REUNION FLORIDA – SPORTS – Toronto, Ontario native Christian Westhorpe and Grand Rapids, Michigan’s Clark Klaasen shared the lead at 2-under par before play was called due to darkness at PGA TOUR Canada’s Florida Qualifying Tournament on Tuesday. Play is scheduled to resume Thursday morning at 8 A.M., with 66 players still left to begin their second round. Vermilion Bay’s Jordan Krantz is in a tie for 13th place in the tightly packed field of golfers. The top 18 players this week will earn exempt status on PGA TOUR Canada for 2014, with the rest of the top 40 plus ties earning conditional status.
After Tuesday’s thunderstorms and rain delayed play, Wednesday saw all but 23 players return to complete their first round. With windy conditions testing players each of the first two days, just four players were under par for the tournament midway through the second round at the Jack Nicklaus Signature Course at Reunion Resort, each of whom had yet to tee off in round two.
One shot behind Westhorpe and Klaasen were Baddeck, Nova Scotia’s Peter Campbell, who completed his first round Tuesday and did not play at all Wednesday, and Hilton Head, South Carolina’s Colby Wilson. Both players shot 1-under 71 in the first round.
“You know the course is going to be tough going in,” said Klaasen, who completed his first round Wednesday morning. “You know you’re going to make mistakes, and that everyone else is going to make mistakes too. A lot of holes I just tried to play for par and ended up making some birdies that way.”
Klaasen, a 27-year old Duke University grad, said the challenge of dealing with delays is just part of playing as a professional, and that there’s still plenty of golf to be played even with two days of competition having already passed.
“You have to be ready to go play at any time. It’s a new tournament each day, and there’s still a lot of golf to be played. My coach is caddying for me this week and we’re just going to try and keep a positive attitude and play smart golf,” said Klaasen.
Toronto’s Westhorpe eyes return to Canada with TOUR Canada in mind
10 years ago, Christian Westhorpe moved along with his parents and two older brothers from Toronto to West Palm Beach, Florida, with the goal of advancing the opportunities for the then-14 year old and his brothers in golf. Now, the 24-year old is looking to make the journey come full circle with a chance to earn PGA TOUR Canada status this week.
“I’d love the opportunity to go back to Canada for the summer, stay with some family and see parts of Canada that I’ve never been to,” said Westhorpe, who shot a 2-under 70 in round one and will tee off at 9:28 A.M. on Thursday morning for round two. “The obvious reason is the ability to get to the Web.com Tour, and playing on a PGA TOUR-sanctioned Tour is huge, but the biggest thing for me is getting the chance to go back home.”
Westhorpe, who played collegiate golf at Florida Tech, finished his remaining three-and-a-half holes from round one this morning, and will look to tee off in round two with a fresh mindset and renewed focus.
“I almost have to feel like I’m starting the tournament over again,” said Westhorpe. “I was kind of glad we got to where we did on Tuesday, because it gave me a chance to think about how I would have played the three holes today. It’s almost like I’m warming up for another tournament.”