Abraham Ancer takes lead on a crazy Sunday at the Dell Technologies
Norton, MA- Ivana Ariano never saw a round of competitive golf before Sunday. The Northeastern University alum made the trip from Boston to Norton to see her cousin, Abraham Ancer, play the third round of the Dell Technologies Championship. She was rewarded with a beautiful day, a detailed lesson in golf’s intricacies, and cheering her cousin to his first lead entering a PGA event’s final day.
Abraham Ancer first fell in love with golf growing up in Reynosa, Mexico, a town on the south bank of the Rio Grande where golf is low on the sports totem pole. Ancer’s father took the boy to the local public golf course and he’s been playing ever since. He holds dual citizenship between Mexico and the United States, being born in McAllen, Texas, and moving across the Rio Grande at 15 years old to learn English and get a better chance at playing collegiate golf. He played at Odessa College for one year, then enjoyed a successful three year career at the University of Oklahoma.
He made the Web.com Tour after graduating in 2013 and won his first professional event at the 2015 Nova Scotia Open. The 5-7 Sooner reached the PGA Tour in 2016, but lost his PGA card for the 2017 season. He rode a strong Web.com season back to the PGA in 2018 and has entertained on the tour this year. He’s finished in the top 10 four times this season and in the top 5 twice (Quicken Loans National and RBC Canadian Open). The diminutive golfer missed the cut at last week’s Northern Trust, but clung to the 92nd spot on the FedEx Cup scoreboard, qualifying for a trip to Norton. The man knew he’d need to play well to earn a spot next week at the BMW Championship and he has.
Ancer opened the week with a -5 and survived a double bogey late in his second round to go to -7. The proud Mexican took the course on Sunday afternoon eager to perform well. He did not disappoint, birdieing three holes consecutively to open. He parred 4 and 5, but recorded three more birdies to climb up the board and wrestle more attention his way.
Ancer did trip up on the back nine. On 12, he decided to drive a three-wood into the wind and hit the ball thin, landing in the fairway bunker. He escaped, but bogeyed the hole. The 27 year old gave himself chances to recover with putts under 15 feet on 10, 16, 17, and 18. Unfortunately, he missed all those putts and parred all those holes. He did make a 9′ birdie on 15, and went even on the back nine. Powered by a remarkable performance on the front, a 78.57% driving accuracy rate, and hitting 94.44% of greens in regulation, Ancer claimed the top spot after three days in Norton.
“It’s been a fun week. I hit the ball real good today, especially. Got the putter rolling on the front nine. Not so much on the back nine, but still hit the ball really well.”
Ancer reflected on what the rise of golf in his home country and what a potential win would mean for golf there. “Having the tournament in Mayakoba on the PGA Tour and having a WGC event in Mexico City, I think has impacted golf in Mexico incredibly. A lot of people know about it now, because not a lot of people really pay attention to golf in Mexico, or I guess the mass. And trying to be more affordable for having some public golf courses would be awesome. The First Tee started in Mexico not too long ago. You’re seeing this trend make golf a bigger sport in Mexico and having this event has helped that tremendously. And if I win soon, or whenever it happens, if it happens, it will be awesome for Mexico. I think it will even push it a little bit more and make it just a well-known sport over there.”
Only two Mexican golfers have won PGA events. Cesar Sanudo won the 1970 Azalea Open Invitational and Victor Regalado won twice, the 1974 Pleasant Valley Classic and the 1978 John Deere Classic. Ancer would be the first Mexican to win a PGA event in 30 years.
He will take the tee tomorrow at 1:45, playing with Bryson DeChambeau. He’ll compete with at least one new golf fan, cousin Ivana, supporting him on behalf of their home country.
- Webb Simpson, the 36 hole leader slipped from -11 after two rounds to -6 after a +5 day on Sunday.
- Tyrell Hatton carded a -2 to tie Bryson DeChambeau at -12, one stroke back of Ancer. The British native will tee off at 1:35 with Cameron Smith, who played with Ancer today and went -4 to sit at -11 after 54 holes.
- Emiliano Grillo carded the second lowest round with a -7. The Argentine moves to three back of the lead at -10.