When Abraham Ancer arrived at the Dell Technologies Championship, his goal was simply to extend his season by a week. Heading into the final round at TPC Boston, he suddenly has everything to play for.
When the overnight leaders failed to distance themselves from the pack, Ancer took full advantage, shooting a front-nine 30 en route to a 6-under 65 that gave him a one-shot lead over Bryson DeChambeau and Tyrrell Hatton as he looks to win on the PGA Tour for the first time.
“It’s been a fun week,” Ancer said. “There was a good stretch of holes out there on the back nine that you have to hit it really, really good. And I managed to do that. I’m very happy.”
Ancer started the week at No. 92 in the FedExCup points race, needing a solid effort simply to make it into the 70-man BMW Championship. But with a win he is projected to move to fifth in the points race, and even if he comes up short of a breakthrough victory he could still put himself into position to qualify for the Tour Championship, a feat that would bring with it his first-ever Masters invite.
A win, however, would make him the first to get career victory No. 1 in a playoff event since Camilo Villegas captured the 2008 BMW Championship at Bellerive.
“I knew I had to play good this week, if not I was going to go home and relax. Either way is not a bad option,” Ancer said. “I knew I had to play good golf in order to play next week. But I don’t try to put much pressure on myself, more than I already have.”
Ancer, 27, has had a quiet season to date, recording four top-10 finishes among 28 starts. But his best result came at the Quicken Loans National, where he tied for fourth to qualify for The Open while playing the final round alongside Francesco Molinari, who went on to win both events. It’s an experience he hopes to draw upon in order to stave off a chase pack that also includes Justin Rose two shots back and Rory McIlroy four off the pace.
“I’ll probably go back today and just think about how I felt that day and what I could have done better,” he said. “But other than that, I’ll just treat it like any other day. Just play some golf and stick to my game plan, and that’s it.”
Ancer holds dual citizenship between the U.S. and Mexico, and while he was born in the border town of McAllen, Texas, he plays under the Mexican flag. He would become just the third Mexican to win on the PGA Tour, and the first since Victor Regalado at the 1978 John Deere Classic.
“If I win soon, or whenever that happens, if it happens, it will be awesome for Mexico,” Ancer said. “I think it will even push (golf) a little bit more and make it just a well-known sport over there.”