Storylines: Freedom 55 Financial Championship
September 12, 2018
By Staff, PGATOUR.COM
- September 12, 2018
- 59 golfers look to become the latest winner of the Freedom 55 Financial Championship. (Claus Andersen/Mackenzie Tour)
The Mackenzie Tour-PGA TOUR Canada heads to London this week for the Freedom 55 Financial Championship – the final event of the Mackenzie Tour schedule in 2018.
59 golfers look to become the latest winner of the Freedom 55 Financial Championship, with John Oda the lone golfer out of the top-60 on the money list to forego this week – as Oda is participating in the Albertsons Boise Open presented by Kraft Nabisco, the third event of the Web.com Tour Finals.
Last year’s winner Rico Hoey ended up moving from No. 11 on the Order of Merit all the way to the fifth spot, and now, he’s on the cusp of earning a PGA TOUR card via the Web.com Tour Finals.
The final event of the year also boasts the biggest purse of the year, as the winner will get $40,500.
Dates: September 13-16
Course: Highland Country Club
2017 Champion: Rico Hoey
Purse: $225,000/$41,000 winner’s prize
Format: 72-hole stroke play
McCumber Locks Up No. 1
Despite missing the cut at the Mackenzie Investments Open presented by Jaguar Laval last week, Tyler McCumber has locked up the No. 1 spot on the money list this year and will be fully exempt on the Web.com Tour for 2019.
McCumber, at $135,700 for the season, leads No. 2 Zach Wright by $48,220. Even if McCumber decided to not play this week, the most Wright could earn is $41,000 if he won.
McCumber is also on the fast track to winning the Player of the Year honour thanks to his three victories on the season. It’s the most wins by a golfer on the Mackenzie Tour since Dan McCarthy won four times in 2016.
Unfolding The Five
The Five looks like this as we head into the final event of the Mackenzie Tour season.
1. Tyler McCumber - $135,700
2. Zach Wright - $87,480 ($48,220 behind No. 1)
3. George Cunningham - $82,367 ($53,333 behind No. 1)
4. Corey Pereira - $77,828 ($57,872 behind No. 1)
5. Michael Gellerman - $67,935 ($67,765 behind No. 1)
Wright and Gellerman have both made it into The Five despite not recording a victory this year. Pereira almost notched his second of the season last week at the Mackenzie Investments Open but lost in a playoff to Blake Olson.
The rest of the top 10 on the money list is as follows.
6. Sam Fidone - $63,480 ($4,455 behind No. 5)
7. Ben Griffin - $51,026 ($16,909 behind No. 5)
8. Blake Olson - $50,508 ($17,427 behind No. 5)
9. Mark Anguiano - $50,379 ($17,556 behind No. 5)
10. Cody Blick - $47,846 ($20,039 behind No. 5)
Blick sits approximately $1,500 ahead of Chris Williams at the No. 11 spot.
All of the winners this season save for two – Jordan Niebrugge and T.T. Crouch – are within the top 10 on the money list.
Players who finish the season in spots 6-10 on the money list will be exempt through the first two stages of Web.com Tour qualifying.
Canadians looking for Dan Halldorson Trophy
Five Canadians are in the field this week in London, looking to become the first Canadian winner on the Mackenzie Tour since Adam Cornelson in 2016. Cornelson was also part of The Five that year, and was the first winner of the Dan Halldorson Trophy as the Freedom 55 Financial Canadian Player of the Year.
The five Canadians vying for the title and the $25,000 bonus are (with money-list positions in brackets):
James Love (49)
Jared du Toit (38)
Taylor Pendrith (35)
Riley Wheeldon (18)
Michael Gligic (15)
Du Toit won the title in 2017, and opened the Freedom 55 Financial Championship with a 9-under-par 61.
Blick to follow in friends’ footsteps?
Cody Blick knows what it takes to win the Freedom 55 Financial Championship, and not because he hoisted the trophy himself, but because his roommate last year did it.
Blick and Rico Hoey, both Californians, became great friends last year. It looked, through two rounds, that Blick was going to be the one winning the final event of the year – after he shot a 9-under-par 61 on Friday to take the 36-hole lead – but it was Hoey who blitzed the leaderboard Sunday and won by a shot over Jordan Niebrugge (Blick tied for 10th).
With Hoey on the cusp of the PGA TOUR, Blick looks to take the title. And while Hoey was 11th on the Order of Merit heading into last year’s season finale, Blick already has him beat – at 10th on the money list heading into this week.
The first step on the path to the PGA TOUR
The Mackenzie Tour represents the first step on the path to the PGA TOUR, with players competing to earn a promotion to the Web.com Tour and then on to the game’s biggest stage. Heading into its sixth season, the Mackenzie Tour counts 14 players on the PGA TOUR and an additional 72 with Web.com Tour status among its alumni, featuring TOUR winners Mackenzie Hughes, Nick Taylor, Tony Finau and most recently Aaron Wise.
Everyone who made the field this week in London has secured full status on the Mackenzie Tour next year.
Below is a breakdown of the performance benefits players will compete for this season.
Order of Merit Position
Exempt for 2019 Web.com Tour
2nd through 5th
Conditional status on 2019 Web.com Tour, exempt to Final Stage of Web.com Tour Q-School
6th through 10th
Exempt to Final Stage of Web.com Tour Q-School
11th through 25th
Exempt to Second Stage of Web.com Tour Q-School
- There are no Sponsor Exemptions or Monday Qualifiers this week.
- No. 60 on the money list, Paul Park, originally finished 61st on the money list and was $47 short. But after a scoring error was revealed Sunday afternoon just a few minutes after he had accepted his fate, it turned out he made it into the field at No. 60 on the number. For more on Park's story click here.
- Jordan Niebrugge currently sits in spot No. 12 on the Order of Merit despite playing only four events this season, the fewest of any player in the field.
- Five countries are represented this week in London, including five Canadians, two Germans, two Australians, one Frenchman and 49 Americans.
- With less than $10,000 separating spots 20-30, many players will be vying for the No. 25 position on the money list that grants an exemption through the first stage of Web.com Tour Q-School.