Abraham Ancer: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

Getty Abraham Ancer of Mexico plays his shot from the third tee during the second round of The PLAYERS Championship.

Rory McIlroy and Jason Day. These two names are amongst the top of the PGA Tour, as the pair have combined for 5 major championships. They both sit in the top-5 of the 2019 Players Championship leaderboard alongside surging youngsters in Tommy Fleetwood and Jon Rahm.

Who’s the fifth person in that top-5 entering Sunday? Abraham Ancer, a 28-year old competing out of Mexico. He’s methodically put together an 11-under par through three rounds, including a 2-under on Saturday to trail clubhouse leader Rahm by just four strokes.

“I’ve hit the ball really good off the tee and some good iron play, as well,” Ancer said to reporters afterward. “Today the putts didn’t want to fall in for the most part, but I’m playing some really solid golf, plotting along this golf course really well. I just got to keep doing the same thing and just make some putts.”

Reading that, you’d think he was having a solid, but unspectacular weekend of golf. He’s making history, though. According to the St. Augustine Record, no Latin American player has ever been this close to The Players Trophy after 54 holes.

Here’s what you need to know about today’s potential history-maker:

1. He Was Born in the Dangerous Mexican Border Town of Reynosa

The above tweet comes from an article last December from TV Azteca Golf, which covered a tribute to Ancer in his hometown of Reynosa. This is what the text reads in English: “The best present Mexican golfer Abraham Ancer was the subject of a tribute in Reynosa where he received the keys of the city.”

The 28-year old was born in McAllen (Tex.) on 27 February 1991, but his family moved across the border soon after. According to a profile about him with Golf Digest, Reynosa has been in the news recently for the wrong reasons.

One of Mexico’s most dangerous border cities, 22 suspected migrants disappeared from a charter bus headed towards there earlier this week. Located on the southern bank of the Rio Grande and 15 miles south of McAllen, Texas, it’s a major hotspot in the war between the Gulf and Los Zetas drug cartels.

Abraham and Veronica Ancer, his parents and dual citizens of the U.S. and Mexico, still reside there while the younger Abraham is now based out of McAllen. Father taught son how to play at the Club Campestre de Reynosa.

“He took his son to the golf course while he was still in diapers,” Golf Digest writes. “By the time Ancer was 3, he had a club in his hand. At 10, he beat his dad for the first time.”

2. He Starred Collegiately at Odessa Junior College and the University of Oklahoma

Big 12 Men's Golf Championship: Abraham Ancer InterviewHere Abraham Ancer from Oklahoma discusses the wind at Whispering Pines Golf Club. This was his first time at Whispering Pines. Abraham played for Oklahoma during the 2012 Men's Big 12 Golf Championship.2012-05-14T14:03:10.000Z

Due to his performance on the varsity team at Sharyland High, the 5-foot-7, 160-pounder earned a spot at Odessa Junior College for the 2009-10 season. He won five times, was a first-team All-American and was named the 2010 Jack Nicklaus Award winner as the national junior college player of the year.

According to Golf Digest, he met the Golden Bear that year at the Memorial Tournament and called it “like being at Disneyland.”

Ancer transferred to Oklahoma and immediately starred for the Sooners. His school bio summarizes his list of accomplishments:

Finished second in OU history in career scoring average in relation to par with a 72.42 (+0.93), behind only three-time All-American Anthony Kim (71.73; +0.22) … Sits third on OU’s career list with 352 birdies in his three seasons … Tied for third all-time at OU with 10 career eagles … Finished with an OU career-best 57 rounds of par or better.

As a sophomore, he shattered records at the 2011 Desert Shootout. He earned medalist honors and set the school (by 8 strokes) with 3-round 195 (-21), breaking the previous mark held by Anthony Kim. His final round 9-under 63 tied a school record for the lowest 18-hole score.

He turned pro soon after graduating, as he entered the Web.com Tour.

3. He Excelled Enough to Make the PGA Tour by 2015, but was Relegated After Just One Season

Abraham Ancer wins the Nova Scotia OpenIn the final round of the 2015 Nova Scotia Open, Abraham Ancer shoots a final-round 68 to claim his first win on the Web.com Tour.2015-07-05T23:03:03.000Z

Ancer made it through all three stages of the qualifying circuit in the fall of 2014 to secure a Web.com Tour card. He really broke through by winning the 2015 Nova Scotia Open, beating Bronson Burgoon with a 15-foot birdie putt on the first hole of a playoff.

Ancer was 24 at the time when became the Open’s fifth Mexican winner, following Keoke Cotner, Esteban Toledo, Alex Aragon and Carlos Ortiz.

“It was a pretty straight putt. It was right-edge and I smoked it dead center,” Ancer said to the AP. “I’ve been waiting for this moment for a while. To win out here is tough. I don’t think it’s going to sink in for a while.”

Results like these earned him a high-enough spot on the Web.com earnings list to punch is PGA Tour card. He couldn’t cope at first with the elevated competition, which led to relegation after a No. 190 placement on the FedEx Standings.

“My first year here on tour was a rough one,” said Ancer, who missed 13 cuts in 2015-16. “I just tried to change a lot of things. I didn’t really stick to what got me to the PGA Tour in the first place. I wanted to hit it farther, I wanted to hit it higher, and it just didn’t really pan out very well. I changed equipment all the time, which was terrible.”

He earned his way back a year later after a No. 3 finish on the Web.com earning list.

4. He is Rapidly Ascending the World Rankings, Particularly After a 2018 Emirates Australian Open Title

Round 4 Highlights – 2018 Emirates Australian Open ( Aus Open Golf )SUBSCRIBE to PGA of Australia now: bit.ly/PGAofAus Check out pga.org.au for all your golfing coverage in Australia and around the world including latest news, scoring and statistics! Follow PGA of Australia online: ► Facebook – facebook.com/PGAofAustralia/ ► Twitter – twitter.com/PGAofAustralia ► Instagram – instagram.com/pgaofaustralia/ ► Sign up to our Newsletter – bit.ly/PGANewsletter Follow PGA Tour…2018-11-18T08:34:58.000Z

In 2018, Ancer was outside the top-250 in the Official World Golf Rankings. He now sits No. 63. Results like a 5-stroke win at the 2018 Emirates Australian Open have skyrocketed his stock.

Another major prize for Ancer’s win Down Under was an automatic qualification to this year’s Open Championship at Royal Portrush.

”It’s been crazy,” Ancer said. ”This win is all for my family. They’ve been there every single day of my life pushing me, or Mexican golf as well.”

5. He’s a Dual Citizen, but Actively Represents the Mexican Golf Community

Even though he lives in Texas, Ancer chooses to represent Mexico professionally.

“I’m from a Mexican family, I was raised in Mexico and I’ve always considered myself to be Mexican,” Ancer said to ESPN in Feb. 2018. “I’m obviously very thankful for the opportunities I’ve had in the United States, but I feel Mexican.”

He also takes inspiration from famous female Mexicans golfers such as Lorena Ochoa and Gaby Lopez.

“Golf is growing in this country, but we need to work harder to generate more players in the future,” Ancer said. “Lorena Ochoa was an amazing thing for us and she inspired many like myself to know a Mexican can be the world No. 1. I hope I can do something similar.”

Ancer is second only to Ochoa on a Ranker list of best current Mexican golfers.

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