A pair of clutch birdies on the 18th hole led to the Mackenzie Tour–PGA Tour Canada taking the lead over Team PGA Tour Latinoamérica at the Aruba Cup on Thursday.
The Mackenzie Tour leads 3.5-1.5 after four-ball play at Tierra del Sol Resort and Golf in Aruba.
After the teams halved the first three matches and the Mackenzie Tour scored a full point with Johnny Ruiz and Patrick Newcomb’s 3 and 2 win over Tee-k Kelly and Brian Richey, T.J. Vogel birdied the final two holes to secure a 1 up win with Rico Hoey over Rodolfo Cauaubón and Nelson Ledesma, building a two-point lead.
“It was great to see our guys rally and finish so strongly on the last few holes,” said Mackenzie Tour captain Ben Silverman of Thornhill. Ont.
“The guys came into the day with a great attitude and had a lot of fun out there. We know that PGA Tour Latinoamérica is going to come back strong (Friday), but I’m very happy with our start today.”
Early on, it looked as though the two teams would be evenly matched, with each Tour leading in two matches as the teams headed to the back nine, but the momentum turned in part to Max Rottluff’s birdie-birdie finish, giving he and Mackenzie Tour Player of the Year Kramer Hickok a half point against Hank Lebioda and José Toledo.
Shortly afterwards, Ruiz and Newcomb closed out their win over Kelly and Richey to give the Mackenzie Tour the lead.
With one match left on the course, it was Vogel’s time to shine as he had a two-putt birdie at the par five 17th hole to square the match, then stuck an eight iron from 129 yards to three feet at the closing hole to make birdie and earn a 1 up win.
The Aruba Cup will resume Friday morning with foursome (alternate shot) matches beginning at 8 a.m.
Lee McCoy/Chase Wright (Mackenzie Tour) halved vs. José de Jesús Rodríguez/Jared Wolfe (PGA Tour Latinoamérica)
Kramer Hickok/Max Rottluff (Mackenzie Tour) halved vs. José Toledo/Hank Lebioda (PGA Tour Latinoamérica)
Robby Shelton/Jordan Niebrugge (Mackenzie Tour) halved vs. Brady Schnell/Oscar Fraustro (PGA Tour Latinoamérica)
Patrick Newcomb/Johnny Ruiz (Mackenzie Tour) defeated Tee-k Kelly/Brian Richey (PGA Tour Latinoamérica), 3 and 2
Rico Hoey/T.J. Vogel (Mackenzie Tour) defeated Rodolfo Cazaubón/Nelson Ledesma (PGA Tour Latinoamérica), 1 up