Storylines: Aruba Cup
Mackenzie Tour and PGA TOUR Latinoamérica set to duel in match play this week
December 12, 2017
By Communications, Mackenzie Tour - PGA TOUR Canada
- December 12, 2017
- Tierra del Sol hosts the top players from the Mackenzie Tour and PGA TOUR Latinoamérica this week (Photo C/O Tierra del Sol)
PGA TOUR Latinoamérica and Mackenzie Tour set to duel for Aruba Cup
The Mackenzie Tour – PGA TOUR Canada and PGA TOUR Latinoamérica compete this week in the second annual Aruba Cup, a Presidents Cup-style team match play event featuring the top 10 players from each team.
Dates: December 14-16
Course: Tierra del Sol Resort and Golf (Aruba)
Par/Yards: 36-35-71 (6,811 yards)
Purse: $120,000 ($8,000 per player to winning team, $4,000 per player to losing team)
Format: Four-Ball, Foursomes and Singles (more below)
20 matches in total will be played over the course of three days at the Aruba Cup, with teams competing in Four-Ball, Foursomes and Singles sessions.
Thursday, December 14: Four-Ball
Friday, December 15: Foursomes
Saturday, December 16: Singles
The teams for both the Mackenzie Tour and PGA TOUR Latinoamérica are comprised of the top 10 available players from each Tour’s Order of Merit. Below are notes on the players competing for each team:
Mackenzie Tour – PGA TOUR Canada
Kramer Hickok (Dallas, Texas)
Produced two wins at the Players Cup and Ontario Championship hosted by National Pines Golf Club along with three runner-up finishes to win Player of the Year honours and earn exempt status on the Web.com Tour for 2018. Was an Honorable Mention NCAA All-American at the University of Texas and had Web.com Tour status in 2016.
Robby Shelton (Wilmer, Alabama)
Won the GolfBC Championship and had two runner-up finishes. Had the lowest scoring average on Tour at 69.26. Represented the United States in the 2015 Walker Cup and was a three-time 1st Team NCAA All-American at University of Alabama. Finished T3 as an amateur at the 2015 Barbasol Championship on the PGA TOUR.
Johnny Ruiz (Camarillo, California)
Won the Staal Foundation Open presented by Tbaytel to go with two runners-up, five top-10s, seven top-25s in 2017.
Patrick Newcomb (Benton, Kentucky)
Became the first player to win on both the Mackenzie Tour and PGA TOUR Latinoamérica with his win at the Syncrude Oil Country Championship presented by AECON, adding to a win at the Honduras Open presented by Indura Beach and Golf Resort. Also won the Cape Breton Open and finished the season with four top-10s and six top-25s.
Rico Hoey (Rancho Cucamonga, California)
Won the season-ending Freedom 55 Financial Championship to earn a spot in The Five and secure Web.com Tour status for 2018. Four-time All-American at USC finished the season with six top-10s and eight top-25s.
Lee McCoy (Tampa, Florida)
Won the 2017 Web.com Tour Qualifying Tournament to earn fully exempt status for the 2018 season. Won the Freedom 55 Financial Open by a record-setting eight strokes and added four top-10s. Was a three-time NCAA All-American at the University of Georgia and finished fourth as an amateur at the 2016 Valspar Championship on the PGA TOUR.
Max Rottluff (Dusseldorf, Germany)
Won the Bayview Place Cardtronics Open presented by Times Colonist for his second career Mackenzie Tour victory, adding to a win at the 2016 SIGA Dakota Dunes Open. Finished the year with two top-10s and four top-25s. 2015 1st team NCAA All-American was a teammate of Jon Rahm at Arizona State.
Chase Wright (Muncie, Indiana)
Won the ATB Financial Classic and had two top-10s and six top-25s. Posted six top-10 finishes on the Web.com Tour from 2013-2015.
Jordan Niebrugge (Mequon, Wisconsin)
Bookended his season with runner-up finishes at the Freedom 55 Financial Open and Freedom 55 Financial Championship. Four-time NCAA All-American at Oklahoma State represented the United States in the 2013 and 2015 Walker Cups. Finished T6 as an amateur at the 2015 Open Championship.
T.J. Vogel (Jacksonville Beach, Florida)
One runner-up, two top-10s, seven top-25s in 2017. Won the 2012 U.S. Amateur Public Links and was a two-time NCAA All-American at USC and the University of Florida.
PGA TOUR Latinoamérica
José de Jesús Rodríguez (Irapuato, Mexico)
Had six top-5s in 13 starts, including two victories at the Avianca Colombia Open and the Abierto del Paraguay Copa NEC. Had the lowest scoring average on Tour at 69.26 strokes. Won two PGA TOUR Latinoamérica events in 2013 and had Web.com Tour status in 2014 and 2015.
Jared Wolfe (Jacksonville, Florida.)
Had four top-5s, including a wire-to-wire win at the inaugural BMW Jamaica Classic and runner-up finishes at the Molino Cañuelas Championship and the NEC Argentina Classic. Had Web.com Tour status in 2014 and 2016.
Brian Richey (Lakeland, Florida)
Led the Tour with seven top-10s, including a wire-to-wire win at the Roberto De Vicenzo Punta del Este Open Copa NEC in Uruguay. Had Web.com Tour status in 2015 and 2016.
José Toledo (Guatemala City, Guatemala)
Had three top-10s, with a victory at the Essential Costa Rica Classic and a runner-up finish at the Quito Open in Ecuador. Had Web.com Tour status in 2012 and 2014.
Nelson Ledesma (Tucuman, Argentina)
Had four top-10s, with a win at the Abierto OSDE del Centro presentado por FiberCorp in Cordoba, Argentina. Has a record of 91 career starts on PGA TOUR Latinoamérica.
Hank Lebioda (Winter Springs, Florida)
Played both Tours for a record of one win, two runner-up finishes and nine top-10s. Finished sixth on the Order of Merit in Latin America and eleventh in Canada, where he won the Mackenzie Investments Open.
Tee-k Kelly (Wheaton, Illinois)
Followed an opening 61 with a wire-to-wire win at the Puerto Plata DR Open in the Dominican Republic. Had four other top-10s, including two fourth place finishes in Brazil and Miami.
Brady Schnell (Milford, Iowa)
Won the last two events of the season, the VISA Open de Argentina presentado por Macro and the Shell Championship. Has played four full seasons on the Web.com Tour in 2010, 2015, 2016 and 2017.
Rodolfo Cazaubón (Tampico, Mexico)
Won the Aberto do Brasil at the Olympic Golf Course in Rio, shooting 17-under to break the course record set by Justin Rose at the 2016 Rio Olympics. Claimed PGA TOUR Latinoamérica Player of the Year honors in 2015. Had Web.com Tour status in 2016, a year in which he also tied for third at the Puerto Rico Open (PGA TOUR) and tied for 30th at the Olympic Games.
Oscar Fraustro (Chihuahua, Mexico)
Won the San Luis Championship in a three-way playoff in San Luis Potosi, Mexico and tied for second at the Aberto do Brasil in Rio. Played the 2013-2014 seasons on the Web.com Tour, where he earned PGA TOUR membership for the 2014-15 season.
Silverman and Diaz lead teams into competition
As notable alumni of each team, PGA TOUR members Ben Silverman (Mackenzie Tour) and Roberto Diaz (PGA TOUR Latinoamérica) were selected as captains for the Aruba Cup.
Silverman, 29, played on the Mackenzie Tour in 2014 and 2015 before going on to earn Web.com Tour status for the 2016 season. In 2017, he produced a breakthrough year, with five top-10s and a win at the Price Cutter Charity Championship presented by Dr Pepper. He finished 10th on the money list to secure his first trip to the PGA TOUR in 2017-18, where he has already recorded two top-10 finishes,
Diaz, 30, played on PGA TOUR Latinoamérica from 2012-15 before earning Web.com Tour status for the 2016 season. In 2017, he recorded two top-10 finishes including a playoff loss at the Club Colombia Championship by Servientrega. He was 25th on the money list allowing him to join the 2017-18 PGA TOUR.
McCoy looks to build off Q-School win
Perhaps the player with the most momentum heading into this week is the Mackenzie Tour’s Lee McCoy, who earned a two-shot victory and medalist honours at the Final Stage of Web.com Tour Q-School last week. The University of Georgia product, who earned an exemption directly into Final Stage thanks to a sixth-place finish on the Order of Merit, shot rounds of 65-67-63-65 to lock up exempt status for 2018. Players in the field this week who finished in the Top-45 and guaranteed starts for the 2018 Web.com Tour season include:
Player Team Finish
Lee McCoy Mackenzie Tour 1st (Exempt for 2018)
Brian Richey PGA TOUR Latinoamérica T5 (Exempt until third re-shuffle)
José Toledo PGA TOUR Latinoamérica T16 (Exempt until second re-shuffle)
Patrick Newcomb Mackenzie Tour T22 (Exempt until second re-shuffle)
Max Rottluff Mackenzie Tour T22 (Exempt until second re-shuffle)
Hank Lebioda PGA TOUR Latinoamérica T30 (Exempt until second re-shuffle)
Chase Wright Mackenzie Tour T42 (Exempt until second re-shuffle)
Brady Schnell PGA TOUR Latinoamérica T42 (Exempt until second re-shuffle)
Newcomb, Lebioda tee off with and against peers
Members of each team will see familiar faces competing for their opponents this week, as Hank Lebioda and Patrick Newcomb will both compete against the Tours where they recorded their first wins of the 2017 season. Each player recorded standout seasons on both Tours but will play for the side whose Order of Merit they finished highest on, meaning Lebioda will play for PGA TOUR Latinoamérica and Newcomb for the Mackenzie Tour.
Newcomb won on PGA TOUR Latinoamérica early in 2017 at the Honduras Open presented by Indura Beach and Golf Resort before ultimately winning twice on the Mackenzie Tour and finishing fourth on the Order of Merit. Lebioda, meanwhile, won the Mackenzie Investments Open presented by Jaguar Laval and finished 11th on the Mackenzie Tour Order of Merit, but ultimately had an even stronger year in Latin America, finishing sixth in season-long earnings.
Mackenzie Tour members look to re-live match play experience
Several competitors this week are no strangers to international match play competition, with past members of Walker Cup and Arnold Palmer Cup teams competing for each side. Below are the players on each team to have competed in past major international match play events:
Past Match Play Teams
2015 Walker Cup; 2014 & 2015 Arnold Palmer Cup
2015 Walker Cup; 2015 Arnold Palmer Cup
2013 & 2015 Walker Cup
2015 Arnold Palmer Cup; 2016 Aruba Cup
2014 & 2016 Arnold Palmer Cup