Break is over, PGA TOUR Canada swinging back into action

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PGA TOUR Canada tee marker

CALEDON, Ontario – SPORTS – After a three-week break, PGA TOUR Canada swings back into action this week with the Osprey Valley Open presented by Votorantim Cimentos CBM Aggregates. The fourth tournament of the season is slated for Thursday through Sunday on the Heathlands course at TPC Toronto at Osprey Valley.

The field includes champions from the three tournaments played this season. Brian Carlson (Prince Edward Island Open), Wil Bateman (ATB Classic) and Scott Stevens (Royal Beach Victoria Open) are also jockeying for position in the Fortinet Cup standings, with Carlson leading the season-long points race, with 549, while Bateman and Stevens are second and third, respectively, with 535 and 500.

Among those giving chase is former North Carolina star Austin Hitt. He’s in 10th place despite playing in only one event this season. Earlier this month, the 24-year-old finished third at the PEI Open, At 17-under, Hitt finished just two shots behind Carlson.

The strong showing followed success on PGA TOUR Latinoamérica, where Hitt had three top-10 finishes and wound up 16th in the Totalplay Cup standings to retain privileges for 2023.

“I didn’t really know what to expect,” said Hitt about his PGA TOUR Canada debut, after spending an extra day in Cancun, Mexico, before arriving in PEI with just enough time to get in eight holes of practice. “I was tired at the end of the stretch, but I knew my game was good.”

So good, in fact, that Hitt shot four rounds in the 60s.

“I felt like I probably put myself in contention three or four times in Latin America, a couple of times toward the end (of the season),” he added. “I felt like I just gathered off of those.”

Even though Hitt didn’t feel he was playing his best on Sunday at Dundarave Golf Course, he was determined to stay “on the gas pedal.” He shot a 67 to stay in the championship chase.

“I was proud of myself for that. I wish I would have played better and been able to get the win,” Hitt said. “But I wasn’t upset because that was probably the best I did while near contention. I was able to play aggressively, and I played aggressive the entire time.”

This week’s tournament near Toronto brings Noah Steele back to his home province of Ontario. The 24-year-old from Kingston is also quite familiar with the golf course. He won last year’s Osprey Valley Open, an unofficial event PGA TOUR Canada ran a year ago due to border issues related to the global pandemic.

Steele, who also played on PGA TOUR Latinoamérica, noted that past success at TPC Osprey Valley and how to tackle the golf course cuts out a lot of pre-tournament prep.

“It’s more so about being rested and ready to go with the game and begin with the same approach,” Steele said. “I’m super excited to tee it up this week and stick to my gameplan.”

The ex-Sam Houston State standout was able to get a round in Monday and found the course in great condition.

“The layout is super fun. It’s all about driving the ball in position, and then from there you get a lot of good looks with wedges and potentially some short irons and some mid-short irons,” Steele said. “There are some scorable par-5s out there, as well. If you keep it in the fairway, you’re going to be in a much nicer spot.”

The Rundown

DATES: July 21-24, 2022

OFFICIAL NAME: Osprey Valley Open presented by Votorantim Cimentos CBM Aggregates

HASHTAGS: #FortinetCup

SCHEDULE: Fifth of 11 official events of the 2022 PGA TOUR Canada season

VENUE: TPC Toronto at Osprey Valley (Heathlands)

PAR/YARDS: 71 (36-35), 6,810

POINTS LIST: Winner earns 500 points

PURSE MONEY: (Canadian) $225,000 (winner claims Canadian $40,500)

CUT: Top 60 professional (and ties, plus any amateurs inside the top-60)

FORTINET CUP: The season-long points chase mirrors the competitive structure of the points-based competitions on the PGA TOUR, PGA TOUR Champions and PGA TOUR Latinoamérica. Through the sponsorship, the Fortinet Cup offers a new $100,000 player bonus pool—with $25,000 to the winner—to the top Fortinet Cup points-winners. The top-five Fortinet Cup points-earners gain membership to the 2023 Korn Ferry Tour, while Korn Ferry Tour benefits are available to those finishing sixth through 10th. In addition, the Fortinet Cup winner will also be exempt into the PGA TOUR’s 2023 RBC Canadian Open.

FORTINET CUP STANDINGS

Pos. Player (Country) Points
1 Brian Carlson (U.S.) 549
2 Wil Bateman (Canada) 537
3 Scott Stevens (U.S. 500
4 Jake Knapp (U.S.) 364
5 Joe Highsmith (U.S.) 360
6 Chris R. Wilson (Canada) 329
7 Cooper Dossey (U.S.) 296
8 Jorge Vilar (Mexico) 245
9 Trent Phillips (U.S.) 238
10 Austin Hitt (U.S.) 190

 

TITLE SPONSOR: Votorantim Cimentos CBM Aggregates 

BENEFITING CHARITIES: Credit Valley Conservation Foundation, Bethell Hospice Foundation, Caledon Community Services

TOURNAMENT SCHEDULE:

Thursday, July 21                            First Round

Friday, July 22                                 Second Round

Saturday, July 23                            Third Round

Sunday, July 24                               Final Round

FIELD OVERVIEW:

SIZE: 156 players

COUNTRY AND TERRITORY BREAKDOWN: Australia (2), Canada (34), China (4), Chinese Taipei (1), England (1), France (2), Germany (2), Hong Kong (1), Mexico (1), Switzerland (1), United States (106), Zimbabwe (1).

LAST PGA TOUR CANADA TOURNAMENT: Former Purdue standout Brian Carlson finished 19-under with a final-round 65 to win the Prince Edward Island Open presented by IMP Solutions on July 3. Carlson picked up his first Tour victory by edging Chris R. Wilson (18-under) and Austin Hitt (17-under).

OPEN-QUALIFYING: Earlier this week, the tournament conducted a Monday qualifier, with eight playing spots available for the best-performing players in the 18-hole event. The following qualified.

Player (Country) Score
Kyle Chung (Canada) 8-under
Brandon Lacasse (Canada) 8-under
Finigan Tilly (U.S.) 8-under
Nick Costello (U.S.) 7-under
Blair Hamilton (Canada) 7-under
Nicholas Infanti (U.S.) 7-under
Eddy Lai (U.S.) 7-under
Sudarshan Yellamaraju (Canada) 7-under

 

PGA TOUR CANADA ALUMNI: Since 2013, more than 250 players have graduated to the Korn Ferry Tour, with 46 players accounting for 52 wins. From there, 54 players have moved on to the PGA TOUR, with 14 players accounting for 16 wins. They are Corey Conners, Mackenzie Hughes, Joel Dahmen, J.J. Spaun, Nick Taylor, Tony Finau, C.T. Pan, Talor Gooch, Adam Long, Aaron Wise, CamDavis, Ryan Brehm, Chad Ramey and Sepp Straka. There are currently 10 Canadians on the PGA TOUR.