PGA TOUR Canada – Cao posts another 65 to take lead in Victoria

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Golf

Pos. Player Scores
1 Yi Cao (China) 65-65—130 (-10)
2 Joey Savoie (Canada) 65-66—131 (-9)
T3 Wil Bateman (Canada) 67-65—132 (-8)
T3 Michael Blair (Canada) 63-69—132 (-8)
T3 Joe Fryer (U.S.) 67-65—132 (-8)
T3 Gavin Hall (U.S.) 63-69—132 (-8)
T3 Eric Lilleboe (U.S.) 70-62—132 (-8)
T3 Davis Shore (U.S.) 66-66—132 (-8)
T3 Scott Stevens (U.S.) 67-65—132 (-8)
T10 Justin Doeden (U.S.) 65-68—133 (-7)
T10 Cooper Dossey (U.S.) 67-66—133 (-7)
T10 Briggs Duce (U.S.) 65-68—133 (-7)
T10 Jake Knapp (U.S.) 66-67—133 (-7)
T10 Byron Meth (U.S.) 66-67—133 (-7)
T10 James Nicholas (U.S.) 66-67—133 (-7)
T10 Nolan Ray (U.S.) 66-67—133 (-7)
T10 Isaiah Salinda (U.S.) 67-66—133 (-7)
T10 Zack Taylor (U.S.) 66-67—133 (-7)

VICTORIA, British Columbia — Consistency is paying off for Yi Cao at the Royal Beach Victoria Open presented by Times Colonist. One of four players in the field from China, Cao shot a 5-under 65 for the second consecutive day to take a one-stroke lead after two rounds of the PGA TOUR Canada’s first official tournament since 2019.

Cao reached 10-under Friday by surrounding a double bogey on No. 11 with birdies on the 10th, 12th and 13th holes. He finished the round with seven birdies.

“I had a pretty solid day, especially compared to [Thursday]. I made some short putts. I hit it close. There was nothing really dramatic,” Cao said of his second tour around Uplands. Cao described a workmanlike first two days and was hard pressed to find anything spectacular in his play outside of a birdie on the par-3 fifth in his opening round. “I chipped in from the back of the green (for birdie). That’s probably the only special one,” he added.

Joey Savoie of Quebec is just one shot behind Cao. An eagle on No. 10 set the tone for a 30 on the back nine. The success led to a 66 for the round, putting him in second place, at 9-under, entering the final two days of play.

“I’m really pleased with that,” said Savoie, who added the importance of staying fresh and healthy over the weekend. “So, if I get some good rest, ultimately it’s just playing golf and hitting fairways and greens. So, the game doesn’t change. I’m glad I’m in that position.” The Saint Leo University alum noted that it’s something he’s going to cherish.

Eric Lilleboe moved his way back into contention by firing a tournament-low score of 62. The American made nine birdies en route to improving to 8-under at the midway mark. He noted that his “birdie barrage” began after taking a big risk on No.12, coming up short on a 30-yard cut shot. But things worked out for the 34-year-old from Michigan. Lilleboe made a birdie on the par-5 hole to bounce back from a bogey on No. 11.

“I’m going to go back and relax and then I’m going to get a little workout in,” Lilleboe said after his exceptional second-round. “And maybe come back tonight and hit some putts, just to kill time so I don’t get too bored. And maybe hit a few golf balls.”

Wil Bateman of Edmonton is also at 8-under after rounds of 67 and 65. The latter came on a day where Mother Nature played a role.

“It was raining pretty hard on the range, but I just tried to stay patient, and the weather got great on the back nine. (We) had a little fog come through the valley there, and it was fun,” said Bateman, who is in a third-place tie with Lilleboe, Canadian Michael Blair and Americans Joe Fryer, Gavin Hall, Davis Shore and Scott Stevens.

Key Information

The cut came at 3-under, with 61 players qualifying to play the final two rounds.

Canadian Player Results

When the Royal Beach Victoria Open teed off Thursday, there were 38 Canadians in the field. After Friday’s cut, only 12 are left. Here’s how the Canadians fared after two rounds:

Pos. Player Score
2 Joey Savoie 65-66—131 (9-under)
T3 Wil Bateman 67-65—132 (8-under)
T3 Michael Blair 63-69—132 (8-under)
T19 Brendan MacDougall 67-67—133 (6-under)
T19 Jamie Sadlowski 70-64—134 (6-under)
T27 Hugo Bernard 67-68—135 (5-under)
T27 Matthew Kreutz 68-67—135 (5-under)
T27 Étienne Papineau 66-69—135 (5-under)
T27 Max Sear 69-66—135 (5-under)
T38 Chris Crisologo 69-67—136 (4-under)
T38 Jeevan Sihota 72-64—136 (4-under)
T48 Riley Wheeldon 69-68—137 (3-under)
CUT Jimmy Jones 68-70—138 (2-under)
CUT Marc Bourgeois 69-70—139 (1-under)
CUT Jared du Toit 70-69—139 (1-under)
CUT Jim Rutledge 71-68—139 (1-under)
CUT Chris R. Wilson 72-67—139 (1-under)
CUT Brendan Leonard 69-71—140 (even)
CUT Austin Ryan 70-70—140 (even)
CUT James Allenby 71-70—141 (1-over)
CUT Tony Gil 70-71—141 (1-over)
CUT Kaleb Gorbahn 74-67—141 (1-over)
CUT Lawren Rowe 72-69—141 (1-over)
CUT Bryce Barker 69-73—142 (2-over)
CUT Callum Davison 71-71—142 (2-over)
CUT Adam Power 72-70—142 (2-over)
CUT Mitchell Sutton 72-71—143 (3-over)
CUT Zach Anderson 77-67—144 (4-over)
CUT Cory Renfrew 73-71—144 (4-over)
CUT Andrew Harrison 72-73—145 (5-over)
CUT Max Sekulic 69-76—145 (5-over)
CUT Blair Bursey 73-73—146 (6-over)
CUT James Colin Davis 76-74—150 (10-over)
CUT Khan Lee 73-77—150 (10-over)
CUT Drew Nesbitt 73-77—150 (10-over)
CUT a-Ethan Posthumus 77-74—151 (11-over)
CUT Matt Broughton 81-75—156 (16-over)
CUT Travis Busch 81-84—165 (25-over)

There was plenty of movement on day two of the Royal Beach Victoria Open. Although Eric Lilleboe’s improvement from 70 to 62 stole the spotlight, there was an even greater positive disparity between rounds. Canada’s Zach Anderson was 10 shots better—going from 77 to 67—in what proved to be a failed effort to make the cut. A similar situation happened to Alexandre Fuchs of France and Canadian Kaleb Gorbahn. Both improved from opening rounds of 74 to post scores of 67.

On the positive side, Canadian Jeevan Sihota, the recently turned professional, will be back Saturday after shooting a 64. He had a 72 on Thursday and began the day tied for 115th. He jumped 77 leaderboard positions with his bogey-free round, thanks to four birdies and an eagle.

Things didn’t go so well for Newfoundlander Blair Bursey. He missed the cut after shooting a 3-over 73 for the second consecutive day. Bursey’s previous trip to the Uplands Golf Club had a much happier finish. The former Utah Valley University standout won the 2021 Reliance Properties DCBank Open in a tournament that was restricted—because of the pandemic—to players already living in Canada.

Two players withdrew from the tournament early in the first round. Danny List of Australia departed after four holes (1-over) and American Brett Silvernail opted out after six holes (2-over) due to undisclosed injuries.

The toughest hole at Uplands Golf Club on Friday was the par-4 11th, playing to a 4.364 stroke average. The hole only gave up 15 birdies vs. 43 bogeys, nine double bogeys and three triple bogeys. The easiest hole was the par-5 seventh. Players were cumulatively a half stroke under-par there in the second round (4.442). Of the 17 eagles Friday, more than half (nine) came at No. 7.

Two amateurs were in this week’s field. Youssef Guezzale, a San Diego State golfer, made the cut, shooting rounds of 72-65 to make the weekend.

A rainy morning failed to put a damper on Canadian Joey Savoie. In second place overall, at 9-under, he survived the bad weather. “I was a little stiff early morning, and Victoria was raining for the first five holes,” Savoie said. “It’s kind of a grind, the first front nine.” He got his back nine off to a strong start with a close shot to the pin. “Sometimes it’s just that one shot, you know, that kind of gets the momentum going.”

The Players say

“I might just keep my head down and enjoy my time on the golf course and try to roll every single putt in.” –Yi Cao on his weekend strategy

“This is my first season out here, so I’m new to the whole scene. I played a lot of guys that have played many years up here and when [the Tour] got shut down for a couple of years they were really bummed and didn’t really feel like they had a place to play in the summer.” – EricLilleboe

“I’ve been playing really well. It was refreshing to come up here and know that my game is in a better spot than it was in years past. I’m just trying to stay patient and take it one shot at a time, and I’m looking forward to the rest of the year.” – Wil Bateman

“I had a good back nine. I’m really pleased with that.” – Joey Savoie

“It’s great. He’s awesome. You know he’s doing his best to keep up. He’ll be the first to tell you. I stopped to go to the bathroom at one of the holes, and I still beat him to the golf ball, but he’s doing a really good job.” –  Eric Lilleboe on his father serving as his caddie

“I’m excited to come up here and have a good chance to get a good start on this Tour. And it looks like I’m in a pretty good position heading into the weekend. So, I’m excited about that.” – Davis Shore

“I called my coach at night, and we went over some stuff. We figured out a little something to try in the morning and here we are today.” – Jeevan Sihota on his eight-shot improvement


Second-Round Weather: Intermittent rain in the morning, with patches of fog. Sunny and warmer in the afternoon, with a high of 17. Wind SSE at 2-4 kph.

 

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