutch birdie on the final hole at United Leasing
* Thursday weather: Mostly Cloudy, High: 82 degrees, Low: 67 degrees, Wind: SSW at 5-10 mph.
* This week’s purse is $600,000, with $108,000 for the winner.
* Jimmy Gunn took the first-round lead by two shots with four holes to play, but made four consecutive bogeys on Nos. 15-18 to post 2-under 70.
* Zach Wright, who has conditional status on the Web.com Tour, is looking to become the 23rd player to win after earning entry into the field via the Monday qualifier. Wright fired a 3-under 69 and is just one shot back of the three-way tie at the top. The last Monday qualifier to win was Rick Lamb at the 2016 LECOM Health Challenge, where he won in a four-way playoff with a chip-in birdie.
* Thompson enters this week third on the all-time money list with $1,725,389 in earnings and is two victories short of tying Jason Gore for the all-time lead on the Web.com Tour.
* Indiana favorites Adam Schenk of Vincennes and Indianapolis’ Seth Fair struggled in round one, carding a 76 and 77, respectively. Schenk finished T2 at last year’s United Leasing & Finance Championship, which represented his top finish of the 2016 Web.com Tour season.
* Web.com Tour money list leader Andrew Putnam bogeyed his final two holes to finish at 1-under 71 and is tied for 12th. Putnam is coming off a missed cut at the Chitimacha Louisiana Open presented by NACHER but has finished no worse than T11 in his first four events of the season. Putnam collected his second career Web.com Tour victory in February at the Panama Claro Championship.
* Aaron Wise enters the week at No. 16 on the money list with two top-15 finishes to his credit, including a solo third in his third career start on the Web.com Tour at the Chitimacha Louisiana Open presented by NACHER. Wise fired a final-round 64 in Lafayette, La., that was highlighted by birdies on three of the final four holes. The 20-year-old won the individual title at the 2016 NCAA Championships for the University of Oregon in his final start as an amateur. He and the Ducks went on to win the NCAA team title in Eugene, Ore. Wise competed on the Mackenzie Tour-PGA TOUR Canada in 2016, where he collected his first professional victory at the Syncrude Oil Country Championship as well as four other top-10 finishes in just seven starts. Wise went on to finish the Mackenzie Tour season at No. 4 on the Order of Merit and earn an exemption into the Final Stage of Web.com Tour Q-School.
* Nate Lashley entered the week at No. 26 on the Web.com Tour money list with three top-25 finishes and two WDs in five starts, including a season-best T5 at The Bahamas Great Exuma Classic. Tore his meniscus before the start of the season, competed in the first four events, then underwent surgery on February 22 to repair the tear. From there, he went three weeks without touching a club before returning to play at the Chitimacha Louisiana Open in March. Split time last year between the Web.com Tour and PGA TOUR Latinoamerica, recording three wins on the latter on his way to securing the Order of Merit title with a record-setting $140,897 in earnings. Made his first Web.com Tour start of the 2016 season at the ULFC, but missed the cut by one with rounds of 73-74—147.
* The par-5 ninth (4.915) played as the easiest hole in the first round, while the par-4 17th (4.734) played as the most difficult hole.
3 tied at the top after Round 1 at United Leasing