50 reasons why the 2017 Mackenzie Tour season was awesome
From clutch shots to heartwarming moments, here are all the greatest things about our fifth season
November 08, 2017
By Staff, Mackenzie Tour - PGA TOUR Canada
With 12 tournaments from coast-to-coast across Canada each year, dozens of memorable moments happen every year on the Mackenzie Tour - PGA TOUR Canada. From incredible shots and clutch putts to heartwarming moments and remarkable achievements, we counted 50 of the best things about our 2017 season.
Take a look below and re-live the best parts of our fifth season.
BECAUSE IT ALL COMES DOWN TO THE FINISH (PT. 1): Does it get any more dramatic than this? Rico Hoey's season went down to the wire and he won the season-ending Freedom 55 Financial Championship, moving inside The Five to punch his ticket to the Web.com Tour in 2018.
BECAUSE CHARITY IS THE BIGGEST WINNER EACH WEEK: The Mackenzie Tour and its tournaments combined to raise more than $1 Million for charity for the second straight year in 2017, bringing the total to more than $3.2 Million raised since 2013.
BECAUSE YOU NEVER KNOW WHO'S IN THE GALLERY: After lending their support at the Freedom 55 Financial Open Charity Ball Hockey game to raise support for the Canucks For Kids Fund, Henrik and Daniel Sedin stuck around to check out the final round action as Lee McCoy cruised to victory.
BECAUSE WHO DOESN'T LOVE A SAUCY CLUB TWIRL?: If you were walking up the 72nd hole with a seven-shot lead and just pured a hybrid right at the flag, what would you do? For Lee McCoy, the answer was to pull off a Tiger-esque club twirl and walk to accentuate his first Mackenzie Tour win.
BECAUSE EVERY TOURNAMENT HAS ITS OWN UNIQUE FLAVOUR: Not many tournaments can say their trophy is presented by a horse, but not every tournament is the ATB Financial Classic. With this year's event partnering with the Stampeders Foundation, the CFL's Calgary Stampeders' touchdown horse Quick Six was on hand to put a unique twist on the festivities.
BECAUSE LOW SCORES ARE ALWAYS IN PLAY (PT. 1): At this year's Bayview Place Cardtronics Open presented by Times Colonist, second year Mackenzie Tour member Cody Blick nearly added his name to golf's history books, shooting a 60 at Uplands Golf Club. Blick would have shot 59 if not for a closing bogey, but the round nonetheless propelled him to a T3 finish.
BECAUSE LOW SCORES ARE ALWAYS IN PLAY (PT. 2): Former University of Alabama standout Robby Shelton had a great Mackenzie Tour season by any measure, winning once and finishing second on the Order of Merit to earn Web.com Tour status for next year, and he finished it in style by shooting a 10-under 60 to close out his season at the Freedom 55 Financial Championship.
BECAUSE NO LEAD IS SAFE ON THE WEEKEND: Starting the weekend at the Ontario Championship hosted by National Pines Golf Club well off the lead, Kramer Hickok set a goal for himself of going 16-under for the final two rounds to give himself a chance to win. That's exactly what he did, closing with rounds of 64-64 to win his second event of the season.
Kramer Hickok's goal this weekend? Shoot 16-under and see where it put him.— Mackenzie Tour (@PGATOURCanada) September 11, 2017
Mission accomplished, championship win.https://t.co/AjAq0zxM0c
BECAUSE THESE GUYS CAN SEND IT OFF THE TEE, PT. 1: During the pre-tournament festivities at the GolfBC Championship, Jake Knapp showed his long drive prowess, launching one 384 yards off the first tee at Gallagher's Canyon Golf and Country Club.
BECAUSE OF INSPIRING STORIES LIKE DUSTIN BARR: At this year's Staal Foundation Open presented by Tbaytel, Thunder Bay's own Dustin Barr inspired fans, staff and players alike, competing in his first professional event while battling cancer.
BECAUSE OF INSPIRING STORIES LIKE KYLE MILLER: Calgary native and golf professional Kyle Miller made history at this year's ATB Financial Classic, becoming the first player with Cerebral Palsy to compete in a PGA TOUR-sanctioned event.
BECAUSE OF DELICIOUS HOME-COOKED MEALS AT THE COURSE: Walking off the course to find delicious, home-style Cape Breton cooking waiting for you. Need we say more?
BECAUSE SECOND CHANCES PAY OFF, PT. 1: At the 2016 Freedom 55 Financial Championship, Jonathan Khan was the unlucky man out, finishing 61st on the Order of Merit and missing a spot inthe field in London by just $345. This year, despite missing the cut at the season's penultimate event, he snuck in a No. 59 and made the most of it with a T3 finish.
BECAUSE THE ROAR STARTS HERE: 2017 was a banner season for Mackenzie Tour alumni making their way to the game's highest level, with eight alumni earning their PGA TOUR cards. The total now stands at 20 players who have made their way from the Mackenzie Tour to the PGA TOUR since 2013, including 14 players who will compete during the 2017-18 season.
BECAUSE FAMILY TIES LEAD TO SUCCESS: Shortly before Father's Day, Max Rottluff earned his second Mackenzie Tour win with his Dad, Sepp, who visited from Germany for the B.C. Golf Swing, as his caddie.
On the bag for Max Rottluff this week? His dad, Sepp, a former pro hockey player.— Mackenzie Tour (@PGATOURCanada) June 12, 2017
"It means a lot for me to pull a win off with him.” pic.twitter.com/GgOb5Lexls
BECAUSE OF CLUTCH FINISHES (PT. 1): Coming down the stretch locked in a duel with Robby Shelton, Kramer Hickok proved himself when it mattered most at the Players Cup, finishing birdie-birdie to turn a one-stroke lead into a three-shot victory. The win was Hickok's first of two titles in 2017.
BECAUSE INTENSE COMPETITION TAKES PLACE OFF THE COURSE, TOO: An annual staple of the Staal Foundation Open presented by Tbaytel, the Fountain Tire Summer Classic is a star-studded affair, with current and former NHLers taking part in a huge road hockey game before the Celebrity Pro-Am.
BECAUSE OF SECOND CHANCES PAY OFF, PT. 2: Johnny Ruiz took a tough break in his quest to win on the Mackenzie Tour early on in the 2017 season, with an unlucky bogey on the 72nd hole at the GolfBC Championship costing him a chance at the title. Just over a month later, he found redemption with a 72nd hole birdie that proved to be the difference in his first title at the Staal Foundation Open presented by Tbaytel.
BECAUSE MONTREAL IS A GREAT PLACE IN THE SUMMERTIME: The 2017 Mackenzie Investments Open presented by Jaguar Laval represented a new chapter in Mackenzie Tour history, with the Tour competing in the province of Quebec for the first time and Mackenzie Tour players enjoying all the sights and sounds of Montréal.
BECAUSE OF MARATHON MARCHES TO VICTORY: Talk about a marathon finish! With thunderstorms delaying play and forcing a multi-round finish on Sunday at the Syncrude Oil Country Championship presented by AECON, Patrick Newcomb outlasted everyone, playing 34 holes to complete regulation and then defeating Max Rottluff in a four-hole playoff to earn his first Mackenzie Tour title. The win made him the first player to win on both the Mackenzie Tour and PGA TOUR Latinoamérica.
BECAUSE GREATNESS CAN MAKE AN APPEARANCE AT ANY TIME: One could say that this year's Pro-Am at the Syncrude Oil Country Championship was certainly a Great One, as Wayne Gretzky offered his support and teed it up alongside a star-studded cast of Oilers and NHL alumni.
BECAUSE OF UNIQUE AUTOGRAPH REQUESTS: It's a common sight to see Mackenzie Tour players signing autographs for young fans after a round. It's uncommon, however, to see requests like this one at the Staal Foundation Open, where 54-hole leader Kramer Hickok put his signature on this youngster's forehead.
BECAUSE FAMILY TIES LEAD TO SUCCESS, PT. 2: With their wedding upcoming this November, Mark Blakefield and Bri Vega celebrated early in Ottawa this summer, with the player-caddie duo winning the National Capital Open to Support Our Troops.
BECAUSE THESE GUYS CAN SEND IT OFF THE TEE, PT 2: At this year's Cape Breton Open, former World Long Drive Champion Jamie Sadlowski dusted off his Long Drive skills in the first annual Srixon Cape Breton Long Drive Championship, giving fans a glimpse of his incredible power.
BECAUSE OF LOW MOVING DAY ROUNDS: After making the cut on the number at the GolfBC Championship, Jared du Toit quickly put himself into contention during round three, shooting a 10-under 61 as a single to move into a tie for second before the leaders teed off.
BECAUSE IT ALL COMES DOWN TO THE FINISH (PT. 2): While Rico Hoey's move into The Five remains the enduring memory from the Freedom 55 Financial Championship, Jordan Niebrugge made his own late-season move, shooting a final round 63 to finish solo second and claim a spot in the top 10 on the Order of Merit and an exemption into the Final Stage of Web.com Tour Q-School.
BECAUSE OF CLUTCH FINISHES (PT. 2): Needing a birdie at the 72nd hole to force a playoff at the Ontario Championship hosted by National Pines Golf Club, Johnny Ruiz came up clutch, pouring in a 25-footer to send the tournament into extra holes.
BECAUSE OF UNBELIEVABLE UP-AND-DOWNS: While contending during Round Three of the Ontario Championship hosted by National Pines Golf Club, Lee McCoy turned a potential bogey at 14 into a momentum-building par save with this ridiculous up-and-down.
BECAUSE OF DRIVERS OFF THE DECK LEADING TO EAGLES: During Round Three of the Ontario Championship hosted by National Pines Golf Club, Lee McCoy made an aggressive move to the top of the leaderboard, hitting a driver from the fairway onto the green and making the eagle putt to take the solo lead.
BECAUSE OF NHL'ERS ON THE BAG: Adding a little NHL flavour to the National Capital Open to Support Our Troops, Ottawa Senators winger Mark Stone made an appearance on the bag for Mackenzie Tour regular Seann Harlingten.
BECAUSE THESE GUYS CAN GO TOP CHEDDAR: During the Pro-Am at this year's Syncrude Oil Country Championship presented by AECON, Jared du Toit showed off his skills with a stick and puck.
BECAUSE THE PLAYERS MAKE A DIFFERENCE (PT. 1): At this year's Syncrude Oil Country Championship presened by AECON, Eric Onesi and Chris Williams volunteered their time to visit kids under care at the Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital.
BECAUSE OF CHANCES TO PLAY AT THE NEXT LEVEL: After earning a spot in the RBC Canadian Open field thanks to his position on the Mackenzie Tour Order of Merit, Kramer Hickok showed he can compete with the best in the world, finishing T19 in his PGA TOUR debut.
BECAUSE THESE GUYS CAN PLAY ON A BIG STAGE: A year after he spent his first season as a pro on the Mackenzie Tour, Austin Connelly introduced himself to golf fans around the world with a standout performance at The Open Championship, eventually going on to finish T14.
BECAUSE THE PLAYERS CARE (PT. 2): At this year's Mackenzie Investments Open presented by Jaguar Laval, Mackenzie Tour players Vaita Guillaume and Zach Edmondson made their way to the CHU Ste. Justine to visit some young patients and team them a thing or two about the game of golf.
BECAUSE THE PLAYERS CARE (PT. 3): At this year's Staal Foundation Open presented by Tbaytel, former Golf Canada National Team members Jared du Toit, Blair Hamilton, Stuart Macdonald and Eric Banks volunteered their time to help out and serve some meals at Tamarack House, which provide affordable acommodations to patients receiving cancer care in Thunder Bay.
BECAUSE STINGERS: There's nothing quite like the sight of a tight draw around a corner, like this one Andrew Ledger served up at this year's National Capital Open to Support Our Troops.
BECAUSE OF VISITS TO WINE COUNTRY: Each year at the GolfBC Championship, players take advantage of being in one of the world's best wine regions in the Okanagan Valley. For this year's episode of This Is the Mackenzie Tour - PGA TOUR Canada, players headed to Cedar Creek Estate Winery to sample some of the goods.
BECAUSE OF DAN HALLDORSON'S LASTING LEGACY IN CANADIAN GOLF: 2017 marked the second year that the trophy for Freedom 55 Financial Canadian Player of the Year bore Dan Halldorson's name, continuing Dan's legacy of supporting Canadian players and helping them achieve their dreams of making it to the PGA TOUR.
BECAUSE OF CLUTCH FINISHES (PT. 3): Though he didn't know it at the time, Robby Shelton's birdie putt on the 72nd hole at the GolfBC Championship gave him his first Mackenzie Tour title by a stroke over Adam Webb, Cody Blick and Johnny Ruiz.
BECAUSE WINNING MAKES FOR A GREAT WEEK: What better way to enjoy a week in the summer than to explore Montréal, go to an incredible concert and win by eight strokes on the Mackenzie Tour?
BECAUSE THE GRIND IS REAL (PT. 1): Chris Killmer showed that there's more than one way to make your way across the country while playing the Mackenzie Tour, proving that he really was One Happy Camper at this year's Cape Breton Open.
BECAUSE OF UNIQUE VISIT TO GREAT LOCATIONS: As part of this year's Bayview Place Cardtronics Open presented by Times Colonist, Matt Picanso, Chris Gilman and Kevin Lucas got a personal tour of the Victoria, capped off with a stunning view from the the spectacular Bayview One tower.
BECAUSE OF PRO-AM HOLES-IN-ONE: Not only did Linda Staal raise a family of famous NHL brothers, she's pretty good with a 6-iron too! She carded an ace during this year's Staal Foundation Open presented by Tbaytel Pro-Am.
🚨HOLE-IN-ONE (Pro-Am edition)🚨— Mackenzie Tour (@PGATOURCanada) July 11, 2017
An ace at the 8th, courtesy none other than Linda Staal! pic.twitter.com/aHylnQc4UT
BECAUSE THE GRIND IS REAL (PT. 2): Early this year, 2016 Mackenzie Tour member David Wetterich detailed his experiences traveling across Canada in an RV while chasing his dream in professional golf for No Laying Up.
BECAUSE PLAYERS FROM OTHER SPORTS CARE: Each of the last two years, NHL player Brandon Prust has thrown his support behind the Freedom 55 Financial Championship and the tournament's support of the Thames Valley Children's Centre, including a $25,000 donation this year.
BECAUSE THE PLAYERS ARE GREAT GUYS: Even though he had to finish two rounds on Sunday as the leader at the Mackenzie Investments Open presented by Jaguar Laval, Hank Lebioda stuck to his usual routine of writing a thank you letter to tournament sponsors after each round in the scoring tent. The good karma paid off as he went on to win by eight strokes.
BECAUSE THE BEST CELEBRATE THEIR SEASONS IN STYLE: As one final bonus for a great season, the top 10 available players on the Order of Merit celebrate the end of 2017 in style by competing for the Mackenzie Tour at the Aruba Cup, a Presidents Cup-style match play event against PGA TOUR Latinoamérica at Tierra del Sol Resort and Golf in Aruba.
BECAUSE SOME OF COLLEGE GOLF'S BEST GET THEIR START HERE: Each year as some of college golf's best players conclude their amateur careers and head to the pros, the Mackenzie Tour is the starting point for numerous up-and-coming stars of the game. This year's crop of players who went right from the NCAA Championships to the Mackenzie Tour included Rico Hoey, Jared du Toit, Matt Gilchrest and Max McGreevy, who helped Oklahoma to the National Title before debuting in at the Bayview Place Cardtronics Open presented by Times Colonist.
BECAUSE THE GRIND NEVER STOPS: Even when players experiencing success on the Mackenzie Tour, the goal is to improve and get to the next level. That means even when you're the 36-hole leader, like Cody Blick at the Cape Breton Open, a sunset range session is never out of the question.