Yates falls two shots shy of Mackenzie Tour card

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Jonathan Yates (Photo by Luke Walker/Getty Images)

Jonathan Yates carded a third consecutive one-over par round of 73 to miss out on Mackenzie Tour status by two strokes at Q-School at the Mission Inn Club and Resort’s El Campeón course in Howey-in-the-Hills.

Forced to look further afield for starts given the total decimation of Tour schedules across Europe due to Covid-19, the Naas professional said earlier in the week that he knew anything under par after four rounds would be good enough to earn one of 25 cards on offer and as it turned out, he was spot on, with those at one-under taking conditional status to Canada’s PGA Tour.

Yates was in position after three rounds to be sharing 22nd and was one-under through five holes and cruising on the final day before a bogey, double-bogey momentum halter at the 6th and 7th holes saw him make the turn in two-over 37. Needing three birdies on the way in, Yates could only manage one on the aptly known ‘Mission Impossible’ track to finish his week at one-over par, two shots shy of status.

Luis Gagne led home this week’s qualifiers as he continues his mission to one day join college roommate from LSU, Sam Burns, on the PGA Tour. Gagne spoke about how happy he was for Burns and how he hoped to soon join Burns playing at professional golf’s highest level.

Friday at Mission Inn Club and Resort, at the second Mackenzie Tour Qualifying Tournament of the year, Gagne moved toward achieving that goal as he held at least a share of the lead through the first three rounds then stood alone when it counted. Gagne, a Costa Rica native who grew up in nearby Orlando, shot a final-round, 5-under 67 to defeat playing partner Cristian DiMarco by three shots and amateur Zack Taylor by four.

With the win comes access for Gagne to every 2021 Mackenzie Tour tournament, a significant achievement for a player who previously held conditional status on PGA Tour Latinoamérica.

“It feels good. I’m just really excited to have somewhere to play a full season and make a schedule. I’m really proud of myself,” Gagne said. “I played solid. I stayed really focused the whole time—all 72 holes. I didn’t ever lose my focus, and I think that was the key this week.”

Gagne also minimised his mistakes, making only six bogeys over his 72 holes. He was also a cumulative 11-under on El Campeon’s four par-5s, with two birdies and two eagles on No. 10 and birdies all four days on No. 14.

“This gives me a lot of reassurance that what I’m working on is the right stuff and I’m in the right direction,” he added about his performance, the second Latin player to secure full Mackenzie Tour status in as many weeks. Seven days ago, Colombian Camilo Aguado was medalist at the Qualifying Tournament in the Fort Lauderdale suburb of Weston.

Before the round, Gagne’s goal was to get through his first eight holes at even-par or better, something he accomplished with seven pars and a 35-foot birdie putt at No. 3. He then got things rolling, with a birdie to close his opening nine. He added birdies at the 10th, a hole he dominated all week, and at No. 11.

“That gave me a little cushion, and the rest was history,” he added.

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