Four forge to lead with 18 to play at Callaway Gardens
April 08, 2021
By Staff, PGATOUR.COM
- April 08, 2021
- Playing on the LOCALiQ Series, with the course playing as a par-72, Patrick Cover carded rounds of 65-69-63 to finish third.
PINE MOUNTAIN, Georgia—The wind swirled all day at Callaway Gardens’ Mountain Course, but four players rose above the difficult conditions to finish at 9-under to share the lead at the Mackenzie Tour – PGA TOUR Canada’s fifth Qualifying Tournament. Amateur Alexandre Fuchs had the low round of the day among the leaders, a 5-under 65, while Austin Morrison and Patrick Cover shot 66s, with Luke Schniederjans’ 67 giving him a spot among the leading quartet. Their three-day totals of 201 give them a three-shot lead over Patrick Moriarty with 18 holes to play. Jimmy Beck is alone in sixth, four strokes behind.
The player who emerges victorious from Friday’s final round earns the right to play in every 2021 Mackenzie Tour tournament, while those finishing in second through sixth places are exempt for the season’s first half.
With bad weather expected to hit Callaway Gardens at midday Friday, officials have set up a two-tee start, with Fuchs, Morrison and Cover making up the final group teeing off at 10:20 a.m., EDT, while Schniederjans will play with Moriarty and Jimmy Beck. They tee off at 10:10 a.m. Beck is alone in sixth and four shots behind the leaders.
Cover compared his opening-round 66 to Thursday’s identical score, and he said there was no comparison. “It was certainly better than 4-under the first day,” he quipped. “Today was really tough. The wind was swirling just about as much as any course as I’ve ever played. The back nine in the trees you’re switching direction on every hole, and the wind never stayed consistent. It was really hard to be committed to the wind direction and hitting the yardage you wanted to.”
Cover and the rest of the leaders managed enough on the back nine, while Morrison had a highlight on No. 7 when he turned the seventh hole into a personal highlight that resulted in his second career ace. The first came in U.S. Open local qualifying in North Carolina.
“I hit my 8-iron with the wind down off the right. I caught it pretty good, and I guess it went in on a couple hops,” he said of the shot that playing partner Cover confirmed had gone in. Morrison followed that with a birdie-par finish to his front nine, turning in 2-under 33. He made three birdies and a bogey on his back, including a birdie at the closing 18th to force his way into the tie.
Fuchs, a senior at Liberty University, is easily the low amateur among the 15 in the field. He put together seven birdies to go with his lone bogey, at No. 2. His birdie parade started at the par-4 fifth. “I hit a good drive on five and got rewarded for that,” said the native of Mouans-Sartoux, France.
Despite holding a share of the lead, Schniederjans, the solo 36-hole leader, walked off the course frustrated. He missed a four-footer for birdie on No. 11, a six-foot birdie effort at No. 12 and he three-putted for bogey at the par-3 17th.
“It was frustrating three-putting 17 and missing some of those short putts,” the Georgia Tech alum noted. “You’re not in the lead in every tournament, and I’ll use that as a positive. It's encouraging.”
Did you know Canadian Joey Savoie has never played in a Mackenzie Tour tournament as a professional? Currently tied for seventh, Savoir has four career starts, coming in 2018 and 2019, all as an amateur. His top showing came at the 2018 Staal Foundation Open, where he tied for 62nd.
How the Tournament Works
Ninety-four players entered this tournament and 92 are still playing. 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 nine countries or regions (Australia, Canada, France, Hong Kong, Ireland, Kenya, Mexico, Puerto Rico and the United States.
• The biggest improvement from the second round to the third round belonged to Casey Komline. In what has been an up-then-down-then-up-again week, Komline has gone 69-77-67 through 54 holes. The 10 strokes he shaved off his previous-day’s score has left him tied for 33rd with 18 holes to play.
• The two other big scoreboard movers Thursday both shot 67s to, like Casey Komline, improve 25 positions. Michael Herrera and Peter French both find themselves tied for 28th after beginning the day tied for 53rd. Zack Seabolt improved his position considerably with a 5-under 65 Thursday, nine strokes better than his previous-day’s score and a 13-shot improvement on his opening 78. Seabolt began the day tied for 58th and moved up 24 spots. He made six birdies in the third round after only making three birdies in his first 36 holes.
• St. Mary’s senior Blake Hathcoat is the 293rd-ranked player in the World Amateur Golf Ranking and No. 83 in the latest PGA TOUR University rankings. He also owns the low 18-hole score this week following his 6-under 64 Thursday. Hathcoat began the tournament 74-69 and was 3-over with 36 holes to play. “I didn’t have a specific number, but I knew I needed something under-par and hopefully well under-par because I was pretty far back after the first two days,” Hathcoat explained about what he needed to do. After his seven-birdie, one-bogey performance, he was more than satisifed. “I knew I needed to make some birdies.” Five of Hathcoat’s birdies came on the back nine (Nos. 10, 11, 12, 13 and 16, with the other two at Nos. 6 and 8.
• Blake Hathcoat wasn’t necessarily surprised he birdied the front nine’s only par-5, but the ease with which he made a 4 there raised his eyebrows a little. “I was able to go for the par-5 sixth in two, which I didn’t expect to do this week. I hit a really good [drive],” he said. From there, Hathcoat two-putted for his first birdie of the day.
• Jack Lang stepped to the 15th tee at 1-over for the day. After a drive that left him 105 yards from the pin, he knocked his approach in for eagle to move to 1-under. On the par-5 ensuing hole, Lang was on the green in two, his second shot stopping 10 feet from the cup. He rolled that putt in for back-to-back eagles. He completed his day tied for 10th.
• Hoke Carlton also moved into the top-10, improving 22 leaderboard spots with his 5-under 65. The former Davidson University golfer began his back nine reeling off four consecutive birdies, giving him a stretch of six birdies in eight holes after birdies at Nos. 6 and 8 before his streak began.
• Jonathan Liss has had a disappointing tournament. He opened with consecutive 82s before Thursday’s 5-over 70. He did have one highlight, though. On the par-3 14th, made a hole-in-one, using a 9-iron on the 155-yard hole. Austin Morrison, tied for the lead, had the other ace Thursday.
• No. 2 was again the most-difficult hole for the third consecutive day. The par-4 had a field average of 4.739. The hole gave up 46 bogeys and 37 pars in the second round, 40 bogeys and 32 pars Thursday. The 16th hole was again the easiest of the 18 at the Mountain Course. The par-5’s average was 4.446, the easiest the hole has played all week (4.617 in the first round).
• The 23 under-par scores Thursday matched the 23 in the first round. In the second round, 19 players were under-par.
“A lot of the four- and five-footers you have out here are not the easiest ones. You just have to commit to the line you choose and have a good speed. I hit some of them a little hard today, which was frustrating because if I had matched up those speeds like I know I can, I could have had a low one.” – Luke Schniederjans
“I just did a good job of not putting myself in terrible spots. With the wind being the way it was, you could end up on the wrong side of the pin, and it would be a hard up and down. I did a good job of putting it on the fat side of the green, giving myself greens to work with when I was chipping.” –Patrick Cover
“I’m in a good spot. I played solid, a solid three rounds.” –Patrick Cover
“At the beginning of the week, before I knew that it was going to be a par-70, I told myself 20-under would be a good number. That 20 all of a sudden turned into 12(-under) with the par-4 change because the holes didn’t really change that much. They just moved the tee up 20 yards. You’re still trying to make a 4 on it. Twelve-under was the target at the beginning of the week, and I’m on track to do that.” –Patrick Cover on the officials’ decision to convert Nos. 2 and 11 from par-5s to par-4s
“This one feels like my first real hole-in-one. I actually executed this one like I wanted to.” –Austin Morrison
“Maybe the biggest shot of my life in a lot of ways. It was really surreal. And, I did a really good job to refocus and play 3-under the last 11. It’s just as easy to kind of let that psych you out and get too energized about it.” –Austin Morrison on his hole-in-one
“I think [Wednesday] I got a little complacent because I was in the lead. Today, I knew I was behind. I knew I needed to play, and there were people right on my tail. I battled because of it and was focused from the get-go. I didn’t let any adversity mess me up; just kept playing through everything.” –Austin Morrison
“It’s nice to be in this position going into [Friday]. If I just stick to my game plan, I should be good.” –Austin Morrison
“I had a lot of putts I made between 10 and 15 feet. I lipped out probably five times today. I hit quite a few shots really close. But I’m not going to complain.” –Blake Hathcoat, whose 64 is the low round of the week
“After that, I knew I had some birdie holes out in front of me, and I took advantage.” –Blake Hathcoat on his run after his lone bogey, at No. 2
“Today I think was the hardest day. It was blowing and it was pretty hot. But I played really solid.” –Alexandre Fuchs
“I thought I hit a decent drive, but it was on the right and I had to punch out. I ended up not getting up and down.” –Alexandre Fuchs on his lone bogey, at No. 2
“It was just a good day. I had a lot of opportunities to make even more birdies, so I’m looking forward to [Friday] and continue doing what I’ve been doing.” –Alexandre Fuchs
Third-Round Weather: Overcast and pleasant, with a high of 73. Wind NE at 12-15 mph, with gusts to 18 mph.