|21-year-old Vancouver product Eugene Wong has a bright golfing future ahead. (Jason Halstead/QMI Agency)
WINNIPEG - Sunday might be your last chance to see Eugene Wong play in Winnipeg.
That’s because if his career arc continues on the same path it has for the Vancouver product, there’s a good chance the 21-year-old will be well on his way to the PGA Tour next year at this time.
Wong just completed an outstanding collegiate career at the University of Oregon under coach Casey Martin and is making his pro debut this week at the Canadian Tour’s Players Cup.
“It feels good to be a pro,” Wong said Saturday after a third-round 71. “I finally get to play for money. That was my dream as a child. It’s been a great experience so far.
“I have one milestone done, which was to make a cut in a professional event.”
Wong was the Pac-12 player of the year in his senior season, beating the likes of UCLA’s Patrick Cantlay and Stanford’s Patrick Rodgers. He also beat Texas’ Jordan Spieth, who competed with Cantlay in the U.S. Open last month in San Francisco, at this year’s NCAA championship.
Cantlay, who recently turned pro as well, finished in the top 25 in his first four PGA Tour events. That has Wong confident about his future in the sport.
“A lot of college players out there you see, they’re almost like tour players,” Wong said. “Like Patrick Cantlay and Jordan Spieth. Those players make the cut like nothing, but I play with them all the time.
“If I can get them in college, why can’t I do it in pro? So that’s my mindset. If they can do it, why can’t I do it?”
Wong played in three PGA Tour events as an amateur but missed the cut each time. He has earned a sponsor’s exemption into the Canadian Open later this month in Hamilton. After that, he’ll find out if his game is ready for the world’s top tour.
“I’m pretty excited, yes,” he said. “I can’t wait to go to Q school and see if I can get my card.”
Lockport’s Tyler Mancini was in prime position to make some good money this weekend, but shot 42 on the front nine Saturday.
He bounced back to card a 76, but the damage had been done.
“Man, what a disaster on the front nine,” Mancini said. “I said on Twitter there: ‘I’m pumped for the weekend. It’s moving day today.’ Except I moved in the wrong direction. It was really surprising.”
Winnipeg’s Rob McMillan shot 72 and is the top Manitoban at 1 under, tied for 32nd, while Glenboro amateur Josh Wytinck carded a 75 and is tied for 57th at 3 over.
Wytinck and Mancini, who is tied for 55th at 2 over, will go off the 10th tee together at 8:40 a.m. on Sunday. McMillan will tee off at 7:30 a.m. on No. 10.
All tee times were moved up because bad weather is expected Sunday afternoon. The leaders will go off the first tee at 9:10 a.m.