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  • Wagoner fires a 62 for a come-from-behind win in Mazatlán

  • The 24-year old Arizona State University alum had a bogey-free 62 to win by two shots at Estrella del Mar Golf, Beach and Condos, on the Pacific Coast of Mexico. (Media/PGA TOUR)
    The 24-year old Arizona State University alum had a bogey-free 62 to win by two shots at Estrella del Mar Golf, Beach and Condos, on the Pacific Coast of Mexico. (Media/PGA TOUR)
  • In This Article
  • MAZATLAN, Mexico—Trailing by seven in a tie for the tenth spot at the start of the final day, the thought of walking away with medalist honors didn’t cross Blake Wagoner’s mind at the PGA TOUR Latinoamérica Q-School at Estrella del Mar.

    “I really was just focusing on getting inside the top-12. I really wasn’t planning on contending for the win,” admitted Wagoner, who opened the day with a 29 on the front-nine on his way to a tournament-low 9-under 62 that secured him a two-shot win, at 17-under for the week.

    With the bogey-free effort that took him to the top Friday, Wagoner secured full exempt status for the 2021-22 PGA TOUR Latinoamérica, which starts in 20 days in Argentina.

    Holding the lead since firing a second-round 63 on Wednesday, Sweden’s Tim Widing was at 17-under with three holes to play. His chances of winning or forcing a playoff went away when he made back-to-back bogeys on 16 and 17 to drop into a tie for second with New Zealand’s Denzel Ieremia, who carded a 66.

    Widing and Ieremia joined Winston Munch, Eric Dugas, Zander Winston, Rak Cho, Emilio González, Henry Lee, Michael Feuerstein, Jose Pablo Rolz and Ben Doyle in a group of eleven players who will be exempt to play in all events through the first half of the season. Rolz and Doyle earned the final two spots inside the top-12 by prevailing in a seven-players-for-two spots playoff contested on No. 10, where they recorded birdies.

    On the losing end of the playoff, Danny Ochoa, Evan Long, Charlie Hillier, Andy Spencer and Brian Ohr of the U.S. will be conditionally exempt this season, along with the rest of the players who finished inside a six-way tie for the thirty-ninth spot.

    “I got off to a really hot start and I just kept hitting my irons close all day and made it pretty easy on myself,” said Wagoner, whose idea of chasing a round of 3 or 4-under to lock up a top-12 spot quickly transformed into something bigger.

    Opening with birdies on 1, 3 and 4, Wagoner added three birdies in a row from 6 through 8 to shoot 6-under 29 on the front nine. “I didn’t have a birdie putt outside six-feet on the front nine. I missed a couple of short ones, but I made all the others,” said the 24-year old Arizona State University alum.

    Another birdie on 10 moved him into a tie for the lead at 15-under heading into the toughest holes at Estrella del Mar. “There’s a few tough tee shots on the back. No. 11 has given me some trouble the past couple of rounds, so I just kept it in the fairway there. That freed me up a little bit and I was in autopilot from there, trying not to make any mistakes,” he added about a final stretch in which he birdied Nos. 13 and 18 to secure a number no one else was able to match.

    A runner-up at a Forme Tour Q-School last April in Phoenix, where he dropped into a playoff after missing a short putt to make a double-bogey at the last, Wagoner kind of found redemption with his two-shot victory Friday. “I try not to think about that too much, but I do definitely think about that. It was just a learning experience. You just have to keep moving forward and try not to let that happen again,” said the North Carolina native who will be playing in Latin America for the first time.

    Did you know Blake Wagoner played on the Forme Tour this past season? He made the cut in five of his eight starts to finish the season ranked 46th on the points list, which secured him full exempt status for the 2022 season. His best Forme Tour finishes were a tie for eighth at the Rolling Green Championship and a tie for thirteenth at the Auburn University Club Invitational.

    Key Information

    How the Tournament Worked

    Ninety-one players began this week, with 89 completing 72 holes. Below is a breakdown of the various PGA TOUR Latinoamérica membership statuses players earned for the 2021-22 season.

    Finish Position

    Status

    Medalist

    Blake Wagoner

    Exempt membership for the 2021-22 season

    2nd through 12th (no ties)

    Tim Widing

    Denzel Ieremia

    Winston Munch

    Eric Dugas

    Zander Winston

    Rak Cho

    Emilio González

    Henry Lee (a)

    Michael Feuerstein

    José Pablo Rolz

    Ben Doyle

    Exempt through the reshuffle, which will occur approximately halfway through the season

    13th through 40th (plus ties)

    Danny Ochoa

    Evan Long

    Charlie Hillier

    Andy Spencer

    Brian Ohr

    Evan Katz (a)

    Brax McCarthy

    Kaleb Gorbahn

    Daniel Robinson

    Blaine Hale

    Fernando López Butrón

    Chris Minton

    Joshua Seiple

    Andrew Spilman

    Jared du Toit

    Jack Sparrow

    Matt Kang

    Stephan Saleeby

    Greyson Porter

    David Faraudo

    Daniel Hudson

    Carlo Picón

    Alejandro Villasana

    Adam Navigato

    Christopher Malec

    Thomas Longbella

    Thomas Bevington

    Drew Shepherd

    Calvin Ross

    Trey Fessler

    Jacob Loya

    Joseph Harvie

    Conditional membership

    Although he birdied the first hole to extend his lead to four shots, Tim Widing couldn’t get anything going for most of the day. At even-par for the day through 13 holes, he made consecutive birdies on 14 and 15 to get to 17-under. He was unable to carry the momentum, running into trouble with consecutive bogeys on 16 and 17 to drop into a two-way tie for second.

    Henry Lee was the best of four amateurs competing this week and the only one leaving home with guaranteed starts. The 23-year old from Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, had four rounds in the 60s, carding a 69 today, to make it into the tie for sixth at 11-under.

    Carding a 1-under 70 to finish in a tie for sixth, Emilio González was the only player from Mexico to secure Tour starts this week. There were 13 Mexican players in this week’s field and following are their final scores and positions:

    Pos.

    Name

    Score

    T6

    Emilio González

    -11

    T23

    Fernando López Butrón 

    -7

    T31

    David Faraudo

    -5

    T34

    Carlo Picón Camacho

    -4

    T34

    Alejandro Villasana

    -4

    T50

    Santiago Castilla

    even

    66

    Fernando Cruz Valle

    +6

    T70

    Joaquín Arguelles

    +8

    T76

    Salvador Rocha Gómez

    +12

    79

    José Calanda

    +14

    T84

    Diego Marmolejo

    +19

    87

    Eugenio Núñez

    +25

    WD

    Pablo Rincón Gallardo

    ----

    Finishing in a tie for the nineteenth spot with a final round of 7-under 64, Brax McCarthy made a nice charge. He shot a 29 on the front nine that included a hole-in-one on No. 6, a short par-3, where he had 135 yards to the pin. A native of Fort Worth, Texas who will turn 30 on Monday, McCarthy hit a pitching wedge for his first ace in a professional tournament, his fifth overall.

    A par-72 that plays at 7,015 yards, Estrella del Mar was played as a par-71 this week, with officials shortening the first hole to 360 yards, making it a par-4. The opening hole regularly plays as a 541-yard par-5, but due to the effects of two recent hurricanes and heavy rain that flooded the hole, the tee box had to be moved forward into a new area.

    With the course playing wet in several areas because of recent bad weather, preferred lies in closely mown areas were in effect throughout all four rounds.

    Quotable

    “I’m pumped, I’m excited. I played on the Forme Tour this past season and kept my card there, but I’m ready to get out of the country and go see some new places.”—Blake Wagoner talking about playing his first season in Latin America

    “(My Spanish) needs to get better. Maybe, I will download Duolingo.”—Blake Wagoner 

    “I made a birdie on the first hole, just like I wanted, to get off to a good start. I made about a twelve-footer there and then I don’t know what happened. I got a little comfortable and just couldn’t make any birdie putts like yesterday. Sometimes you just need one putt to fall to switch the momentum. I kept struggling to make those critical putts.”—Tim Widing

    “(No.) 16 is playing tough, 210 yards into the wind. (I) missed a six-footer there and made bogey, and then, 17, I hit a great drive that rolled into the rough. I was expecting it to fly a little longer, because every time I have been in the rough this week it’s kind of been jumping and flying, but this time it didn’t, and it plugged in the bunker. It was an impossible shot to hit to that pin location, so I basically had to pull the last shot on 18 and hit it to nine feet. All-in-all, I’m really disappointed that I couldn’t finish it off after the first two days, but I earned myself a (PGA TOUR) Latinoamérica card and I’m very excited to get the season started.”—Tim Widing describing the costly bogeys he made on 16 and 17

    “It was good today. I felt like the first three days I didn’t really have my best stuff and today I woke up feeling a little better. I got off to a slow start, I was 2-over through 5, and then put up a nice run, started rolling some putts and I made some good shots, so I’m happy with the day.”—Denzel Ieremia on the 66 that moved him into a tie for second

    “I’m happy to secure starts for the first six tournaments of the season, but it was a little more stressful than it should have been. I didn’t play my best golf the final 36 holes, but I stayed patient, trying to take advantage of my opportunities.”—Emilio González

    “I didn’t have a good front nine, but when I made the turn I told myself ‘You have to leave your heart out there on the course’ and I made birdies on 10, 11 and 13. Then, I made a dumb bogey on 14, but I came back with birdie on 15 and made pars coming in to make it into a playoff.”—José Pablo Rolz

    “The playoff (for two spots inside the top-12) was very interesting. It was seven players for two spots, playing together on the tenth hole. I had never seen anything like that. I hooked it off the tee, it was horrible, but I’m a fighter, so I stayed positive, thinking that I was going to be fine. I had a good angle of attack from there and I hit a great shot and then made the birdie putt. It was good enough to make it through with another player. It was a high bust of emotions right there at the end.”—José Pablo Rolz

    Final-Round Weather Report

    Sunny and clear. High of 89. Wind NNE at 7 mph.