Derek Barron wins the Players Cup
August 18, 2019
By Brendan Stasiewich, PGATOUR.COM
- August 18, 2019
- Barron survived the tough conditions to shoot 72 on Sunday. (Trevor Hagen/Mackenzie Tour)
WINNIPEG, Manitoba — A new father as of nine-months ago, travelling to Comox, B.C. for Mackenzie Tour Q-School in April was the first time that Derek Barron was forced to be away from his son, Bennett.
Four months later, signing for an even-par 72 in a gusty wind that prevented any player in the final 18 groups from breaking 70 at Southwood Golf & Country Club, Barron was victorious at the 100th edition of the Players Cup, his first Mackenzie Tour – PGA TOUR Canada win.
“This makes it worth it,” Barron said. “This just affirms that I am doing the right things in my life and in my career with what I do every day.
“The fact that I have a wife and a son and to have to leave regularly and be away from them, it’s really difficult,” said Barron. “This makes it a little easier, because it’s hard to leave them and I love them so much.”
Relatively new to professional golf, Barron says he was “remodelling apartments” when he was the same age as many of the players on the Mackenzie Tour and taught golf for a living from 2012-2016 before deciding to give Tour golf a shot.
“Having a child changes everything,” said the Tacoma, Washington native. “It’s not about whether or not I enjoy what I’m doing for a living, it’s about whether or not this is the right thing to do to provide for my family.”
Without the support from his family and friends in Washington, Barron recognizes his career path may not have been a possibility.
“My wife is amazing. She wants me to do it as long as I can and she supports me and takes care of Bennett and my extended family at home chips in, it’s a real team effort,” said Barron. “It makes me appreciate the opportunity others have given me and the work and the time and the guidance they have all given me to get to this point.”
With his wife, Madi, at home watching Bennett, Barron stepped onto the driving range Sunday morning in preparation of his 12:50 P.M. tee time, in the final pairing of the day alongside Brad Miller, who led by one.
“I told myself this morning when I felt the wind that the game plan was going to be to have as many birdie looks as possible,” said Barron. “It didn’t matter if it was 20, 35, 50 or eight feet. I’d take my chances with the putter. I just had to hit it solid.”
With Miller struggling throughout the day, Barron took advantage and found himself in a three-way battle for the championship, attempting to fight off Kyler Dunkle and Ryan Snouffer.
Dunkle, the first to finish, posted 13-under as Barron arrived at hole No. 14, also at 13-under.
Calm and composed, Barron made birdie on No. 14 and, after making par on No. 15, made a five-foot birdie putt on No. 16 to take a two-stroke lead into the final two holes.
“I just did what I did all week, kept it in play and stuck to the game plan,” said Barron, who navigated the final two holes without much stress. “I didn’t mind having seven, six, or five irons into greens because I was confident in hitting the middle of the greens and taking the 20 or 30-footers, so I was proud of how I hung in there and stuck to my plan.”
With two events left in the Mackenzie Tour schedule, the win moves Barron from 54th to 7th on the Order of Merit, a spot that would award him Korn Ferry Tour status and an exemption into the final stage of Q-School in December.
“Hopefully this is a launching pad for something bigger in the next year or two,” said Barron. “All I can do is try to do the same thing and see what happens.”
Myles Creighton, playing in his second-career Mackenzie Tour event, picked up Canada Life Canadian Player of the Week honours, firing a final-round 68 to finish T17.
- Finishing his round before the final tee time of the day, Paul Barjon managed a bogey-free 65, the round of the day, to move 44 spots up the leaderboard and eventually finishing in a tie for fourth. Making the cut on the number on Friday, the 70-65 weekend finish allowed him to keep his number one spot on the Order of Merit as Jake Knapp finished one-stroke behind, in a tie for seventh.
- Battling back from a third-round 75, Will Gordon moved 33 spots up the leaderboard with a final-round 67 to finish in a tie for fourth. The first-year pro, who now sits in 15th spot on the Order of Merit, has shot 68 or lower twice in a tournament in six of seven events this season.
- For the second-consecutive tournament, Kyler Dunkle shot 70 or better in three rounds, doing so in all four at the Players Cup. Making birdie on his final hole of the week to move to 13-under, the T2 finish was the University of Utah alum’s second top-5 finish of the season, to go along with a T5 finish at the GolfBC Championship.
- A week after his sister, Gabriella, won the U.S. Women’s Amateur, Ryan Ruffels posted a final-round 67 to finish in a tie for 11th.
“Until you get to the top, you’re saving and scrimping, and you need help from people. I’m fortunate to have a lot of people who believe in me and are helping me, and I can’t thank them enough. This is an amazing day.” – Derek Barron
“I was playing with the leader, Brad Miller, so I knew what he was doing. He didn’t have the best day, but he’s a phenomenal player. I figured with the wind if somebody was able to shoot four or five under then they deserved to beat me.” – Derek Barron
“I was really calm today, it was weird. I tried to have fun. I was so tired of beating myself up and trying to be perfect and all that technical stuff, so I told myself at the start of the day, ‘what made you a great player when you taught in the PGA?’ It was before I got obsessed with mechanics. It was important back then, but I was a little bit more of a creative. I saw it and felt it, which I’ve always been pretty good at, so I got a little bit back to that today.” – Derek Barron
“I’m 34-years old. It’s not like I’m the guy who was doing this since I was 21, trying to play pro. I was remodeling apartments when I was 21 and playing amateur golf. My path has been a lot different to this point, but physically I am more capable than back then, just because I’ve been a bit more dedicated to health and that’s allowed me to do things that the younger guys can do, maybe even more.” – Derek Barron
“I’m not burnt out, I’m hungry. It’s hard, it’s not easy. It’s really not. These guys are so good. There’s not a big difference between this Tour and the Korn Ferry Tour. The players out here take it deep; they really do. It’s not like if you brought somebody else out here that they’d shoot 26 or 27 or 36-under, and that just shows how the game is progressing and there are more athletic people involved. It’s not just a show up and do it thing, you have to move it a little bit now or else it’s really hard. My biggest advantage out here was that I could carry the trouble. All of it.” – Derek Barron
“I just tried to stay patient. After that first round I just wanted to have a tee time on Saturday, and I made the cut right on the number. Yesterday towards the end of the round I was hitting the ball very good, so I was looking forward to today and just getting a good round in.” – Paul Barjon
“I know 12-under isn’t going to be enough to win, but I knew I wanted to shoot a low score and I was fortunate to have less wind on the first nine. It definitely picked up on my last five, six holes. These guys are going to have fun, I can tell you that much. It’s going to be interesting, but these guys are good. It’ll be fun to watch.” – Paul Barjon
“A top-10 finish would be good. That was definitely my goal. I knew if I got to 10-under it would probably be a top 20, depending on the weather. I got a few good holes out there, left a couple out there, but that’s golf.” – Paul Barjon
“I’m not going to play much the next two weeks. I’ll practice, probably take two or three days of rest, then I’m just getting prepared for the last two weeks. After winning twice I was like, ‘Oh, maybe I can, not take it easy, but I should be fine now.’ But instead, this year if you don’t make 100-grand, I don’t think you’re going to finish in the top five” – Paul Barjon
“I was talking to my caddie about it. It’s kind of funny to see that Lorens (Chan) and I are the only two that haven’t missed a cut. I remember I was talking to someone at the beginning of the season and I said, ‘I’m going to end up missing a cut, because players go so low and there’ll be a poor week.’” – Paul Barjon
“It could have gone the other way on Friday night. I was watching the scores. 57th, 58th, 59th, I wasn’t sure I was going to play. Some guys were sending me some texts, saying ‘good playing, good comeback.’ I wasn’t sure that was going to be enough.” – Paul Barjon