Brad Miller Takes Medalist Honors In Lakeland
- Category: Inside Golf
- Published: 2018-04-30
(Photo/Mackenzie Tour – PGA TOUR Canada)
LAKELAND, Florida (Mackenzie Tour – PGA TOUR Canada) — Brad Miller closed with a 5-under-par 67, his fourth consecutive round in the 60s, to claim medalist honors at the Mackenzie Tour – PGA TOUR Canada U.S. East No. 2 qualifier at The Club at Eaglebrooke. The Timonium, Maryland, native edged Jake Mondy by one stroke and finished the event with a 72-hole total of 21-under-par 267. Amateur Brendon Jelley claimed third place, two back of Miller.
The turning point for Miller, a former player at the University of Richmond, came on No. 17 when he made an eagle to regain a share of the lead. Trailing by two after 16 holes, Miller hit hybrid, and a 4-iron from 240 yards to four feet for his eagle to knot the score at 21-under. Moments later, his eagle would prove decisive when Mondy made a costly mistake off the tee on 18. He missed the fairway left off the tee and hit his second shot into a fairway bunker. From there, he was unable to get it up and down for bogey, handing Miller the win.
“No. 18 has my number for some reason,” said Mondy. “That to me is the hardest hole in the golf course. I missed the fairway and bogey was about the best I was going to do. I really should have birdied 17.”
The win helped Miller reach one of his goals for the week, allowing him to make his playing plans for the 2018 season.
“The goal at the start of the week was to win here, so it’s nice to just do it,” Miller said after his round. The great thing is that you can start out just playing carefree when the year begins because you have the whole year.
“I started out playing pretty smooth today,” Miller added, “but by the fifth hole I was already losing to Jake, which I think was the best thing to happen. As I said [Thursday], I knew people were going to
shoot good scores, so I knew I had to get going. One of the keys was I played the par-5s in 6-under and had eagles on Nos. 7 and 17. The one on 17 was critical.”
Despite his misfortune on No. 18, Mondy was pleased with his week overall, which included leading the field with the 29 birdies he made over the four rounds.
“Overall, I was pleased with how I played this week. When you finish 20-under it doesn’t matter where you’re playing, that’s a good week,” Mondy said.
Jelley closed a solid week in his first crack attempting to qualify for professional golf with his third-place finish. The senior at Oklahoma State closed with a 5-under-par 67 and had four sub-par rounds.
“I’m super excited,” Jelley said. “Coming in, I didn’t know where to place my expectations, but I felt good about my game, so it’s great to see the results. A lot of hard work went into this so I’m very excited.”
“I had a pretty good warmup session today and thought today was going to be a pretty good day. I birdied the first hole and went on from there and just wanted to see how many birdies I could make. Just got out of my own way and it worked really well. I had nine birdies today. ” – Andre Garcia on his course record 63.
“I was pretty pleased with how I played this week. I didn’t get off to the best start. I think I was 3-over after five holes, and I told myself I better buckle down, and I had a good first round. I came out the next day and had a good second round. [Thursday] was a little bit of a struggle coming in at the end, but I got a couple at the end and then today was unreal.” – Andre Garcia
Brad Miller joins Michael McGowan, Sam Fidone and Dawson Armstrong with fully-exempt status for the 2018 season. Fidone won the Santee, California, qualifier, while Armstrong prevailed in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. McGowan won the tournament in Litchfield, Arizona. The last fully-exempt spot will be determined at next week’s qualifier in Courtenay, British Columbia at Crown Isle Resort.
Andre Garcia set a course record Friday, shooting a 9-under-par 63, breaking the previous mark set by Mike San Filippo in a PGA TOUR Champions qualifier. It was Garcia’s career-low round. His previous-best was a 66 in a tournament playing for the University of New Mexico Lobos. Garcia tied for ninth and will now have at least four starts when the season gets underway.
Former 2008 U.S. Amateur Public Links Champion Jack Newman closed with a 2-under-par 70 to tie for 13th.
Anthony Maccaglia posted a 4-under-par 68 and secured one of the coveted top-five spots in a playoff, which will give him eight starts when the year begins. A graduate of Oglethorpe College in Georgia, he was the Jack Nicklaus National Player of the Year for Division III in 2015.
Grady Brame, Jr., joined Anthony Maccaglia with one of the five spots in a playoff. Five players tied for fourth, leading to a playoff for two spots which were claimed by Brame and Maccaglia. Missing out
were Scott Kelly, Charles Wang and Max Buckley. The three fall into the 6-16 category, which will give them at least four starts when the season gets underway next month.
Sonny Michaud (Neuville, Quebec, Canada) and Bradford Curren (Hammond Plains, Nova Scotia, Canada) were the top Canadian finishers. They tied for 22nd, at 10-under-par 278.
HOW IT WORKS
A total of 132 players competed this week with hopes of earning cards for the 2018 season. Below is a breakdown of the status available at each of the five sites:
|2nd through 5th (no ties)||
Exempt for first eight events and subject to second re-shuffle
|6th through 16th (no ties)||
Exempt for first four events and subject to first re-shuffle
|17th through 40th (plus ties)||Conditional status|