Lindblom fires a 66, good for first-round lead at The Wigwam
March 30, 2021
By Communications, PGATOUR.COM
- March 30, 2021
- A week ago, Fredrik Lindblom played in an Outlaw Tour event on the Gold Course.
LITCHFIELD PARK, Arizona—Even as the wind picked up at The Wigwam’s Gold Course late in the first round of the Mackenzie Tour – PGA TOUR Canada’s Qualifying Tournament on Tuesday, Fredrik Lindblom played some of his best golf. He strung together four consecutive birdies, starting at No. 12, and that run of rolled-in putts led to a 6-under 66. That gave the native of Sweden a one-shot lead over Canada’s Wil Bateman and amateur Matt McCarty. Four players—Carson Roberts, Hayden Wood, Spencer Soosman and amateur Sean Yu—trail by two shots on a bunched leaderboard that has an additional 10 players tied for eighth, three strokes back.
Lindblom could only smile following his round, attributing local knowledge he picked up last week for his lead. A week ago, he played in an Outlaw Tour event on the Gold Course. Although Lindblom only tied for 30th, what he learned was invaluable.
“I didn’t make the putts last week, but it looks like they’re dropping this week,” Lindblom observed. “You have to be conservative with your approaches, especially when it’s windy here because the greens have a lot of run-off areas. I learned that last week and used that to my advantage today.
“A lot of things went right,” he continued. “I hit the driver really well. I drove it really well last week, and that continued today. And I rolled in some putts. I’ve been working really hard on my putting lately, and it paid off today.”
Lindblom finished with seven birdies and one bogey, opening with a birdie at the par-5 first hole and adding birdies at the par-5 fourth and the par-4 seventh. His lone blemish came at No. 6. He also birdied the 14th, giving him three birdies on the Gold Course’s four par-5s.
Like Lindblom, Bateman and McCarty also got off to quick starts. Bateman, an Edmonton native who lives in nearby Scottsdale, made birdies on three of his first four holes and was bogey-free on his opening nine, adding one more birdie, at No. 8. He turned at 4-under 67. Three birdies and two bogeys moved him to 67 as he seeks full Mackenzie Tour membership for the first time since 2016.
McCarty, a senior at Santa Clara University—extending his college career by one season because of the NCAA’s COVID-19 extra-year exemption—birdied his first three hole then cooled a bit, with eight consecutive pars after that. Following his only bogey of the day, at No. 12, McCarty finished with three pars and three birdies.
“It’s a long week, so it’s all about staying patient. I felt like I did a pretty good job of that today,” Bateman explained. “I’ve been playing really good golf the last six months. I think it’s all about handling my emotions this week because I know I’m playing super well, and I know there is a lot of opportunity out there.”
McCarty, like Bateman, made an unlikely birdie early in his day, draining a 27-footer at No. 2 during his three-in-a-row streak.
“It always helps to get off to a good start. I would rather be 3-under than even,” said McCarty, who also had a two-incher at No. 15 for birdie. “I was hitting my irons really well. I only had four or five putts where I was lagging it up there today. I just want to keep swinging like I’m swinging.”
Did you know Will Bateman’s best Mackenzie Tour performance came at the 2019 1932byBateman Open? That week in Edmonton, he put together rounds of 67-70-69-67 to tie for 10th.
How the Tournament Works
One-hundred-two players entered this tournament. Below is a breakdown of the various Mackenzie Tour membership statuses available this week.
Exempt membership for the 2021 season
2nd through 6th (no ties
Exempt through the reshuffle, which will occur approximately halfway through the season
7th through 25th (plus ties)
• This is a 72-hole, no-cut event. There will be playoffs, if necessary, for the medalist position and for the sixth and final position available.
• Players in this week’s field come from eight countries or regions (Canada, Chinese Taipei, England, Hong Kong, Japan, Mexico, Sweden and the United States).
• On No. 15, Fredrik Lindblom hit his drive, and he watched as his ball landed under a tree. To reach the green, Lindblom had to hit a slice with a gap wedge around the tree. As he described it, he “got lucky with a right kick to three feet (from the cup).” From there, he rolled in the birdie.
• This is Wil Bateman’s third appearance in a Mackenzie Tour Qualifying Tournament. His first start came in 2015, at Crowne Isle Resort in Courtenay, British Columbia, where he tied for eighth to earn full membership status. In 2018, here at The Wigwam, Bateman tied for 32nd.
• On his second birdie of the day, Wil Bateman was 25 yards from the green on No. 3. “It was a relatively tough chip,” he said of the shot he bumped into the hill in front of the green and let it release. “It rolled in like a putt. It was pretty nice,” he added.
• After 20 amateurs played in the San Jacinto, California, Qualifying Tournament a week ago, The Wigwam is hosting 18 this week. The leading amateur through 18 holes is Matt McCarty. He’s tied for second. Sean Yu is tied for fourth, at 4-under, with Sweden’s Elis Svärd at 3-under (tied for eighth). Cooper Dossey, Blake Wagoner, Brock Stanger and Hunter Ostrom are all at 2-under (tied for 18th). Kaito Onishi rounds out the amateurs who fired under-par rounds. He’s at 1-under and tied for 30th.
• Matt McCarty planned on turning pro at the conclusion of the 2020 college season. But once the NCAA canceled the NCAA Championship and granted players extra years because of COVID-19, McCarty elected to return to Santa Clara and pursue his master’s degree in marketing. “I was going to graduate in June. Then the year went pretty crazy. It worked out well for me this year,” he said.
• Another player who had the option to return to school but chose not to was Spencer Soosman, a University of Texas product. He, too, had graduated, and ultimately elected to turn pro in 2020. Soosman is at 4-under and was happy to return to The Wigwam, where he played in the Patriotic All-America Invitational college tournament four times, his best finish a 17th-place showing in 2019.
• The par-5 14th hole was the easiest hole at the Gold Course on Tuesday. The stroke average there was 4.471. Of the day’s seven eagles, four came at the 14th. The most-difficult hole was No. 3. The par-3 played to an average of 3.529, yielding only three birdies all day. It also had seven double bogeys and one “other.”
• Other holes with single-digit birdie totals were No. 6 (nine), No. 11 (eight) and No. 17 (four).
• There were 44 under-par scores in the opening round, 17 of them in the 60s.
“It was a combination. I did hit it close. Overall, I hit all of my wedges to about 10 to 15 feet.” –Fredrik Lindblom
“I knew it was going to be tough. The wind picked up for me on the back nine. You make two or three more putts in a day and this is where you end up when you hit it well.” –Fredrik Lindblom
“I played really well. I started off nicely on the front (nine). I made a couple of mistakes on the back but luckily got it back. I just stayed patient. It’s a long week.” –Wil Bateman
“I three-putted 11, which wasn’t great. It was kind of sticky up the hill there. But I got it back on 13 and then birdied 15, as well. Golf happens.” –Wil Bateman on his bogey at No. 11
“I wanted to come out and play free today, and I did that.” –Matt McCarty
“I’ve actually played a decent amount out here. I qualified for Junior World out here when I was 16. I have good vibes out here for sure.” –Matt McCarty
“I had one poor chip. On the other two, I chipped them to four or five feet and missed the putts. It’s going to happen out here on these greens.” –Spencer Soosman
“I’m not really paying attention to anyone else. I’m just going to put four good rounds up and see what happens Friday.” –Spencer Soosman
“The greens are just as firm. Usually, they’re pretty lightning. Pin placements were slightly different here. Overall, I just really like this course” –Spencer Soosman on The Wigwam’s Gold Course, where he’s played four times in college events
First-Round Weather: Hot and sunny, with a high of 86. Almost no wind in the morning. Gained strength in the afternoon, SW at 8-10 mph.