Tuesday, May 11, 2021

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Final-round 67 lifts Gagne to impressive Q-School triumph

• This was a 72-hole, no-cut event and there were no playoffs necessary to determine final status coming out of this tournament.

• Players in this week’s field came from 14 countries and territories (Argentina, Australia, Bermuda, Canada, China, Chinese Taipei, Costa Rica, England, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Japan, Mexico and Venezuela.

• A year ago, John Clare earned PGA TOUR Latinoamérica status by tying for eighth at the Qualifying Tournament at Mission Inn Club and Resort’s El Campeon Course. He shot rounds of 69-70-76-70 a year ago vs. his 70-71-72-66 effort this week. In his rookie PGA TOUR Latinoamérica campaign, Clare has played in three events, with one made cut—a tie for 22nd at the Shell Open in Miami in mid-December 2020. Clare also played the LOCALiQ Series last summer, making two cuts.

• Jake Scott’s last Mackenzie Tour appearance came at the 2018 Mackenzie Investments Open, where he missed the cut. Earlier in the 2018 season, at the Windsor Championship, Scott was tied for second with Taylor Pendrith through 36 holes. He opened 62-68 before fading on the weekend at Ambassador Golf Club, settling for a tie for 34th.

• The round of the day belonged to amateur Austin Hitt. After shooting everything in the 70s in his first three rounds 70-75-70, the University of North Carolina graduate shot a 7-under 65 and just missed earning full status for the first half of the season. He finished at 8-under and alone in seventh place, a shot behind another amateur, Saptak Talwar, who secured the final exemption. Hitt’s 65 was not only the low score of the final round, it was the low score of the tournament.

• Austin Hitt had a clean scorecard Friday, with two birdies on his opening nine (the back nine at the El Campeon Course), adding five additional birdies over his final nine holes. Prior to his seven-birdie performance in the final round, he had only made 11 birdies total in his first 54 holes.
• Medalist Luis Gagne, Cristian Dimarco and Jake Scott were the only three players in the field to record four under-par rounds this week. Gagne and amateur Saptak Talwar (69-74-67-69) were the only players with three rounds in the 60s.

• It was a great week for amateurs. Not only did Zack Taylor and Saptak Talwar earn full status for the first half of the Mackenzie Tour season, Austin Hitt (seventh), Josh Gilkison (tied for 13th) and David Perkins (tied for 17th) all earned conditional status.

• Thomas Lilly had an impressive move forward in the final round. After opening 71-74-76 and sitting at 1-over through 54 holes, Lilly shot a Friday 66 to move up 21 places on the leaderboard and into a tie for 23rd, good for conditional Mackenzie Tour status. The former University of North Carolina golfer has previous played in one PGA TOUR-affiliated Tour event—on PGA TOUR Latinoamérica. He missed the cut at the 2019 BMW Jamaica Classic.

• Jake Scott made eight pars to start his final round (playing El Campeon’s back nine first). He holed out for eagle on No. 18 from 135 yards then immediately made the turn and birdie his 10th hole. That’s when what he called “the rollercoaster” began, as he bogeyed his 11th hole, parred his 12th, birdied his 13th and 16th and bogeyed his 14th and double-bogeyed the 17th, hitting his tee shot into the water at the par-3 eighth. “I got to 11-under, and I felt I was safe (at securing a card). But you never know what’s going to happen, so I kept plugging away no matter what.”

Quotable

“I hit a cut in there, so I knew it was going to work toward the pin. So I started it out at the tent (behind the green) and if it stayed straight I would be fine, and if I pushed it it would be perfect.” –Luis Gagne on his approach shot into the 18th green that led to a birdie

“I wasn’t sure what to expect after a month of not-so-great playing, but the gameplan came together really well. It was kind of rocky out there today. I had a bit of a rollercoaster, but we got it done.” –Jake Scott on his fourth-place finish

“It was rocky on the final nine. I made a couple of bad swings, but I made a couple of good birdies to make up for it.” –Jake Scott

“I’m happy with where we’re at right now. I just have to keep practicing and go to some Korn Ferry (Tour) qualifiers coming up and see how those go.” –Jake Scott

“I’m back to playing full time. I finished up my last year (as a club pro) in November and came down to Florida to play some PGA events to finish the year last year and started playing full time after the new year, and it’s coming together.” –Jake Scott

“I’m very satisfied and excited with the result. Leading up to coming down here, I really wasn’t playing extremely well. I definitely had some doubts coming into it. But now seeing where I stand, I’m very excited, and it’s an opportunity I’m really looking forward to.” –Zack Taylor

“Overall it was obviously a very good week. The second round I was good except for a little stretch that got me. The first and third rounds I hit the ball really well and putted really well. Today’s round, I didn’t do too well with either.” –Zack Taylor

“There were definitely some nerves involved. I didn’t go in with that assurance that everything was going to be perfect. There was some doubt in there, that led to some not-so-good shots.” –Zack Taylor

Final-Round Weather: Sunny and warm. High of 79. Wind SE at 3-5 mph.

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