Average putting day doesn’t stop Davison from taking 54-hole lead
June 10, 2021
By Staff, FORMETOUR.COM
- June 10, 2021
- Callum Davison is unique in that he swings the club and putts cross-handed. The right-hander uses a left-hand-below-the-right-hand grip for all shots. (Media/PGA TOUR)
DUPONT, Washington—On his first hole of the day, Canada’s Callum Davison hit his approach shot to six feet on the par-4 at The Home Course. The problem was, he left himself a downhill, left-to-right sliding putt. No problem, though. Davison calmly rolled in the birdie and looked like he was off and running. Davison only made two birdies the rest of the way, and he waited until the 16th and 17th holes to do so. Even with the birdie drought, those three birdies—against two bogeys—were still enough for him to shoot a 71 and move into first place in the Forme Tour Qualifying Tournament with one round to play. The 20-year-old Davison leads a pair of Americans, Eric Lilleboe and Mike Chanaud, by a shot, with American Cory Mehl and Canadian Jared du Toit two strokes back.
“My ball-striking was a lot better. I hit the driver better,” Davison said, assessing what he viewed as the positives from his day’s work. “I couldn’t make a 10-footer, though. It could have been a really good round.”
Particularly disappointing was Davison’s four-hole stretch, starting at No. 5, where the Duncan, British Columbia, native had birdie putts of 10 feet or less on all four holes and didn’t make one.
“They were just mis-reads, and then I started doubting myself,” he said. “I have to go back to the drills, the basics, and read them a little better.”
The temperature never moved above 60, and wind and occasional rain made for a difficult scoring day. Lilleboe, a Michigan native who has seen his fair share of bad weather, admitted the third round was “a battle,” especially once precipitation, sometimes falling sideways, entered the equation.
“The elements were definitely in play today. It was definitely playing a lot harder than the first two days,” Lilleboe said of course that hosted the 2010 U.S. Amateur. “The wind was up and down, then the rain came in, with the wind, and all of a sudden your normal hole turns into 40 yards longer. It was a factor.”
Lilleboe didn’t make a birdie on the front nine, and his bogey at the par-5 fifth slowed him considerably. “I laid sod over a 6-iron, and it took me some time to get back into the swing of things. I let [that shot] affect me a little longer than I should have.” He added a three-putt bogey on No. 9 and then made “a bad par” on the par-5 10th, his approach shot landing in the sand. Following a poor bunker shot, he missed his 25-foot birdie putt.
“I had two good swings but put my shot in the bunker by about a foot. If it doesn’t go in the bunker, I probably would have had a 25-foot eagle putt,” he said.
Chanaud, who entered the day tied for the lead with Davison, Lilleboe and du Toit, also had his struggles on the greens, beginning from the start of his round when he missed a five-footer for birdie on No. 1. He didn’t have a great opening to his back nine, either, missing the par-5 10th in regulation with his third-shot approach and unable to get up and down for par from behind the green.
Chanaud still made his way into the final grouping Friday, playing with Davison and Lilleboe, teeing off at 9:25 a.m. Mehl, du Toit and Chris Crisologo are in the penultimate grouping, teeing off at 9:15.
Did you know Cory Mehl is basically playing a home game this week, having grown up in nearby Seattle? Mehl owns the Jefferson Park Golf Course 18-hole record, shooting a 60 there to break Fred Couples’ mark. Mehl is a 2012 graduate of Santa Clara University in California and is currently on staff at the Pacific Northwest Golf Academy in Issaquah, Washington.
How the Tournament Works
Sixty-two players entered this tournament, with 60 still playing. Below is a breakdown of the various Forme Tour membership statuses available this week.
This is a 72-hole, no-cut event. There will be playoffs, if necessary, for the medalist position and for the fifth and final position available.
Players in this week’s field come from six countries (Canada, India, Mexico, South Africa, Sweden and the United States).
Callum Davison is unique in that he swings the club and putts cross-handed. The right-hander uses a left-hand-below-the-right-hand grip for all shots.
Last summer, Callum Davison played in all four Canada Life Series events held for Canada-based players once the pandemic forced the cancellation of the 2020 Mackenzie Tour season. Davison, who turned pro in 2018, earned two guaranteed Forme Tour starts because of his performance.
Thursday, Eric Lilleboe bogeyed the 18th hole for a second consecutive day. “That never sits well, but 18 was playing really tough today. I hit driver, 4-iron,” he said of the hole into the wind.
Brandon Tsujimoto has been par or better in all three of his rounds, his latest his second 70 of the week that moved him into a tie for eighth with 18 holes to play. Tsujimoto, a California-Riverside product, had a clean scorecard through 17 holes, with three birdies and 14 pars until an 18th-hole bogey.
Canada’s Sang Lee enjoyed the low round of the day. He also is tied for low-18 of the tournament. He shot a 5-under 67 after opening 76-73. He’s tied for 19th.
The only players with three under-par rounds this week are 54-hole leader Callum Davison (68-69-71) and Cory Mehl (70-70-70).
There were only three rounds in the 60s Thursday, coming courtesy of Sang Lee (67), Matthew Kreutz and Blair Hamilton (68s).
Matthew Kreutz has progressively improved as the week has gone on. After a disappointing 76 to open this Qualifying Tournament, the Canadian shot a 2-under 70 in the second round and was two strokes better than that Thursday. At 2-under for the tournament, he’s currently tied for 11th and in position to finish inside the top five Friday.
Canadian Blair Hamilton has had an interesting three days. After opening with a 4-under 68 and only a stroke off the 18-hole lead, the former University of Houston golfer had three front-nine double bogeys in the second round on his way to a 6-over 78. Thursday, Hamilton put himself back into contention with his second 68 of the tournament—this one courtesy of three birdies, an eagle and a bogey to go with his 13 pars. He’s tied for 11th.
After Blair Hamilton’s 10-shot improvement from one round to the next, Canadian Evan Holmes was eight shots better from the second round to the third. Like Hamilton, Holmes stumbled to a 6-over 78 in the second round only to come back with a 2-under 70 24 hours later.
There were 21 under-par scores in the opening round, with 29 at par or better. Wednesday, there were 19 under-par rounds, nine of them in the 60s. While Thursday’s third round yielded a similar number of under-par scores (18) compared to the previous day, there were only three rounds below 70.
The toughest hole in the third round was the closing 18th. Playing into the wind, the par-4 yielded a mere three birdies and the same amount of bogeys as pars (28). There was also one double bogey and two triple bogeys there. The stroke average was 4.532. The easiest hole was again the par-5 16th, with a field stroke average of 4.516. Twenty-four players made birdie there Thursday.
“I know if I can make some putts and keep the driver—I’ve been working on it every day—I will be right there in the mix [Friday].” –Callum Davison
“I used to be. I’ve been staying in Palm Springs all winter, so definitely not so great now.” –Callum Davison
“I’m still good in the weather. I grew up playing in bad weather. Hopefully it won’t be too bad [Friday], and I can get the job done.” –Callum Davison
“Today was definitely a tougher day mentally with the weather rolling in and out and some of the tougher hole locations. Overall, I thought even-par was a pretty good score, especially with the start I had.” –Eric Lilleboe, who was 2-over through 10 holes
“I’ve put myself in position to be here, to shoot a number tomorrow and make it. It’s just a matter of executing the golf shots that you’re drawing in your head and making the putts.” –Eric Lilleboe
“You can’t go around here burning edges all day and expect to get your card.” –Eric Lilleboe on the need to make putts
“I made a great swing on a 6-iron to about 12 inches. That was about two clubs too much on a hot, sunny day. Making a birdie there was big to get back—not just because of the score but mentally.” –Eric Lilleboe
Cloudy and cool, with a high of 61. Light drizzle, heavier at times, in the afternoon, beginning at 12:20. Rain stopped at 1:42 p.m. Rain resumed late in the day, lasting for about 12 minutes right as the round concluded. Wind WSW at 8-10 mph.