Dallas, Texas’ Kramer Hickok and Murray, Kentucky’s Patrick Newcomb reached 11-under through 54 holes on Saturday at Whitewater Golf Club to share the lead heading into the final round of the Staal Foundation Open presented by Tbaytel, the fifth event of the 2017 Mackenzie Tour – PGA TOUR Canada season.
Hickok, coming off a win last week at the Players Cup, carded 1-under 71 in round three to give himself a chance at his second consecutive Mackenzie Tour win, while Newcomb, a winner earlier this year on PGA TOUR Latinoamérica, managed a 3-under 69 to match Hickok at 11-under, one stroke ahead of Fulton, Mississippi’s Chad Ramey through three rounds in Thunder Bay.
“I’m still playing good golf,” said Hickok, who will look to become the first player during the Mackenzie Tour’s PGA TOUR era (2013-present) to win in back-to-back weeks. “I’m doing everything that I need to do, which starts with limiting mistakes and getting the ball in the fairway to start.”
“I’ve played really well. I’ve had some really quality stretches of golf. Today was a roller-coaster ride. I got off to a really hot start and forgot how to play golf for a few holes, and then figured it out coming home,” said Newcomb, who will look to become the first player to win on both PGA TOUR Latinoamérica and the Mackenzie Tour on Sunday.
Hickok and Newcomb were among the 78 players who returned to finish their second rounds on Saturday morning after play was suspended on Friday due to darkness. Hickok played nine holes in 5-under par to complete a 7-under 65 in round two, then made just one bogey and two birdies in round three to share the 54-hole lead.
With plenty of momentum from his Players Cup win, the 25-year old Hickok said he’d rely on his experience last week in Winnipeg, where he secured the win with birdies on each of his final two holes.
“It’s something I’m always going to look back on and just rely on down the stretch. I’ve done it before, and so I can keep on doing it now. It’s nice to know I can bring out my best stuff when I need it,” said Hickok.
Ramey, who led after Thursday’s play, carded his second 66 of the week, while a group of four players – Kimberley, B.C.’s Jared du Toit, Mequon, Wisconsin’s Jordan Niebrugge, Osceola, Wisconsin’s Charlie Danielson and Maysville, Kentucky’s Mark Blakefield – were a shot further behind at 9-under.