J.J. Spaun takes two shot lead at The Players Cup

J.J. Spaun (Chuck Russell/ PGA TOUR)

WINNIPEG, Man. –  Los Angeles, California’s J.J. Spaun will look to continue a hot streak on the Mackenzie Tour – PGA TOUR Canada on Sunday after firing a 4-under 67 at Pine Ridge Golf Club to take a two-stroke lead into the final round of The Players Cup.The 24-year old birdied three of his first four holes on Saturday to take the solo lead and held it for the rest of the day, making a pair of lengthy par putts on the 16th and 17th holes to build a two shot cushion at 13-under heading into Sunday.

“I feel like everything is kind of clicking right now and I’m just going with it, and I’m just trying to enjoy it,” said Spaun, who has finished in the top-10 in each of the last three Mackenzie Tour events, including a playoff loss at last week’s SIGA Dakota Dunes Open presented by SaskTel.

The third year Mackenzie Tour member began the day tied with Dundas, Ontario’s Mackenzie Hughes for the lead, but established himself as the frontrunner even as others made a move on Saturday, most notably North Vancouver, B.C.’s Eugene Wong, who fired a 9-under 62 in the day’s first pairing to tie the lead before the final group even teed off.

“It was good to get off to a hot start and get out ahead a little bit before I got into the middle of the round. That settled the nerves a bit,” said Spaun. “Having a two shot lead coming in – no lead is safe, but it’s better to have some sort of cushion than none at all. Making those putts were very good momentum boosters towards the end of my round.”

Spaun comes into the week in the fifth spot on the Order of Merit and can take over No. 1 with a win as long as current leader Drew Weaver finishes no better than a tie for second.

“I try not to get too far ahead of myself. Of course it’s going to creep into the back of your head but I try to do what I can do best out on the course,” said Spaun of trying not to focus on the big picture with plenty at stake on Sunday.

Two back of Spaun was Sweden’s Robert Karlsson, who fired a 4-under 67 to reach 11-under, while Taiwan’s C.T. Pan and Rockville, Maryland’s Danny Balin were a shot further behind. Wong, who matched the course record with his 9-under 62, was alone in fifth at 5-under.