Veteran McCarthy hits Bayview Place Island Savings Open on a high

To say that Dan McCarthy’s first win on the Mackenzie Tour was a popular one would be a huge understatement.

One of the elder statesmen on PGA Tour Canada, McCarthy tapped in for birdie on the final hole on Sunday to claim the Freedom 55 Financial Open at Point Grey Golf and Country Club in Vancouver — his first win in his 39th career start on the tour.

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Patience paid off for the 30-year-old, who has more than earned his stripes on tour as a member from 2009-10 and since 2014, coming close to victories on several occasions.

“I’ve won on a lot of other tours, won a lot of events, but that was the first one in Canada. I’ve been in the hunt a few other times, but it’s nice to close one out,” said McCarthy, who recorded rounds of 68-66-69-70 for a 15-under total, one stroke better than Tyler McCumber.

McCarthy would love nothing more than to stretch his lead on the PGA Tour Canada Order of Merit after earning $31,500 for the victory. The top money earner on the 2016 season will earn full exemption onto the Web.com Tour for 2017.

Winning the first two tournaments on tour is a tall order and no one knows that more than McCarthy, who tees it up on Thursday at the Bayview Place Island Savings Open presented by the Times Colonist at Uplands Golf Club.

“I’m not going to go out with any expectations. That’s kind of how I played last week. This is obviously a different golf course with different challenges,” he said. “I’m going to formulate a game plan here over the next couple of days and try and stick to it. If I have a chance to win again on Sunday, I would feel very fortunate.”

The Syracuse, New York, native, who played at Le Moyne College, was tied for second best in the field last week at Point Grey with a 77.8 per cent success ratio in greens in regulation.

McCarthy had Web.com Tour status in 2013 before falling back to the Mackenzie Tour, which was taken over by PGA Tour Canada.

“I’m 30, but I don’t feel that old. A lot of these guys are younger and just coming out of college in their early 20s. I’ve been around and had Web status in 2013. I’ve played just about anywhere and everywhere you can play in North America, so I guess that gives me some veteran status,” he said with a smile.

He now spends a lot of time in Florida in the off-season working on his game, which has paid off early this season.

“Winning early in the year, I’m not going to say takes pressure off, but it is a great way to start the year,” he added. “If you play decent the rest of the year and handle your business, you should be OK.”

CHIP SHOTS: Kevin Carrigan of Royal Colwood leads the B.C. Men’s Mid-Amateur at Nanaimo Golf Club after a 4-under 68 on Tuesday. He has a five-shot lead on six players, including veteran Sandy Harper of Nanaimo, Brent Wilson of Gorge Vale and Scott Kral of Olympic View. Victoria Golf Club’s Alison Murdoch leads the women’s event after a 6-over 78. Port Alberni’s Christina Proteau is tied for third at 81 and Nanoose Bay’s Shelly Stouffer is tied for fifth with Nanaimo’s Kim Evans at 82.

mannicchiarico@timescolonist.com

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