Caledon, Ont. – The term “Moving Day” certainly lived up to its definition on Wednesday at The Pulpit Club as Ashton McCulloch finished strong to take a one-shot lead into the final round of the 118th Canadian Men’s Amateur Championship.
McCulloch of Kingston, Ont. was two-over through 13 holes on Wednesday but finished with three straight birdies on holes 14 through 16 to sit at 6-under for the tournament and hold a one-shot lead over Collin Hodgkinson and Caleb VanArragon.
“It’s exactly why you don’t quit in a round. I really struggled with the putter early, I missed a couple putts that I felt I should have had…I couldn’t get anything going. It all started when I lipped out from forty feet on 10. I was like no, they’re going to start dropping and then I made back-to-back ten footers on 15 and 16 and that really propelled me to a strong finish today,” said McCulloch.
McCulloch has played well all week posting rounds of 69-68-70 and was part of Team Ontario’s Inter-Provincial team championship win on Tuesday. For McCulloch it comes down to trusting himself and his game, “I’ve played well all week, when I haven’t had my best stuff, I’ve found a way to grind through for a couple holes and find something that works. It’s going to be fun tomorrow.”
Behind him are Hodgkinson of Beaverton, Ore. and VanArragon of Blaine, Minn. both players sit at 5-under. Hodgkinson caught fire with four straight birdies from 11 to 14 but ended with a double bogey on the 18th to shoot 67 and sit in a tie for second.
“I was playing really well…six-under and hit one poor tee shot on 18 and it cost me two shots. Other than that, just hitting the ball really well and putting really well,” said Hodgkinson.
VanArragon was one-over through 11 holes on Wednesday but finished with three birdies and an eagle in his final seven holes to finish with a 68 and sit tied with Hodgkinson.
“I was able to hit a good wedge to within about two feet on 12 and then 13, I had a good number in the fairway, the wind was into the face which was good, it helped me stopped the ball on the green, hit a good seven iron to about six feet and made the putt from then on I felt I had a lot of momentum going,” said VanArragon.
The packed leaderboard includes three players at -4 heading into Thursday’s final round at The Pulpit. John Wild of Glen Ellyn, Ill., Xavier Marcoux of Concord, Mass., and round two leader Jordan Gilkison of Washington Township, Ohio all sit two back of McCulloch.
The final round at The Pulpit will tee off at 8:00 a.m. with the leaders teeing off at 10:01 a.m. For final round pairings, please click here.
The 2023 Canadian Men’s Amateur Champion receives an exemption into the 2024 RBC Canadian Open at Hamilton Golf and Country Club in Hamilton, Ont. and the 2023 U.S. Amateur Championship taking place at the Cherry Hills Country Club in Cherry Hills Village, Colo. from August 14-20.
For the leaderboard of the 118th Canadian Men’s Amateur Championship, presented by BDO, please click here.
GOLF CANADA AMATEUR CHAMPIONSHIPS
Golf Canada annually conducts more than 30 golf competitions and qualifiers nation-wide – including nine National Amateur Championships – which play host to more than 3,000 domestic and international athletes from all corners of the world. In partnership with our host clubs, thousands of volunteers, provincial golf associations and our proud sponsors, Golf Canada is dedicated to supporting player development through world-class competition since our inception in 1895. Officiated by certified Canadian Rules of Golf officials, Golf Canada’s amateur competitions are fully compliant with golf’s international governing bodies and include marquee events such as the Canadian Men’s and Women’s Amateur Championships as well as the Canadian Junior Girls and Junior Boys Championships. Golf Canada’s amateur championships are proudly supported by BDO Canada, Canadian Pacific Kansas City (CPKC), Titleist, FootJoy, Sport Canada, Levelwear and JOURNIE Rewards. For more information and scheduling visit www.golfcanada.ca/championships.