Did you know Blake Olson won a tournament in his first full Mackenzie Tour season? At the 2018 Mackenzie Investments Open in September, Olson finished regulation tied with Corey Pereira at Elm Ridge Country Club in Montreal. It only took Olson one playoff hole to capture the title. He finished that season 11th on the Order of Merit, one spot from earning Korn Ferry Tour membership.
The tournament will make a cut after 36 holes, with the top-55 players and ties advancing to Friday’s final round.
The winner of the Order of Merit—the Race to the Bahamas Points Standings—earns a PGA TOUR start at a 2020-21 PGA TOUR event.
The top-78 eligible players on the Race to the Bahamas Points Standings following the final event of the season, the Classic at The Club at Weston Hills in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., will qualify for the LOCALiQ Series Championship at the Ocean Club Golf Course at Atlantis Paradise Island Bahamas.
Southern Company is sponsoring the Southern Company Swing that encompasses the Series’ first four events (three in Georgia and one in Alabama). The top-two points earners at the conclusion of the Swing, which ends at The Invitational at Auburn University Club, earn $7,500 and $2,500, respectively.
Blake Olson has played 24 career Mackenzie Tour events and has 15 PGA TOUR Latinoamérica starts. Besides his win at the Mackenzie Investments Open, Olson earned PGA TOUR Latinoamérica status by winning the 2017 Qualifying Tournament in Mazatlan. His best finish that season was a tie for 12th at the Honduras Open. In seven career Korn Ferry Tour events, his tie for 30th at the Mexico Championship is his top performance.
Shooting a first-round 67 at The Golf Club of Georgia is something China’s Yuxin Lin knows something about. In October 2019, Yuxin Lin played at The Golf Club of Georgia for the first time when his USC Trojans defended their 2018 Golf Club of Georgia Collegiate title. Lin held a share of the first-round individual lead by shooting a familiar 5-under 67 on the Lakeside Course. Lin faltered over his final 36 holes, shooting scores of 78-72 to tie for 15th.
Amateur Yuxin Lin has all his attention on the Alpharetta Classic this week, but he has two significant tournaments upcoming on his calendar. Next week, he will miss playing in The Championship at Echelon Golf Club, the second event of the LOCALiQ Series schedule, so he can compete in the U.S. Amateur at Bandon Dunes Golf Resort in Oregon. Later this year, Lin will play in the 2020 Masters Tournament in Augusta by virtue of winning the 2019 Asia-Pacific Amateur. Lin also qualified for The Open Championship that the R&A canceled earlier this year. Lin also played in the 2018 Masters and The Open Championship, missing the cut in both.
Alex Smalley was bogey-free in Wednesday’s opening round, with four front-nine birdies to go with three on the back nine. Smalley joined the Mackenzie Tour for the first time in 2020, tying for third at the Qualifying Tournament at Mission Inn Resort and Club in Florida.
Jorge Fernández Valdés made the first hole-in-one in LOCALiQ Series history when he made an ace on the par-3 sixth hole. The ace helped the Cordoba, Argentina native to a 6-under 66, leaving him tied for third with five others. “I had 214 (yards) to the hole with water on the left side. I tried to put my ball a little right of the hole, five or six yards. I pulled it a little bit, hit it good and the ball jumped and went in. It was amazing,” he said. Fernández Valdés has never had a hole-in-one on PGA TOUR Latinoamérica.
Amateur Stephen Behr, Jr., a member at The Golf Club of Georgia who received a sponsor’s exemption into the field, joined fellow amateur Yuxin Lin with a 5-under 67. Behr played college golf at Clemson.
“I knew you could get it going because the greens are really good. I hit it well off the tee today and made it easy on myself by hitting my wedges close and making a couple of putts.” –Blake Olson
“I made a good number of birdies in my practice round, but that’s for fun. It’s not a competitive round. It’s a lot easier hitting it down the pipe in a practice round compared to a tournament round.” –Blake Olson
“Obviously, when you get comfortable and you get into it early, you can push it and put the pedal down when you have chances. Then you make some putts and you have some fun.” –Blake Olson
“I’m pretty satisfied with today. This is my first event in almost five months. I played well.” –Yuxin Lin
“I know the course pretty decent, pretty well. I just felt comfortable out there today. I scrambled well, and although I wasn’t hitting it perfect all the time, I hung in there and posted a good score.” –Yuxin Lin
“I drove it pretty well. If I wasn’t in the fairway, I was a yard off of it all day long. I was fairly aggressive off the tee, so that allowed me to have some shorter clubs into the greens. I was able to go for three of the par-5s. That always helps to get it up there a shot under regulation.” –Michael Buttacavoli
“There were eight weeks that I didn’t touch a club. The golf courses were closed on March 19. I had a net, and I hit some balls into the net. After a while, it gets a little boring. Growing up in a place where it doesn’t snow, you’re not used to hitting balls that way.” –Miami native Michael Buttacavoli on how he spent his time once the pandemic hit
Sunny and warm. High of 84. Wind variable at 2-4 mph.