Nathan Tyler, Carlos Sainz, Jr. share 36-hole lead at The Players Cup

PGA TOUR Canada – Players look to move inside Order of Merit top three and get RBC Canadian Open spots

Second round Leaderboard – The Players Cup
(Bold denotes Canadian)

T-1. Carlos Sainz, Jr. – 67 (-12)
T-1. Nathan Tyler – 64 (-12)
3. Mackenzie Hughes – 67 (-11)
4. Cory Renfrew – 66 (-10)

T-5. Wil Collins – 68 (-9)
T-5. Doug McGuigan – 69 (-9)

(July 19, 2013 – Winnipeg, MB) – Nathan Tyler of Tucson, Arizona and Carlos Sainz, Jr. of Elgin, Illinois both reached 12-under par through 36 holes at Pine Ridge Golf Club Friday to share the lead through two rounds at The Players Cup.

Tyler shot an 8-under par 64, tied for the best round of the day, while Sainz, Jr. followed up his 65 from round one with a 67 Friday to share the lead by one over Mackenzie Hughes of Dundas, Ontario and by two over Victoria, British Columbia’s Cory Renfrew.

“I’m just trying to stay within myself, keep the ball in between the trees and give myself as many opportunities as possible,” said Tyler, who has made all four cuts in his rookie season on PGA TOUR Canada. “I’ve played well this year and feel comfortable where I’m at. I just hope to continue doing what I’m doing.”

“There were a couple of up and downs there that were the key to my round,” said Sainz, Jr. “When you’re playing well, the difference between 71 and 67 can be just a couple of up and downs. You have to fall back on your short game.”

Hughes made seven birdies and a bogey for a 67, while Renfrew, playing in the same group as Sainz, Jr., followed up his first round 68 with a bogey-free 66 to reach 10-under par.

“Playing with Carlos has made it easy, watching him smooth it out there and roll in some putts,” said Renfrew, coming off a solo third place finish last week in Fort McMurray. “I’m just excited right now. I’m hitting it well and rolling the putter well. I’m just trying to have fun out there and make birdies, and things are going well so far.”

While Hughes already has an exemption into next week’s RBC Canadian Open, Tyler, Sainz, Jr. and Renfrew are all looking to make a move up the Order of Merit and finish inside the top three, all of whom will receive exemptions into the PGA TOUR event. Wil Collins, the current Order of Merit no. 2, shot a bogey-free 68 to sit 9-under and in a tie for fifth, while no. 3 Stephen Gangluff shot his second straight 71 and was tied for 40th at 2-under par.

Renfrew is eighth on the Order of Merit and would need at least a solo second to catch Gangluff’s total of $27,585, while Tyler and Sainz, Jr. would both need a win to reach the top three.

Hughes making the most of opportunity

Mackenzie Hughes has played each PGA TOUR Canada event this season under one of Golf Canada’s National Amateur Team exemptions, which give members of the team and recent alumni a chance to develop their games in PGA TOUR Canada events.

Hughes not only finds himself playing the weekend for the first time in four events, he’s squarely in contention through 36 holes at 11-under par, just a shot back of the lead.

“The first few events I wasn’t that far off,” said Hughes, the 2011 and 2012 Canadian Amateur champion, who will play at Glen Abbey next week in the RBC Canadian Open. “It feels good to put it together for a few days and I’m excited for the weekend.

The 22-year old qualified for the US Open in June and turned professional last fall after a successful amateur career at Kent State University.

Stough’s crazy week continues with hole-in-one

Laurel, Maryland’s Kyle Stough has the longest drive contest locked up this week; the 25-year old drove 17 hours from Fort McMurray to Winnipeg on Monday, leaving at 5:00 AM Mountain Time, stopping only for gas and arriving at 11:30 PM Central Time.

The University of Virginia grad’s crazy week continued Friday with a hole-in-one from 178 yards on the par-3 14th, giving him a second round 69 and an 8-under total, good for a tie for seventh spot. The only problem? The excitement may have gotten Stough a little too pumped up, leading to a pair of bogeys over his final four holes.

“I have to say, it’s hard to play after a hole-in-one,” said Stough. “You get really amped up and it’s really hard to calm yourself down. I made a couple of bogeys coming in probably because I was a little too jacked up and I couldn’t get myself calmed down. But I’ll take it any day.”

Stough, who made seven of eight cuts in 2012, said the long drive wasn’t posing any ill effects so far.

“As long as I only spend one day driving I don’t mind it,” said Stough, who made the trek in his 2005 Jeep Liberty. “It was really nice that I could come out Tuesday and practice.”

Notes:

– Weather: Sunny, 23 degrees Celsius, winds 23 km/h gusting to 36 km/h
– The cut came at 1-under par, with 69 players making it to the weekend
– Joe Panzeri tied Nathan Tyler for the round of the day with a 64, rebounding from an opening round 77. Panzeri jumped 114 spots from T-145 to T-31
– Order of Merit no. 4 Nick Taylor bounced back from an opening round 76 with a second round 67 to make the cut on the number
– Kyle Stough’s hole-in-one was the fourth of the 2013 PGA TOUR Canada season
– 12 players have made the cut in all four PGA TOUR Canada events: Nathan Tyler, Cory Renfrew, Jaco Ahlers, Tyler Aldridge, Dan Buchner, Riley Wheeldon, Brock Mackenzie, Brady Schnell, Michael Gligic, John Ellis, Joe Panzeri and Nick Taylor
– The 231-yard par-3 ninth hole is the hardest hole against par at Pine Ridge Golf Club through two rounds, averaging a half shot over par at 3.50 and yielding just three birdies for the week. The 509-yard par-5 second is the easiest with a stroke average of just 4.46
– For the first time on PGA TOUR Canada, driving distances are being measured, with measurements being taken on holes two and 11. Tony Finau had the longest drive of the day, a 336-yard blast on the 11th hole. Jesse Smith had the longest average Friday at 312 yards
– Round three will begin at 7:30 AM, with the final twosome of Sainz, Jr. and Tyler going off at 1:10 PM

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