Though only a one-stroke victory, there was never much doubt during the final round of the 2018 Osprey Valley Open that Tyler McCumber would claim his first Mackenzie Tour – PGA TOUR Canada win – as he did with a tap-in bogey on the final hole on Sunday afternoon.
Heading into the round with a 7-stroke advantage on the field, the largest ever 54-hole lead in Mackenzie Tour history, McCumber played steady golf, avoiding costly mistakes and making three birdies to post a four-day total of 25-under.
“I’m very happy with the week, and obviously happy with the result,” said McCumber, who jumps into the fourth spot on the Order of Merit with the win. “I’ve been working really hard on my game lately and the mental stuff too, and I felt like I really executed that well, so it was nice to put it together and sort of reap the rewards for it.”
For the duration of the day, unrelenting rain pounded the Toot course at Osprey Valley, soaking players and making for some of the hardest conditions of the year on TOUR.
“I changed shoes and socks at the turn and didn’t have a single dry towel, so it was a grind,” McCumber said. “I was kind of lucky because I had a tournament early in the year in Dominican where I was in the last group and I was in a similar weather situation, so I had something to draw back on to stay focused and to do the right stuff.”
While the last time he played in a downpour he finished T4, Sunday was McCumber’s day, as he made the walk from No. 17 to the final hole with a 4-stroke lead.
Laying up on the par-5 closing hole, McCumber looked as if he could stick-handle his way around the 18th green and still pick up the victory. However, Michael Gellerman, his nearest competitor, jarred his 100-yard approach shot for eagle, making the Ponte Vedra, Florida, native a tad perturbed.
“That was a really good wedge shot to that pin because the front of the green is severely slopped, and he landed it past the hole where long over the green is so bad,” reflected McCumber on Gellerman’s eagle. “It was a ballsy shot and I had to refocus and sort of try to get it in in three.”
The 27-year-old took care of business on the 18th hole, hitting his fourth up to the hole and two-putting his way to his fourth professional victory with a final-round even-par 72.
“This is big for me, and obviously my team, it’s not just me, it’s all the guys I work with,” said McCumber, referencing his father, Mark, for helping him out with the mental side of the game and swing coach Rick Smith and friend Brett Stevens.
“Since I was injured a year ago, I had my shoulder redone and I haven’t really put it all together since, so it’s nice to put it together and I’ve had a good year. With a good event early in the year, and a lot of rounds in the 60s, it’s lifted my confidence and I’m going to try to keep it going.”
With the win, McCumber joins Patrick Newcomb and Sam Fidone as the only players to win on both PGA TOUR Latinoamerica and PGA TOUR Canada.
Meanwhile, the week was also the cut-off for the Canadian Open exemption, as the top-3 players on the Mackenzie Tour Order of Merit receive an invite to the PGA TOUR event hosted at Glen Abbey next week from July 26-30.
Zach Wright had already locked up the number-one position, but Sam Fidone’s T8 finish moved him from fourth to second on the money list and he will play his first ever PGA TOUR event this coming week.
Joining the duo is George Cunningham, who, despite missing the cut by a single stroke at Osprey Valley, draws into the third and final exemption spot and will also make his PGA TOUR debut in Oakville, ON, on Thursday.
Claiming Freedom 55 Financial Canadian Player of the Week honours is James Love, winning the award for the first time this season. Love placed T19 this at Osprey Valley with rounds of 67-68-67-73, including a third-round hole-in-one on the fourth hole.