Lake Elsinore, California’s Aaron Wise (pictured above) shot an even-par 72 on Friday at Crown Isle Resort and Golf Community to take medalist honours and earn fully exempt status for the 2016 Mackenzie Tour – PGA TOUR Canada season at the British Columbia Qualifying Tournament.
The 19-year old sophomore at the University of Oregon finished at 14-under for the week, two shots ahead of Dallas, Texas’ Conrad Shindler and Atherton, California’s Jonathan Garrick.
“It feels awesome,” said Wise, who admitted victory had eluded him in recent weeks competing for the Oregon Ducks. “The last four events coming into this one, all four were top-10s and three of them were top-3s and I didn’t quite win one. I knew I had a great opportunity after the first three rounds I played, and I did well to finish this one off.”
Starting the day ahead of Shindler and San Antonio, Texas’ Jeff Rein by four shots, Wise held steady with two birdies and two bogeys on the day, giving the world’s No. 6-ranked amateur a confidence-boosting win heading into the NCAA Regionals and Nationals.
“I know I’ve been playing great, but winning’s a whole other level, and to win on a stage that’s even bigger than the college stage is awesome. Going back for regionals and nationals, I’m going to do everything I can to help my team out and take it from there,” said Wise.
The Southern California native said he plans to turn pro following the completion of the NCAA Championships on June 1, meaning he’ll miss at least the season-opening Freedom 55 Financial Open. That make his exempt status through the 2016 season even more important, a fact not lost on Wise.
“It’s awesome, especially because I’m going to miss the first two events. To be able to build your own schedule, I can plan flights and hotels and all that in advance, which is awesome,” said Wise.
In all, 41 players earned status, including 30 Americans, seven Canadians, two Chileans, one Scotsman and one Argentinian.
FINAL SCORES FOR MACKENZIE TOUR STATUS:
1st (Exempt for 2016 season): -14/1st
16th (Exempt through 1st re-shuffle): -3/T16 (3-for-1 playoff won by David Lee)
40th plus ties (Conditional status): +1/T37
AARON WISE: World’s No. 6-ranked amateur owns four collegiate victories in two seasons at the University of Oregon and was named a semi-finalist this year for the Ben Hogan Award.
CONRAD SHINDLER: Texas native and 2013 Mackenzie Tour member won Adams Tour’s 2013 Gateway Buick GMC Cadillac Championship and donated entire $15,000 winner’s check to charity. Helped Texas A&M to NCAA Championship in 2010.
JONATHAN GARRICK: Three-time All-American at UCLA is listed at No. 40 in the World Amateur Golf Ranking.
JEFF REIN: 2015 Mackenzie Tour member made six cuts in 11 starts on the Mackenzie Tour in 2015, with a season-best T21 finish at the Wildfire Invitational
JONATHAN MOORE: 31-year old owns one Asian Developmental Tour win and helped United States to Walker Cup win in 2007.
JAY MYERS: 2014-15 Mackenzie Tour member was college teammates with 2013 The Five member and PGA TOUR player Mark Hubbard at San Jose State. Held 54-hole lead at 2015 Freedom 55 Financial Open.
BRENDAN DILLON: Port Moody, B.C. native captured first professional victory earlier this year on the Vancouver Golf Tour.
JOSEPH HARRISON: Las Vegas native and University of San Diego grad made three cuts in 11 Mackenzie Tour starts in 2015.
DAVID FINK: Hawaii native spent summers growing up on nearby Grandby Island. Played 11 Mackenzie Tour events in 2015, making three cuts.
JACK WHELAN: Topsfield, Massachusetts native played collegiate golf at St. Lawrence University (DIII).
TAYLOR MOORE (a): University of Arkansas senior was named an honorable mention All-American in 2015 and was co-medalist at the 2015 U.S. Amateur.
JOEL THELEN: Lansing, Michigan native made two cuts in nine events on 2015 Mackenzie Tour.
THOMAS HAY: Langley, B.C. native held first round lead at 2015 Freedom 55 Financial Open before finishing T31.
ADAM CORNELSON: Owns nine top-25 finishes in 50 career Mackenzie Tour starts, including a T2 at the 2014 Freedom 55 Financial Championship.
AARON COCKERILL: Gunton, Manitoba played college golf at University of Idaho and made cut at 2015 Bayview Place Island Savings Open presented by Times Colonist (T46) after Monday qualifying.
DAVID LEE: Former SMU Mustang prevailed in a three-for-one playoff to earn 16th spot and exempt status through the first four events.
For Full Field scores, click HERE.