SPRUCE GROVE – SPORTS —Thanks to a bunch of birdies, Ian Holt managed to drive ahead of the pack at PGA TOUR Canada’s ATB Classic presented by Volvo Edmonton. The former Kent State star entered Friday’s second round in a six-way tie for first.
“I’m just going to keep doing what I’m doing. I feel like I’m managing my game well and putting myself in good position to score. I’ve just got to keep doing that,” explains Ian Holt.
The top of the leaderboard began to thin, especially after Holt went on a run of birdies on the back nine. He improved to 13-under on the day with birdies on the 11th, 13th, 14th, 15th and 16th holes, boosting his total for the round to seven when adding scores on No. 3 and No. 4 earlier. The burst left him two strokes ahead of Americans Rhett Rasmussen and Danny Walker at the midway mark.
Things are still quite crowded, though, with Canadians Wil Bateman and Jared du Toit and American Spencer Cross poised to continue contending, at 10-under. Seven players are at 9-under. The group includes Jonathan Harden, Joe Highsmith. Cartier Jenkins, Jeffrey Kang, Trent Phillips, Samuel Saunders and Jorge Villar. Sunday’s winner will earn $36,000 and 500 Fortinet Cup points.
Holt is optimistic about his chances.
“That’s why I’m here. I came here to win,” he said. “I feel good where I’m at right now, physically and mentally and I’m excited.”
The barrage of birdies on the back nine—five in six holes—put him alone in first.
“I just didn’t have a lot of opportunities on the front (nine). I just didn’t roll anything in,” Holt said. “And then I kept hitting it close on the back (nine) and got it to go in the hole.”
Holt, who was pleased with a par save on No. 12, noted that he started hitting it really well and throwing them in. He said his putter was kind of cold on the front and heated up on the back.
Thursday’s other leaders had a variety of success, or lack thereof, in the second round. Besides Rasmussen ending in a tie for second and Saunders slipping into a tie for seventh, there were much more dramatic slides. Brian Carlson and Cooper Musselman dropped to ties at 14th and 16th, respectively. John Duthie plunged to a tie at 36th, finishing at 5-under after shooting a 2-over 73.
Did you know Spencer Cross Monday-qualified into this week’s event and is currently tied for fourth, three shots off the lead? Cross played collegiately at the University of Tennessee.
The cut came at 4-under 138, with 62 players advancing to the weekend.
Although Scott Stevens, winner of the season-opening Royal Beach Victoria Open and currently atop the Fortinet Cup standings, rebounded nicely from his opening, 2-over 73, shooting a second-round 68, he finished 36 holes at 1-under and missed the cut.
Low-round-of-the-day honors belonged to a pair of Americans, Spencer Cross and Jeffrey Kang. Both shot 7-under 64s, tying them with the six players who held a share of the first-round lead after they also opened with 64s. Cross did the bulk of his damage during a stretch at the start of his back nine, when he made five consecutive birdies, starting at No. 2. Cross began his day slowly with a par-bogey-bogey start. His strong run began when he eagled No. 18, his ninth hole of the day, and he played his final 10 holes in 8-under.
How the Canadians are faring
Wil Bateman and Jared DuToit are tied for fourth and remain in contention for the title after two rounds, while 11 others qualified to play on the weekend.
|T4||Wil Bateman||65-67 (10-under)|
|T4||Jared du Toit||65-67 (10-under)|
|T16||James Allenby||68-67 (7-under)|
|T25||Michael Blair||69-67 (6-under)|
|T25||Cougar Collins||67-69 (6-under)|
|T25||Chris Crisologo||70-66 (6-under)|
|T25||Jamie Sadlowski||69-67 (6-under)|
|T25||Chris R. Wilson||68-68 (6-under)|
|T36||Max Sear||69-68 (5-under)|
|T49||Tony Gil||67-71 (4-under)|
|T49||Jimmy Jones||70-68 (4-under)|
|T49||Joey Savoie||70-68 (4-under)|
|T49||Riley Wheeldon||67-71 (4-under)|
|CUT||Andrew Harrison||72-67 (3-under)|
|CUT||Brendan MacDougall||72-67 (3-under)|
|CUT||Austin Ryan||71-69 (2-under)|
|CUT||Etienne Papineau||70-70 (2-under)|
|CUT||Jeevan Sihota||68-72 (2-under)|
|CUT||Thomas Giroux||68-73 (1-under)|
|CUT||Lawren Rowe||73-68 (1-under)|
|CUT||Brendan Leonard||72-70 (Even)|
|CUT||Drew Nesbitt||68-74 (Even)|
|CUT||Max Sekulic||70-72 (Even)|
|CUT||Daniel Kim||72-71 (1-over)|
|CUT||Kade Johnson||73-71 (2-over)|
|CUT||James Colin Davis||74-73 (5-over)|
|CUT||Logan Graf (a)||74-73 (5-over)|
|CUT||Tyler Saunders||76-71 (5-over)|
|CUT||Tristan Mandur||77-72 (7-over)|
|CUT||Blair Bursey||77-73 (8-over)|
|CUT||Braden O’Grady||78-72 (8-over)|
|CUT||Matthew Kreutz||78-77 (13-over)|
|CUT||Marc Bourgeois||82-78 (18-over)|
|CUT||Spencer VanderMey||88-77 (23-over)|
Fortinet Cup Standings
(Through Royal Beach Victoria Open)
|1||Scott Stevens (U.S.)||500|
|2||Jake Knapp (U.S.)||300|
|3||Cooper Dossey (U.S.)||190|
|4||Joey Savoie (Canada)||135|
|T5||Etienne Papineau (Canada)||105|
|T5||Nolan Ray (U.S.)||105|
|T7||Brett Bennett (U.S.)||85|
|T7||Jeffrey Kang (U.S.)||85|
|T7||Cooper Musselman (U.S.)||85|
|T10||Michael Blair (Canada)||70|
|T10||Chris Crisologo (Canada)||70|
|T10||Ian Holt (U.S.)||70|
Jared du Toit acknowledged that the Edmonton area isn’t exactly where a Calgary guy wants to be, especially after the Stanley Cup playoff series between the Oilers and Flames. He noted that winning the tournament would ease the pain of the hockey outcome. “That would make me feel a little better about Edmonton, for sure.” Du Toit noted that he’s always had a bit of “a riff” with Edmonton because he’s a Flames fan. Even so, he admits being comfortable playing in Albert —winning the ATB Classic last year in Calgary with a limited field because of the pandemic.
This is leader Ian Holt’s 33rd career PGA TOUR Canada start. His best finish was a runner-up showing at this same course in 2018, losing by two strokes to Tyler McCumber. That year he was tied for 15th going into the weekend, five shots off the lead held by current Korn Ferry Tour member George Cunningham. He shot a final-round 63 only to come up two shots shy. In those 33 starts, Holt has made the cut 27 times.
If nothing else, Jeffrey Kang racked up a lot of frequent flyer miles. Following the Royal Beach Victoria Open, Kang took a redeye-flight to Toronto for the RBC Canadian Open. After missing the cut, Kang, a Monday qualifier a week ago, headed to Edmonton for this week’s tournament. “It’s been crazy,” Kang said. “It’s what we do, why we do what we do. So, I’m very happy with it.
The biggest movers on Friday were Grayson Porter (U.S.) and Lukas Euler (Germany). Porter shot a 66 to reach 4-under—improving 57 spots—and barely making the cut. Euler also had a 66 and improved his score to 5-under overall by climbing 48 spots up the board. Six players had position jumps of 35. On the negative side, a first-round leader John Duthie (U.S.) fell 35 spots with a 73. He enters the weekend at 5-under. Canadians Tony Gil and Riley Wheeldon will play Saturday and Sunday despite falling 33 spots on Friday, leaving them both at 4-under
Danny Walker has previously played one full PGA TOUR Canada season (2018). He won the season-ending tournament that season in London, Ontario, defeating George Cunningham and Johnathan Garrick by two shots. He finished the year seventh on the Order of Merit to earn conditional 2019 Korn Ferry Tour status. He played full time on the Korn Ferry in 2019 and played a handful of events in 2020 after play resumed following the shutdown because of the global pandemic.
The most-difficult hole Friday was the par 4 16th hole, players averaging 4.338 strokes there. The 12 birdies tied it with the par-4 seventh for the fewest in the second round. There were also 43 bogeys, nine double bogeys and one triple bogey. The 18th hole was the easiest. The stroke average for the par-5 was 4.377.
While there were only 59 sub-70 rounds Thursday, there were 80 in the second round.
The Players Say…
“It’s definitely nice to be in contention, to have support from the locals even though I’m from Calgary and we’re in Edmonton.” — Jared du Toit
“Golf is too unpredictable. (You) don’t want to waste your time worrying about other people until you have to.” — Danny Walker
“(There) was a little wetness from the rain last night. So, it took a little bit of getting used to.” — Jeffrey Kang on course conditions that led to a delayed start
“You just want to be anywhere in the vicinity of the lead. It doesn’t matter if you’re co-leading or if you’re four or five back. You want to be somewhere up there.” — Danny Walker
Second-Round Weather: Officials delayed play for 30 minutes after overnight rain left the course unplayable. Overcast most of the day with intermittent rain. High of 20. Wind ENE at 4-7 kph.