Barrage of birdies lifts Walker to lead at Osprey Valley Open

PGA TOUR Canada tee marker

CALEDON, Ontario, Canada—Danny Walker majored in economics at the University of Virginia. It came in handy Friday in the second round of the Osprey Valley Open presented by Votorantim Cimentos – CBM Aggregates.

Numbers tell the story of how Walker built a two-stroke lead over Joseph Harrison at the PGA TOUR Canada event at TPC Toronto at Osprey Valley’s Heathlands Course. He’s 11-under after shooting a tournament-best 62. The round included nine birdies.

“It was a great day. I just played really solid. I hit almost every fairway, and I think I hit every green,” Walker said. “So, when you play like that it’s pretty stress-free, and I didn’t have to force anything. I was able to hit a few good shots and make some putts. It just added up to a great round.”

Walker recorded birdies on the first three holes and later added a streak from the 13th to 16th holes. Between the runs, he birdied No. 9 and No. 11.

“Honestly, everything was clicking today. It was just one of those days where I was hitting the driver well, I was hitting some good iron shots and the putter felt great,” said Walker, who has 26 career Korn Ferry Tour starts between 2019 and 2020. “So, when everything feels good you’ve just got to get out of your own way and not think too much and just let it happen, which I think I did a good job of today.”

A good morning. That, simply put, is what lifted Harrison to move up 18 leaderboard spots and into sole possession of second place. Harrison took advantage of an early tee time. He’s 9-under, two shots behind Walker with 36 holes left to play.

The former University of San Diego standout birdied the first two holes and four of seven to begin the day. He added an eagle on the ninth hole to finish with a 30 on the front nine. Birdies on No. 14 and No. 18 rounded out a round free of bogeys.

“We didn’t have any wind really at all through our first seven holes, which was nice. The complete opposite of [Thursday],” Harrison said. “So, it was nice to hit a couple shots close and take advantage.”

After shooting a 70 in windy conditions Thursday, Harrison posted a 63 on Friday. The Las Vegas resident teed off at 7:40 a.m., and was obviously pleased about how things went with the early start.

Harrison said the greens became “crunchy,” fast and a little bit bumpy in the afternoons.

“So, I knew if I was going to make some putts, I would do it early on since being the second group going out,” he added.

Even so, Harrison noted he missed four putts inside of 10 feet. That hasn’t lessened his confidence heading into the weekend. Instead, it’s given him a boost.

“If I continue to hit it well and give myself (birdie) looks, then there isn’t any reason I can’t roll it in,” Harrison said.

Several other golfers are in close pursuit of Walker and Harrison. The nearest, at 8-under, is Jacob Solomon. At 7-under is a group that includes Parker Gillam, Cooper Musselman, Kieran Vincent and Joey Vrzich.

 Did you know Danny Walker has a victory on PGA TOUR Canada? He won the Freedom 55 Financial Championship in London, Ontario, in 2018. He opened the tournament with a 7-under 63 and shot a 64 in the final round to prevail by two strokes over George Cunningham and Jonathan Garrick.

Key information

The cut came at even-par 142, with 68 players qualifying for the weekend.

How the Canadians Fared

The field of Canadians was trimmed from 34 to 15 on Friday. Here are the players who made the cut.

Pos. Player Score
T8 James Allenby 71-65—136 (6-under)
T8 Wil Bateman 68-68— 136 (6-under)
T8 Cougar Collins 68-68—136 (6-under)
T21 Thomas Code 74-64—138 (4-under)
T25 Sudarshan Yellamaraju 71-68—139 (3-under)
T33 Blair Hamilton 67-73—140 (2-under)
T33 Brendan MacDougall 73-67—140 (2-under)
T33 Lawren Rowe 73-67—140 (2-under)
T33 Joey Savoie 74-66—140 (2-under)
T48 Myles Creighton 73-68—141 (1-under)
T48 Drew Nesbitt 71-70—141 (1-under)
T57 Andrew Harrison 71-71—142 (Even)
T57 Jimmy Jones 75-67—142 (Even)
T57 Max Sear 69-73—142 (Even)
T57 Chris R. Wilson 73-69—142 (Even)

 Fortinet Cup Standings

(Through Prince Edward Island Open presented by IMB Solutions)

Rank Player 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 Villar (Mexico) 245
9 Trent Phillips (U.S.) 238
10 Austin Hitt (U.S.) 190

Canadian James Allenby came out swinging Friday. The Oregon State product, from Surrey, British Columbia, shot a 28 over his first nine holes. Allenby had three birdies, two eagles and a par to start. “It was just one of those days where you’re going into the middle of the green and push or pull a couple and they end up kind of close,” Allenby said. “There were a couple of those, and then the rest were all just quality shots and just making putts really. To be honest, what it comes down to in the end is making putts.” Things didn’t come as easy as Allenby had a 37 on his back nine to finish at 6-under.

The big movers Friday were Davis Shore (up 69 spots), Thomas Code (up 67 spots) and Ryan Orr (up 63 spots). Code shot a 64, while Orr and Shore had 65s to make the cut.

Scott Stevens, who won the season-opening PGA TOUR Canada Royal Beach Victoria Open, made the cut for the first time since his victory, ending a string of two straight missed weekends of play.

Only two of Monday’s qualifiers—Blair Hamilton (2-under) and Sudarshan Yellamaraju (3-under)—advanced to Saturday’s third round. Those missing the cut: Kyle Chung (4-over), Nick Costello (4-over), Nicholas Infanti (5-over), Brandon Lacasse (5-over), Eddy Lai (3-over) and Finigan Tilly (1-over).

Caledon’s Cougar Collins remains in contention after shooting a 68 for the second consecutive day. He’s 6-under and tied for 8th place.

Joe Highsmith had an interesting day on his way to a 1-over 72 that allowed him to make the cut, sitting at 2-under through 36 holes. He opened his second round with a triple bogey-6 on the par-3 10th hole and was playing catch-up the rest of the day. He finally got back to even-par for the day when he made back-to-back birdies at Nos. 1 and 2, his 10 and 11th holes of the round. After a pair of pars on his 12th and 13th holes, he bogeyed the par-3 fifth hole the parred in for the 1-over 72.

England’s Alex Fitzpatrick, making his PGA TOUR Canada debut this week, made the cut, at 1-under. He followed his even-par 71 opening-round score with a 70. He’s tied for 48th. This was not Fitzpatrick’s PGA TOUR-affiliated Tour debut. The former Wake Forest star played in the PGA TOUR’s Valspar Championship last March while he was still an amateur. Fitzpatrick, the younger brother of PGA TOUR player and reigning U.S. Open champion Matthew Fitzpatrick, reached as high as No. 6 in the World Amateur Golf Ranking.

Even though he missed the cut, at 2-over, American Travis Trace had quite the improvement over his day-one score Friday. Trace, who lives in Jacksonville, Florida, opened with an 8-over 79 then shaved 14 strokes off that score with a second-round 65.

Americans Carter Jenkins and Max Marsico and Australia’s Cameron John all withdrew Friday due to injury.

The Players say…

“I’m not going to change anything game-plan wise. You know, we still [have] another 36 holes. You never know what’s going to happen. I’m just going to keep my head down and keep plodding along like normal.” — Danny Walker

“I was hitting the ball really well; made most of the putts I should. I just kept myself in position and had a bunch of looks today.” — Joseph Harrison 

“Pretty much the same as [Thursday], just a lot less wind. So, you can be a little bit more aggressive at these flags.” — Joey Vrzich

“We’ll just keep it in the fairways and see what happens.” — Parker Gillam on what he anticipates in the final two rounds 

“It was extremely nice after the beating we took [Thursday].” — Cooper Musselman on less wind Friday  

“I’ve got the head pro as my billet. So, I’ve kind of got a little advantage over other guys here. I got a few tips. It helped out [Thursday].” — James Allenby

 Second-Round Weather: Sunny and warm. High of 29. Wind W at 2-4 kph.

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