London, Ont. – Rancho Cucamonga, California’s Rico Hoey shot an 8-under 62 on Saturday at Highland Country Club to take the third-round lead at the Freedom 55 Financial Championship, the final event of the 2017 Mackenzie Tour – PGA TOUR Canada season.
The 21-year old first-year professional made eight birdies on the day, including on his final two holes, to take a three-stroke lead over fellow Californians Cody Blick and Brett Lederer and Georgia’s Greyson Sigg with one round to go at Highland.
For Hoey, one last chance at victory on Sunday means the opportunity to move inside the coveted top five on the Order of Merit and earn Web.com Tour status for 2018. The University of Southern California alum said he’d do his best to put all of that out of mind, however, and get the job done with a solid final round.
“We have nothing to lose out here. We know we have to play well in order to squeeze inside the top 10 or top five, so we don’t need to add any unnecessary pressure. We’re just having a good time, and things will fall into place.”
Hoey began the day five shots off the 36-hole lead held by Blick – his hotel roommate and travelling partner this week – but quickly caught up with five birdies on the front nine. After closing poorly yesterday, he made sure to finish with a bang on Saturday, pumping his fist after pouring in a 12-foot birdie putt at the last.
“Yesterday I bogeyed 18, and that kind of left a sour taste in my mouth. I kind of wanted to come in and finish strong on the back nine, and I guess I did that,” said Hoey with a smile. “I’ve been working really hard, and I believe in myself. There’s nothing I can do but just keep going and hopefully I can pull it through.”
Blick, who carded a 61 on Friday, managed just an even-par 70 on Saturday to share second place with Sigg, who had a 63, and Lederer, who carded a 65.