SPORTS – The PGA TOUR Canada California Qualifying School marks the first competition of PGA TOUR Canada’s 2014 season, its second since launching in 2013. In addition to three Qualifying Tournaments, this year’s expanded schedule features 12 events from coast-to-coast, including new events in Vancouver, Ottawa and Thunder Bay. Once again, the top five players on the Order of Merit at season’s end will earn status on the Web.com Tour, making the first step on the path to the PGA TOUR.
NEW Q-SCHOOL STRUCTURE OPENS UP OPPORTUNITY FOR PLAYERS – This year’s Q-Schools will open up chances for more players to compete on PGA TOUR Canada, with three separate Qualifying Tournaments allowing players to earn status for 2014. This week in California is the first of three 132-player fields, each offering 18 exempt cards and conditional status for the next 18 plus ties.
CANADIANS IN THE FIELD – 11 Canadians will tee it up this week in California, with 29 more at next week’s Florida Qualifying Tournament and 53 more in British Columbia in May. Below are the names of the Canadians in the field this week:
Rokhun Cho Toronto, ON
Jerry Christiansen Saskatoon, SK
Jessey Church Prince George, BC
Greg Doherty Mississauga, ON
Grant Greenwood Saskatoon, SK
Clement Herviou Quebec City, QC
Andrew Ledger Toronto, ON
Kevin Liang Markham, ON
Sonny Michaud Rouyn-Noranda, QC
Lindsay Reynolds Christina Lake, BC
Chang Wan Woo Markham, ON
NOTABLES IN THE FIELD – This week’s field features several established players from professional and amateur levels of the game. Below are some of the notable names looking to play PGA TOUR Canada this season.
Hunter Hamrick: The three-time All-American at the University of Alabama turned professional in 2012 after a stellar collegiate career that saw him win an NCAA Regional in 2009 and make the All-SEC team on three occasions. Hamrick qualified for the 2012 U.S. Open and went on to finish in the top 50.
Lindsay Renolds: The well-travelled Canadian, who now makes his home in Phuket, Thailand, comes to PGA TOUR Canada for the first time after establishing himself on the Asian Tour. Renolds is currently the seventh-highest ranked Canadian in the Official World Golf Ranking at No. 586, having posted eight top 10s on the Asian Development Tour in 2013.
Alan Wagner: The 24-year old Argentinian won the 2012 Roberto de Vicenzo Copa NEC on NEC Series – PGA TOUR Latinoamerica and was the runner-up at the Aberto do Brasil in 2013. Wagner earned his PGA TOUR Canada card at last year’s Q-School in a playoff, making two cuts in nine starts.
Julian Etulain: Another NEC Series – PGA TOUR Latinoamerica winner from Argentina, the 25-year old won the Lexus Peru Open in 2013 and finished sixth on the Order of Merit, one spot away from earning Web.com Tour status
Other notables include 2006 U.S. Amateur runner-up John Kelly, former PGA TOUR member Donald Constable and Michael Sainz, brother of 2013 The Players Cup champion Carlos Sainz, Jr.
CALIFORNIA DREAMIN’ – Qualifying tournaments in California have a long history of producing successful players for PGA TOUR Canada and beyond, including eight who earned PGA TOUR Canada cards last year and went on to earn Web.com Tour status for 2014 (Jose Toledo, Chris Epperson, Josh Anderson, Trevor Murphy, Brett Lederer, Nathan Tyler, Tony Finau and Jorge Fernandez Valdes).
Also in the field at last year’s California Q-School were 2013 PGA TOUR Canada Player of the Year Mackenzie Hughes (who didn’t earn a card but later played his way into events) and 2013 Bayview Place Island Savings Open presented by Times Colonist winner Stephen Gangluff. Other players to get their start by playing PGA TOUR Canada qualifying in California include PGA TOUR winner Brendan Steele and Web.com Tour winners Adam Hadwin and Andres Gonzales.
OAK VALLEY RETURNS AS HOST – PGA TOUR Canada returns to Oak Valley Golf Club, which has hosted numerous qualifying events and shared PGA TOUR Canada Q-School with nearby Soboba Springs Golf Club in 2012. That Q-School produced 2012 winners Andrew Roque and Cory Renfrew, as well as 2013 The Five member Mark Hubbard. Oak Valley has also been a frequent host of PGA TOUR and Web.com Tour Qualifying School.
FIELD BREAKDOWN – This week’s field includes 11 Canadians, 105 Americans as well as players from Argentina, Australia, Bolivia, England, South Korea, Switzerland, Sweden, Venezuela and Wales.
ALUMNI WATCH – Adam Hadwin leads all PGA TOUR Canada alumni on the Web.com Tour, with a win at the Chile Classic launching him to fourth on the season-long money list. Below are the top five alumni on the Web.com Tour so far this season:
Note: Bold denotes Canadian, * = played PGA TOUR Canada in 2013
4. Adam Hadwin – $143,364
19. Mark Hubbard* – $39,309
20. Andres Gonzales – $37,455
28. Fabian Gomez – $32,881
33. Jose de Jesus Rodriguez* – $29,550