MOVIN’ ON UP: Andrew Parr of London, Ont., moved up seven spots on the leader board to a tie for 16th Wednesday at the Latinoamerica tour’s qualifying school.
Parr, a PGA Tour Canada regular, shot two-under-par 70 at La Planacie Country Club in Lima, Peru, to bring his score after two rounds to two-under 142.
He’s 10 shots behind leader Oscar Serna of Mexico.
The top 20 after play ends Friday earn playing cards on the Latinoamerica, a third-tier circuit owned by the PGA Tour.
Mike Mezei of Lethbridge, Alta., shot 73 and dropped into a share of 37th place. At 145, he was a couple of strokes outside the top 20 heading into the third round.
CHASING THE DREAM: Here’s a young Canadian player you might not know but it is worth following this year: Michael Gligic. The lanky 23-year-old from Burlington, Ont., is in South Africa this week to compete in the Joburg Open, which is co-sanctioned by the Sunshine and European tours.
Play begins Thursday. Gligic is the lone Canadian in the field, although Alan McLean, a Scot who lives in London, Ont., also earned a start by tying for second place in the Joburg Open’s Monday qualifier.
The tournament is a big step up for Gligic, who has played mostly on the Great Lakes Tour (a mini-tour based in Southwestern Ontario that he has dominated) and the PGA Tour Canada. He had a breakout year in 2012 on the Canadian circuit, wining once and posting two other top-10 finishes to place second on the money list.
His performance gave him a spot in the second stage of the PGA Tour’s qualifying school last fall and caught the eye of RBC Canadian Open organizers, who offered him a place in the field.
At the Joburg Open, he’ll face a decent field that includes 2011 Masters champion Charl Schwartzel and defending champion Branden Grace, a young South African who busted out last year with four international victories.
South Africa might seem a long way for Gligic to go to compete, but he is following the same path as fellow Canadians Graham DeLaet and Adam Hadwin, who both in recent years took their careers to higher levels by playing and performing well on the Sunshine Tour.
LATIN FLAVOUR: Gligic isn’t the only Canadian chasing his dream this week in a far-off land. Mike Mezei of Lethbridge, Alta., and Andrew Parr of London, Ont., are both in Peru for the LatinoAmerica tour’s qualifying school.
The PGA Tour Canada regulars are trying to play their way onto the minor-league, 15-event Latin circuit. In the first round of the Q-school Tuesday, both Mezei and Parr shot even-par 72 and were tied for 25th place. Jose Toledo of Argentina led at seven-under 65.
The top 20 finishers after plays ends Friday at Planicie Country Club in Lima earn full-time status.
The LatinoAmerica and PGA Tour Canada are owned and run by the PGA Tour, and are seen as feeder circuits for the second-tier Web.com Tour.
The schedules of the Latin and Canadian tours are set up so that players who qualify for both could play a full year of starts.
LatinoAmerica has events in the spring and fall, the PGA Tour Canada currently offers seven stops in the summer.
THE GREAT ONE: The Canadian contingent at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am this week is small: just Brad Fritsch and Mike Weir.
But they’re not the only Canucks who’ll be roaming the fairways at fabled Pebble Beach, Spyglass Hill and Monterey Peninsula’s Shore course with a club in his hand.
Wayne Gretzky will play in the celebrity portion of the old Clam Bake.
The Great One is the lone Canadian and hockey player of note in the celeb field that includes funny man Bill Murray, NFL quarterbacks Aaron Rodgers and Tony Romo, Detroit Tigers pitcher Justin Verlander and Andy Roddick, who has more time for golf now that he’s retired from competitive tennis.
Gretzky is no stranger to celebrity pro-ams. He has played at Pebble Beach before (with Mike Weir 10 years ago, they played in the final group on Sunday) and he once played host to the Web.com Tour’s now-defunct Ford Wayne Gretzky Classic.
He’s also no stranger to Pebble Beach. He shot 100 on the seaside links in the 2010 Golf Digest U.S. Open Challenge, an exhibition to test whether a 10-handicapper could break 100 on a U.S. Open course.
Gretzky will be paired with Dustin Johnson. It’s not the first Gretzky-Johnson union. Johnson has been dating the Great One’s daughter, Paulina; the couple were widely photographed together when Johnson was playing in Hawaii in January.
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