COURTENAY, British Columbia — Riley Wheeldon is in firm control of the final PGA TOUR Canada Qualifying Tournament of 2022. Playing a home game all week, the Comox Valley product will take a five-shot lead into the final round as he attempts to regain exempt status on the circuit where he has 83 career starts. In second place is Andrew Harrison, the author of a 66-67 last 36 holes, while Max Sear is at 11-under and six back of Wheeldon, alone in third.
Thursday at Crowne Isle Resort and Golf Community, Wheeldon did nothing to slow his momentum that began when he fired an opening, 5-under 67 Tuesday. He followed that with an identical score on day two only to post the best score of the week, a 7-under 65 Thursday. He turned a solid, workmanlike round into a thing of beauty over his final five holes. At 3-under for the day and 13-under overall through 13 holes, Wheeldon birdied Nos. 14, 15 and 16, parred the 17th and ended his round with a birdie-3 on the closing hole. That birdie was a nice bookend finish to his day. Wheeldon began the third round with an eagle-3 at the first hole, moving him to 4-under combined on the hole in his first three playings of the par-5.
“My game as always been there,” Wheeldon said following his round. “My attitude hasn’t. That was one thing I said to myself last summer, that if I was going to keep doing this, my attitude has to change. Having a little refresh this winter, I was able to come out and focus on attitude and let everything else fall into place and behold, this game is pretty fun.”
His attitude and game have meshed nicely this week, with Wheeldon playing 20 consecutive bogey-free holes between the second and third rounds. The streak ended on the par-4 ninth. All he did was begin a new streak with his stellar back-nine play that gave him significant separation from his pursuers.
Did you know Canada’s Andrew Harrison played college golf at the University of British Columbia, where he graduated in 2020 with a degree in kinesiology? A year ago, playing on the Canada circuit that featured eight events, Harrison finished sixth on the final Points List.
How the Tournament Works
There were 95 players starting this week, with 92 still playing. Below is a breakdown of the various PGA TOUR Canada membership statuses available at the conclusion of Friday’s final round.
|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 only six amateurs that remain in play at Crowne Isle Resort. Leading the way is Jeevan Sihota, tied for 19th after shooting a 2-under 70. Here is the rundown on the amateurs:
|T19||Jeevan Sihota (Canada)||70-74-70—214 (2-under)|
|T56||Kamyar Yamini (Canada)||75-75-73—223 (7-over)|
|T65||Zachary Stanger (U.S.)||72-78-76—226 (10-over)|
|T72||Cole Ruelling (Canada)||80-74-74—228 (12-over)|
|84||Andrew Widjaja (Canada)||82-74-77—233 (17-over)|
|92||Kirk Chen (Canada)||87-86-84—257 (41-over)|
- The only player with three sub-70 rounds this week is 54-hole leader Riley Wheeldon (67-67-65).
- An additional five players have posted three sub-par rounds this week: Max Sear, Yi Cao, Brendan MacDougall, Thomas Code and Zach Anderson.
- American Chris Hickman looked like he would make a big move on the scoreboard in Thursday’s third round. Hickman was 4-under for the day through 17 holes but fell back on his final hole when he double-bogeyed the 18th. Hickman, who has played on both PGA TOUR Latinoamerica and PGA TOUR Series-China, shot his second consecutive 2-under 70 and is tied for 14th with one round to play.
- Daniel Kim significantly helped himself with a 5-under 67 Thursday. Kim began the third round tied for 37th, but his six-birdie, one-bogey performance moved him into a tie for 14th. Kim made it to 6-under on his round until a late bogey, at No. 16, dropped him backward.
- The par-4 eighth hole has been an adventure this week for Jared du Toit. He bogeyed the hole in the first round, made birdie there Wednesday and stumbled to a double bogey there on day three. Du Toit has birdied the par-5 first hole each of the first three days.
- It was a tough day for a trio of players who all began the day tied for sixth on the leaderboard. Canadians Trevor Yu and Jimmy Jones and American Robert Hudson all shot 2-over 74s Thursday to drop into ties for 14th.
- Fifty-seven of the remaining 92 players in the field are Canadians (62 percent). The top-three Canadians are also the top three on the leaderboard (Riley Wheeldon, Andrew Harrison and Max Sear. Of the top-10, only China’s YiCao (fourth) and Australia’s Will Barnett (tied for seventh) are not Canadians.
- The most-difficult hole Thursday was the par-4 third hole. The stroke average there was 4.419. It yielded four birdies, but the par-3 12th only gave up three birdies. The easiest third-round hole was the par-5 15th (4.774).
- Andrew Harrison made his longest putt of his tournament, draining a 45-footer for birdie on No. 16. He called it a “nice bonus.”
“Getting off to the starts that I’ve been getting off to has definitely put myself in a good situation to take what the course gives me the rest of the way and not try to fight back or anything.” –Riley Wheeldon
“Getting a couple in the hand early allows me to be smart coming into pins. And then I made a couple really long putts today, which was a bonus” –Riley Wheeldon on shooting birdie, birdie, eagle on No. 1 this week
“I actually didn’t start that great. I made a bogey on the third hole, but then made a great eagle on No. 5. Normally I play that hole with a 3-wood off the tee, and I was just kind of feeling it. I felt I had to go for it and hit my driver. I mean it’s moving day; you have to go for it. I put myself in a the right position and hit a 30-foot putt. I was really lucky to make that putt.” –Yi Cao
“The front nine was definitely a struggle. I was a bit nervous going out there. I struggled with my swing early on but calmed down and played really solid coming down the back nine.” –Andrew Harrison
“Going forward, I’m just going to stick to the game plan that I’ve had. I think it’s working pretty well. (I will) just try to remember to breathe and stay calm out there, and the rest should take care of itself. –Andrew Harrison
Third-Round Weather: Mostly cloudy and cool. High of 54. Wind E at 2-4 mph.