SPRUCE GROVE, Alberta — It was a homecoming made all the more special by the outcome. Sunday, Edmonton native Wil Bateman prevailed in a three-way playoff with Joe Highsmith and Jorge Villar to win the ATB Classic presented by Volvo Edmonton. The trio were knotted at 19-under after 72 holes.
The victory, which came on a spectacular eagle chip shot on the second extra hole, at No. 18, was on familiar turf. Bateman played a lot of golf at the Edmonton Petroleum Golf and Country Club from ages 6-12. He noted he was comfortable at the course and spent the week just five minutes away.
Indeed. There was no place like home for the 28-year former San Diego State star. He became the first Canadian to win a PGA TOUR Canada event in his hometown and the first Canadian to win on PGA TOUR Canada since Taylor Pendrith, in 2019. For the win, Bateman earned 500 Fortinet Cup points and $40,500.
“This event has always been special, and I’ve really wanted to knock this one off for a really long time. And I felt going into this week I was playing some of the best golf of my life,” Bateman said. “I really did a great job of staying in the moment this week, especially with everything that was going outside of the course.
“Just to come out on top is special,” he added.
Although things were tight before the round began, the competition intensified when Highsmith and Villar teed off in the early afternoon. At the time, there was an eight-way tie for first, at 14-under, and 20 others within four shots of the lead on the packed leaderboard.
Villar, though, came out swinging and swinging well. He birdied the first two holes and four of his opening six to seize control of the lead. However, Bateman pulled even after the turn by getting birdies on the 11th and 12th holes to go to 18-under, as well.
It didn’t stay that way for long. Villar also birdied No. 11 to regain an advantage. And that, too, lacked staying power. On No. 12, Villar’s streak of 56 consecutive holes without a bogey came to an end.
Meanwhile, Bateman birdied No. 15 to cap a two-stroke swing and move into sole possession of the lead, at 19-under. Shortly thereafter, Highsmith joined Villar at 18-under with a chip-shot make for birdie on No. 14.
Bateman then parred the final three holes and had to wait for the contenders to finish, missing a birdie putt on No. 18. Drama ensued down the stretch as Highsmith wound up in a bunker on No. 17 and took a bogey. “It was really the first time I had played all day not protective. I felt like most of the day I was a little nervy, trying not to mess up,” Highsmith observed. “Once I bogeyed 17 and saw Wil had finished at 19(-under), I decided there was no point in holding back anymore.”
Highsmith bounced back with an eagle on No. 18, a putt he had to have to get into the playoff. “It was pretty sick to convert that putt. Then Jorge made that putt, too. It was a pretty crazy finish,” said the former Pepperdine star about Villar joining the overtime session with his last-hole birdie.
The playoff began with all three recording birdies on the first go-around at No. 18. Highsmith came up just short with his eagle attempt.
In the end, though, Bateman made his hometown happy on the second playoff hole by knocking in a chip for the memorable finish.
This is Bateman’s first victory since he won on PGA TOUR Latinoamérica. In October 2015, Bateman captured the Hyundai-BBVA Chile Open at Los Leones Golf Club in Santiago. He defeated Rafael Campos by a stroke for the title, making a birdie on the 72nd hole to avoid a playoff with Campos.
PGA TOUR Canada’s third tournament of the year is set for this coming week in Saskatchewan. The Elk Ridge Open begins Thursday with Bateman atop the Fortinet Cup standings, 31 points ahead of second-place Scott Stevens, winner of the season-opening tournament in Victoria.
Did you know the last time there was a three-man playoff in a PGA TOUR Canada event was on June 24, 2018 when T.T. Crouch topped Chris Williams and Zach Wright at the Lethbridge Paradise Canyon Open?
There’s a new leader atop the Fortinet Cup standings. Wil Bateman leads the chase for the $25,000 bonus and Player of the Year honor as the points leader. The competition continues through all 11 tournaments. The ATB Classic was the second stop. Bateman tied for 26th in the season-opening Royal Beach Victoria Open. His performance upped his Fortinet Cup point total to 531, surpassing previous leader Scott Stevens. After winning in Victoria, Stevens failed to make the cut.
Fortinet Cup Standings
(ATB Classic presented by Volvo Edmonton)
|1||Wil Bateman (Canada)||531|
|2||Scott Stevens (U.S.)||500|
|3||Jake Knapp (U.S.)||329|
|T4||Joe Highsmith (U.S.)||245|
|T4||Jorge Villar (Mexico)||245|
|6||Cooper Dossey (U.S.)||226|
|T7||Joey Savoie (Canada)||150|
|9||Jeffrey Kang (U.S.)||133|
|10||Jake Scott (U.S.)||132|
How the Canadians Fared
Wil Bateman won in his hometown, and Chris Crisologo was the other Canadian to turn in a top-10 finish this week. Three other Canadians also shot 10-under or better.
|T1||Wil Bateman||65-67-68-65 (19-under)|
|T7||Chris Crisologo||70-66-66-68 (14-under)|
|T15||James Allenby||68-67-69-68 (12-under)|
|T15||Jared du Toit||65-67-69-71 (12-under)|
|T27||Chris R. Wilson||68-68-70-68 (10-under)|
|T39||Cougar Collins||67-69-71-70 (7-under)|
|T39||Jimmy Jones||70-68-71-68 (7-under)|
|T39||Joey Savoie||70-68-68-71 (7-under)|
|T39||Max Sear||69-68-71-69 (7-under)|
|T50||Jamie Sadlowski||69-67-72-71 (5-under)|
|T52||Riley Wheeldon||67-71-73-69 (4-under)|
|T57||Michael Blair||69-67-74-71 (3-under)|
|62||Tony Gil||67-71-74-74 (2-over)|
ATB Classic champion Wil Bateman won’t have history on his side as PGA TOUR Canada continues its 2022 season this coming week at the Elk Ridge Open in Waskesiu Lake, Saskatchewan. Bateman will attempt to become just the second player since the Tour began in 2013 to win back-to-back tournaments. The only player to accomplish the feat is Tyler McCumber, who is now on the PGA TOUR. In 2018, McCumber captured titles at the Osprey Valley Open in Ontario and at Edmonton Petroleum Golf and Country Club in here in Alberta. McCumber finished third in his attempt to win three in a row, and he did win his third tournament in four starts at the Manitoba Open two weeks after his win in Edmonton.
American Jake Knapp, who tied for 27th, shot a 65 Sunday and moved up 25 positions. He finished at 10-under. Kieran Vincent(Zimbabwe) and Eric Lilleboe (U.S.) were also big movers in the final round— each climbing 18 positions. Lilleboe tied for 12th and Vincent, a recent graduate of Liberty University in Virginia, tied for 34th.
The seven PGA TOUR University graduates in the field this week had mixed success. After earning Tour membership based on their college performance, the new professionals were led by former Pepperdine All-American Joe Highsmith, who lost to WilBateman in the three-man playoff. The rest of the class Trent Phillips (Georgia, tied for fourth); Parker Coody (Texas) and CameronSisk (Arizona State), both tied for 15th; Jackson Suber (Mississippi, tied for 34th). Noah Goodwin (Southern Methodist) and Ryan Hall(South Carolina) both missed the cut.
After opening the tournament with rounds of 64, the first-day leaders had challenges the rest of the way. John Duthie (tied for 52nd) and Brian Carlson (tied for 45th) never shot in the 60s after their solid opening rounds, while Ian Holt (tied for 15th) and Cooper Musselman (tied for 27th) each had two rounds in the 60s during the week.
The Players say…
“Coming in, I knew that I was playing well enough to get it done.” –Wil Bateman
“My dad got me into golf at a young age, and he’s been a huge part of my life. It was in the back of my mind a little bit [Saturday]. I wanted to give him a good Father’s Day gift, and I think this one will do.” –Wil Bateman
“If you’re going to lose, you like to lose with an eagle like that.” –Jorge Villar
“I’m happy with the things I did on the last four holes. On 16, I had a really tough bunker shot from 220 (yards). I don’t know how I got it onto the green. It was an amazing shot. On 17, I hit a really good two-putt. I made the putt to get into the playoff, then on the first playoff hole I also made a really good putt.” –Jorge Villar on his tournament finish
“From where I hit my tee ball, probably. I would have tried to make sure I got it left on the green instead of trying to hit the hero shot and get it close.” –Joe Highsmith on whether he would have played No. 18 in regulation any differently had he not made bogey on the previous hole
“It’s cool. It’s great for [Bateman], the hometown kid. This obviously means a lot to him. It’s funny how golf works sometimes. Stuff like that happens to the right people.” –Joe Highsmith
“It was an easy shot, but to make it under those circumstances was pretty sick.” –Joe Highsmith on Wil Bateman’s eagle chip make that won him the tournament
“I’m happy that generally most of the week I played well. It’s nice to know that my B-plus game, probably, can contend out here, and hopefully I can start to play a little better as the season goes on. But I played well, and I was super impressed how the tournament was run, especially with all the people coming out today.” –Joe Highsmith
“The competition was pretty damn good. I wasn’t expecting it to be as good.” –Joe Highsmith
“I checked the leaderboard and I saw I was a couple back/ But, you know, guys are just making a lot of birdies. So, you’ve got to do something crazy.” –Rhett Rasmussen
“I definitely tried to play aggressive today and give myself a chance to win. I probably didn’t make enough birdies, but I’m super happy with the way I played today.” –Rhett Rasmussen
Final-Round Weather: Mostly cloudy and overcast. High of 24. Wind W at 2-4 kph.