WESTON, Florida – SPORTS – Benjamin Shipp hit 17 of 18 greens in regulation Wednesday during the second round of the PGA TOUR Canada Qualifying Tournament. With that as a backdrop, the North Carolina State grad hoped for a little more out of a day where he shot a 2-under 70. Still, Shipp maintained his grip on the lead at the tournament’s halfway point at The Club at Weston Hills. He leads Alex Herrmann and Kaiwen Liu and amateur Kieran Vincent by two strokes.
“I’m pretty disappointed in my putter. When I hit 17 greens, I expect to be going pretty low. Putting is usually a strength of mine,” said Shipp, who offset three bogeys with five birdies. “I had a little trouble with some lag putting on the front nine. I had a couple of three-putts that led to my bogeys.”
His birdies—all of them—were of the no-sweat variety, a couple of kick-ins from a foot on Nos. 7 and 12 and nothing longer than 10 feet on the others. The birdie misses are what bothered Shipp, now in his second year as a pro after playing the Forme Tour in 2021. “The greens were definitely faster in the morning than they are in the afternoon. I’ve been giving the wind a little too much respect on some of the putts. I’m expecting [the wind] to affect them more.”
Vincent of Zimbabwe was three strokes better in the second round than he was in the first, tying for low score of the day with his 4-under 68 during windy conditions. The Liberty University senior plans to turn pro following his school’s NCAA season.
“I think being any kind of under(-par) out here is really good. The course is playing difficult with the wind out there, so this is good,” observed Vincent following his round.
A highlight for Vincent was a 35-foot birdie putt he rolled in on No. 8, his final birdie on the front side of the Tour Course.
Liu, a former Cal Bear golfer from China, made his only bogey late in his round, at No. 16, but he recovered with a birdie at No. 17 for his 68, while Herrmann added birdies on two of his final three holes to post 69 and move into the three-way tie for second.
Herrmann of Woerthsee, Germany, played college golf at Georgia State, where he was a three-time All-Sunbelt Conference first-team selection. Since turning pro, Herrmann has played primarily on the Pro Golf Tour, his top performance a tie for fifth at the 2021 Dreamlands Pyramids Classic in Cairo, Egypt.
- Did you know amateur Kieran Vincent is the younger brother of former PGA TOUR Canada player Scott Vincent? The elder Vincent, a 2022 Olympian, representing Zimbabwe at the Tokyo Summer Games, saw action in 20 PGA TOUR Canada tournaments between 2015 and 2017, his best performance a fifth-place showing at the Bayview Place DC Payments Open. At the Olympics, Scott Vincent tied for 16th, going 67-66-67 over his final 54 holes at Kasumigaseki Golf Club.
How the Tournament Works
The week began with 112 players in the field. There are 110 still playing. Below is a breakdown of the various PGA TOUR Canada membership statuses available this week.
|Medalist||Exempt membership for the 2022 season|
|2nd through 9th (no ties)
|Exempt through the reshuffle, which will occur approximately halfway through the season|
|10th through 30th (plus ties)||Conditional membership|
- There are 17 amateurs playing this week. Leading the way is Kieran Vincent, alone in second place, two shots off the lead. Here is how all 17 fared in the second round.
- Players in this week’s field come from 13 different countries and territories. There are seven Canadians playing this week: amateurs Cougar Collins and Nick Hofland and professionals Anthony Brodeur, Brandon Lacasse, Marc–Olivier Plasse, AlexandreBelanger and Vito Polera.
- The top Canadian through two rounds is Anthony Brodeur. He followed his opening 70 with a 75 and is 1over and tied for 11th. Amateur Cougar Collins is next, tied for 21st.
- China’s Kaiwen Liu, a University of California product, shot up the leaderboard Wednesday with a 4-under 68. He is 5-under overall and tied for second. Liu reached as high as No. 191 in the world as an amateur before turning pro in 2021. In one of his last amateur appearances, Liu finished third at the Trans-Mississippi Amateur, ending regulation a stroke out of the Derek Hitchner-Derek Busby playoff.
- Kaiwen Liu has never played in an official PGA TOUR-affiliated Tour tournament. In November 2021, he tied for 51st at the PGA TOUR Latinoamérica Qualifying Tournament, also in Florida, at the Country Club of Ocala, just missing on achieving conditional Tour membership.
- China’s Wocheng Ye made a big move on day two, improving 17 scoreboard positions into a tie for sixth. Ye turned pro in 2021 but played three tournaments as an amateur on PGA TOUR Series-China. His top finish was a tie for 39th at the 2016 Nanjing Open.
- Josh Hart has quietly put himself into contention following his 72-70 start. At 2-under, he is alone in fifth. Last summer, Hart played on the Forme Tour, making one cut in five starts. He also had a pair of Korn Ferry Tour appearances, his showing in April at the Emerald Coast Classic his career-best performance. That week in the Florida Panhandle, he tied for 10th, five strokes out of the Stephan Jaeger–David Lipsky playoff that Jaeger won. That week, Hart pocketed $14,230.
- One of the biggest improvements from the first round to second belonged to JD Hughes. After opening with an 8-over 80, he shaved nine strokes off his second-round score, having quite the adventurous back nine for his 1-under 71. Hughes made four birdies on his closing nine but endured a six-hole closing stretch, where he went birdie-birdie-double bogey-bogey-birdie-par. With 36 holes to play, Hughes is tied for 54th. John Leverton’s 17-stroke improvement (93-76) was the best of the day.
- Going in the other direction, amateur Clay Amlung was 10 shots worse after opening with a 74.
- Amateur Easton Paxton struggled after opening with a 4-under 68. He was 4-over on his opening nine and played his final nine in even-par for a 76. He’s tied for 10th.
- Currently No. 196 in the World Amateur Golf Ranking, Parker Gillam, who has been as high as No. 105, helped himself considerably Wednesday with his 4-under 68. The Wake Forest senior birdied the final two holes of his day to move into a tie for sixth after opening with a disappointing 75. He jumped 32 spots on the leaderboard, beginning the day tied for 38th. His downfall in the opening round was a three-hole, 6-over stretch (two bogeys and a quadruple bogey). His scorecard was much cleaner in the second round, with only two bogeys countered by four birdies and a par-4 eagle (No. 6).
- Benjamin Shipp won five tournaments at North Carolina State, including two during his senior season. His first title came at the Schenkel Invitational in March 2021 in his home state of Georgia. He opened a six-shot lead with a round to play in Statesboro and coasted to a whopping 11-stroke victory over Christopher Gotterup and Maximiliian Steinlechner. Later that month, in Awendaw, South Carolina, Shipp shot a pair of 67s over his final 36 holes to overtake Andrew Kozan and win by a shot.
- A day after the par-4 15th hole played as the most difficult, it was the third most difficult in the second round, with the par-3 fifth taking the honors. With a stroke average of 3.627, the hole saw only four birdies Wednesday. The par-5 12th was again the easiest hole, with two eagles and 54 birdies (4.518).
The Players Say…
“I left quite a bit out there today, but I have nothing to complain about looking at my 36 holes as a whole.” –Benjamin Shipp
“It was good to get out early and post a 36-hole number. I assume it’s only going to play tougher this afternoon because of the wind picking up.” –Benjamin Shipp
“The first 10 holes for us was relatively calm compared to [Tuesday], but then on the last eight [the wind] continued to pick up.” –Benjamin Shipp on the weather
“I’ve been really happy with the last 36 holes and being a couple under out here is pretty big. It’s a lot of confidence heading into the quote-unquote weekend.” –Kieran Vincent
“At this time of year, you have regionals and nationals to hopefully look forward to. We hope to make it deep into the postseason and make a good run.” –Liberty University senior Kieran Vincent on what remains of his college and amateur career
“It was a pretty clean card, which is quite nice.” –Kieran Vincent
Second-Round Weather: Partly cloudy, with a high of 78. Wind variable at 10-13 mph, with gusts to 18 mph at various points during the day. Rain began at 3:44 p.m., and lasted until 4:09. Light rain began again at 4:37 and continued until the end of play, at 5:55 p.m.