*Image credit: Chuck Russell/PGA TOUR
Vancouver, British Columbia (Mackenzie Tour) – The Mackenzie Tour’s fifth season begins this week at the Freedom 55 Financial Open at Point Grey Golf and Country Club in Vancouver, B.C. Here’s a look at the storylines from this week, including what’s at stake, players to watch and key notes.
Dates: May 23-29
Course: Point Grey Golf and Country Club (Vancouver, B.C.)
2016 champion: Dan McCarthy
Purse: $175,000/$31,500 winner’s prize
Format: 72-hole stroke play
Twitter: @F55FOpen / #F55FOpen
Looking back at 2016
The 2016 Freedom 55 Financial Open was Dan McCarthy’s first career Mackenzie Tour win – and the first of four victories during a record-smashing season that saw the 30-year old Syracuse, New York native win Player of the Year honours and set the Tour record for wins (four), earnings ($157,843) and largest margin of victory (seven).
At Point Grey last year, McCarthy outdueled 54-hole co-leader Tyler McCumber with a final round 2-under 70, including a two-putt birdie from more than 80 feet on the 72nd hole to win by one.
The first step on the path to the PGA TOUR
The Mackenzie Tour represents the first step on the path to the PGA TOUR, with players competing to earn a promotion to the Web.com Tour and then on to the game’s biggest stage. Heading into its fifth season, the Mackenzie Tour counts 10 players on the PGA TOUR and an additional 66 with Web.com Tour status among its alumni, featuring TOUR winners Mackenzie Hughes, Nick Taylor and Tony Finau.
Below is a breakdown of the performance benefits players will compete for this season:
|Order of Merit Position||Status|
|Winner||Exempt for 2018 Web.com Tour|
|2nd through 5th||Conditional status on 2018 Web.com Tour, exempt to Final Stage of Web.com Tour Q-School|
|6th through 10th||Exempt to Final Stage of Web.com Tour Q-School|
|11th through 20th||Exempt to Second Stage of Web.com Tour Q-School|
Vancouver native Stuart Macdonald will make his professional debut this week. The 22-year old graduate of Golf Canada’s National Amateur Team and Purdue University grew up playing at Point Grey Golf & Country Club and recently captured team and individual victory at the Peruvian International Amateur Championship.
Williams looks to lead local contingent
Vancouver native Ryan Williams, who represents Point Grey Golf & Country Club, hopes to lead the way among British Columbians in the field this week. The 36-year old spent the offseason fine-tuning his game in Phoenix, Arizona, where he was the Money List leader on the Dreamchasers Tour. Williams has finished T7 and solo seventh in his last two starts at the Freedom 55 Financial Open.
British Columbians in the field this week (13): Brad Clapp (Chilliwack); Adam Cornelson (Langley); Seann Harlingten (West Vancouver); Stuart Macdonald (Vancouver); Riley Wheeldon (Comox); Ryan Williams (Vancouver); Devin Carrey (Surrey); Chris Crisologo (Richmond); Diego San Pedro (Richmond); Jay Snyder (Vancouver); Kevin Stinson (Mission); Dave Zibrik (Vancouver); Yi Cao (Richmond).
Dahmen uses Freedom 55 Financial Open as springboard to success
Joel Dahmen is in his rookie season on the PGA TOUR, and his performance at the 2014 Freedom 55 Financial Open is a major part of his story and how he got there. The Clarkston, Washington native won at Point Grey three years ago and went on to earn Player of the Year honours and exempt status on the Web.com Tour for the following year. Dahmen recently recorded his first career PGA TOUR top-10 finish at the AT&T Byron Nelson.
Devin Carrey, Surrey, B.C.
Chris Crisologo, Richmond, B.C.
Blair Hamilton, Burlington, Ont.
Matt Hill, Sarnia, Ont.
Diego San Pedro, Richmond, B.C.
Jay Snyder, Vancouver, B.C.
Kevin Stinson, Mission, B.C.
Dave Zibrik, Vancouver, B.C.
Open Qualifying took place at Swan-e-Set Bay Resort & Country Club.
T1. Tyler Ostrovsky (Thousand Oaks, Calif.) – 68
T1. Kevin Aylwin (New Symna Beach, Fla.) – 68
T1. Michael Kartrude (West Palm Beach, Fla.) – 68
T1. Brian Prouty (Tucson, Ariz.) – 68
T5. Alexander Hicks (Cape May Court House, N.J.) – 69
T5. Andrew Ledger (Toronto, Ont.) – 69
T5. Josh Hart (Jupiter, Fla.) – 69
T5. Sarosh Adi (Frisco, Tex.) – 69
T5. Kyle Souza (Sonoma, Calif.) – 69
T5. Andy Buege (Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.) – 69
· 24 Canadians are in the field.
· Former U.S. Amateur runner-up Oliver Goss is playing out of a category for Web.com Tour members and will make his Mackenzie Tour debut this week.
· Three members of Freedom 55 Financial’s Team Freedom are in the field: Ryan Williams, Taylor Pendrith and Matt Hill.
· 2016 tournament winners in the field: Adam Cornelson (Bayview Place Cardtronics Open presented by Times Colonist); Max Rottluff (SIGA Dakota Dunes Open); Charlie Bull (ATB Financial Classic).
· Other notable tournaments to be held at Point Grey Golf and Country Club include the RBC Canadian Open (1954) and Canadian Pacific Women’s Open (2003).
· The top three players on the Order of Merit through the first six events of the 2015 season will earn exemptions into the RBC Canadian Open.
· 17 Mackenzie Tour alumni, including seven members from 2016, are inside the top-75 on the Web.com Tour Money List and in position to make the Web.com Tour Finals.
· Five PGA TOUR era (2013-present) Mackenzie Tour alumni are in position to make the FedExCup Playoffs: Mackenzie Hughes (19), Tony Finau (26), J.J. Spaun (72), Nick Taylor (73), C.T. Pan (83).