Monday Qualifier McDaniel goes low Sunday
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Written by Adam Stanley @adam_stanley
Chip McDaniel’s birdie on No. 17 at Corales Puntacana
PUNTA CANA, Dominican Republic – Chip McDaniel saved the best for last this week in Punta Cana.
McDaniel, who was co-medalist at the Corales Puntacana Resort & Club Championship Monday Qualifier in Miami two weeks ago, shot a 9-under-par 63 Sunday to move into the top-10.
“That was a lot of fun, man,” said McDaniel with a smile. “I've been hitting it great all week and yesterday I made five birdies and shot one under and didn't putt very well, just a couple mistakes. I cleaned those up… I saw a few go in today, that's all it takes.”
His 63 featured 10 birdies, and was the round of the tournament.
It was McDaniel’s second TOUR start – he played the 2018 Barbasol Championship and made the cut after getting a sponsor invite – after a decorated college and junior career that saw him win the Kentucky State Amateur twice. He also was named the Kentucky Junior Amateur Champion for three straight years.
McDaniel, who is playing Mackenzie Tour-PGA TOUR Canada Q-School in April, said his wins as an amateur helped him get into a good mindset Sunday on the PGA TOUR.
“The Kentucky Amateur, the last one I won in 2017, that was really big for me because I hadn't won a golf tournament in two years, so it was nice to close a tournament out,” he said. “Just like this, you know, I'm not going to win, but I finished with a great round the right way and that really helps my confidence a lot.”
The University of Kentucky alum said he put an old putter back in his bag about three days before travelling to Punta Cana, and the return did wonders for him on the green.
The native of Manchester, Kentucky had college teammate Evan Cox – who qualified for this season on the Mackenzie Tour via Q-School earlier this year – on his bag this week. The two worked well together, McDaniel said, since Cox knows McDaniel’s game better than almost anyone.
McDaniel, via his top-10 result this week, will now tee it up next week at the Valero Texas Open, and is looking to parlay his good play Sunday into more of the same.
“I'm just now thinking about it. I've seen the golf course on TV a few times,” he said. “Not very many times, but I'm excited.”
This will be the third time this season a Monday Qualifier has finished in the top 10 (Aaron Baddeley, T4 at Safeway Open; Corey Conners, T3 at Sony Open).