*Image credit: Kevin Light/PGA Tour
Victoria, British Columbia (Mackenzie Tour) – Dusseldorf, Germany’s Max Rottluff shot a 3-under 67 on Sunday at Uplands Golf Club to claim his second career Mackenzie Tour – PGA TOUR Canada victory at the Bayview Place Cardtronics Open presented by Times Colonist.
The 24-year old built a three-stroke lead down the closing stretch, then hung on to win by one over Jacksonville, Florida’s T.J. Vogel to earn his second career Mackenzie Tour title. The win moves Rottluff to second place on the Order of Merit, in position to earn Web.com Tour status for 2018.
“It’s great to get a win early in the season,” said Rottluff, who finished eighth on the Order of Merit last season thanks to a win at the SIGA Dakota Dunes Open. “I know it’s a long year, and there are a lot of quality players on this Tour, so I expect a lot of other guys to be in contention, but I’ll give it my best to secure a spot in The Five.”
Beginning the day two strokes behind Vogel, Rottluff was one of several players in the hunt as the leaders headed to the back nine, with Rottluff, Vogel and Lake Mary, Florida’s Jhared Hack holding a share of the lead.
It was then that Rottluff, a former 1st team NCAA All-American at Arizona State, took control, making birdies on holes 10 through 12 to jump in front by two shots over Vogel.
The deciding moment came at the par-4 16th, when Rottluff poured in a 30-footer for birdie to extend his lead to three. After Vogel birdied the 17th but narrowly missed a birdie putt at the 72nd hole, Rottluff needed only a two-putt bogey at the last to secure his second professional victory.
“I knew exactly what the ball was going to do,” said Rottluff of his decisive birdie putt at 16. “I was able to match the speed perfectly, and that was a huge, huge momentum swing for sure.”
The win was extra special for Rottluff and his father Sepp, a former pro hockey player in Germany who is caddying for his son during the B.C. Golf Swing, the three Mackenzie Tour events in Vancouver, Victoria and Kelowna.
“I had a special caddie last year for my first win, and I had a very special caddie for me again this week,” said Rottluff, whose girlfriend Emily caddied for him during his first win last year. “It means a lot for me to pull a win off with him.”
Vogel carded an even-par 70 on Sunday to finish at 15-under and record his best career Mackenzie Tour finish, while Hack and Danville, California’s Cody Blick both notched career-best T3 finishes a shot further behind at 14-under.
Max Rottluff was making his 12th career start on the Mackenzie Tour. In 2016, he finished eighth on the Order of Merit thanks to a win at the SIGA Dakota Dunes Open in just his third professional start.
The 24-year old recently graduated in 2016 from Arizona State University, where he was named a 1st Team All-American in 2015. Rottluff was a teammate for four years with PGA TOUR winner Jon Rahm.
Rottluff becomes the first player during the PGA TOUR era on the Mackenzie Tour (2013-present) to win in back-to-back seasons.
Rottluff remains the only German-born winner in Mackenzie Tour history and claimed victory the same day that countryman Stephan Jaeger won the Web.com Tour’s Rust-Oleum Championship.
COCKERILL TAKES FREEDOM 55 FINANCIAL TOP CANADIAN
With a total score of 10-under par in a tie for eighth, Stony Mountain, Manitoba’s Aaron Cockerill finished as the top Canadian on the leaderboard, earning Freedom 55 Financial Canadian Player of the Week honours and a $2,500 prize.
The top Canadian on the leaderboard each week takes home the award, with the top Canadian on the Order of Merit at season’s end earning the Dan Halldorson Trophy, Freedom 55 Financial Canadian Player of the Year honours and a $25,000 prize.
CHASE FOR THE FIVE
With a T42 finish on Sunday, Dunedin, Florida’s Lee McCoy maintained his spot atop the Order of Merit. Below are the top five players through two events:
- Lee McCoy $32,200
- Max Rottluff $32,012
- T.J. Vogel $21,963
- Hunter Stewart $20,300
- Jordan Niebrugge $16,328
- Weather: 19 degrees Celsius, sunny, winds 11 km/h.
- Rottluff received seven free daily rental vouchers for a rental car from AVIS for the win.
- Rottluff’s ASU teammate Jared du Toit finished T29 in his professional debut.
- Click here for scores.