PGA TOUR Canada: Walker edges Musselman in playoff

PGA TOUR Canada tee marker

CALEDON, Ontario – SPORTS — Danny Walker did what he had to do. The leader after the second and third rounds capped it off with a playoff win at the Osprey Valley Open presented by Votorantim Cimentos – CBM Aggregates.

After finishing regulation tied with Cooper Musselman at 16-under, Walker made a five-foot birdie on the first playoff hole to claim the PGA TOUR Canada event and 500 Fortinet Cup points that lifted him to the top of the points standings through four tournaments. He was excited about his first victory since prevailing at the Freedom 55 Financial Championship in 2018.

“It was a stressful day. Cooper was really playing well and pushing me the whole time,” Walker said of the early start. Because inclement weather was forecasted, officials incorporated split tees and earlier-than-normal start times to beat the rain.

“So, it was stressful, but (I’m) happy to get it done,” Walker added.

Walker entered the final round with a three-stroke lead. It quickly evaporated, though, as players, including Musselman, cut into their deficits. Musselman had birdies on five of his first eight holes then added a couple on the back nine. The last one, on No. 18, forced the playoff. However, any hopes Musselman had of winning ended with Walker pouring in his birdie putt after a sublime approach shot on the same hole where Musselman forced the extra session.

“He played great. I shot 65 today in the final group and still didn’t beat him,” Musselman said of Walker. “That goes to show that he’s a great player, a tremendous competitor, and we had a lot of fun out there.”

Thomas Longbella and Harrison Ott finished 14-under and in a tie for third. Longbella made an impressive run of five consecutive birdies (holes 8-12) at one point to move into contention

Parker Gillam, J.T. Griffin and Jacob Solomon shared fifth place, at 13-under. Cooper Dossey, Gavin Hall, Jeffrey Kang and Kieran Vincent finished eighth, at 12-under. Hall made eight birdies en route to his first top-10 finish of the season, shooting a second consecutive 66.

After third-round play, Walker was asked about Sunday’s weather forecast and if it motivated him to be in the lead just in case rain canceled the final round. Walker acknowledged knowing thunderstorms were expected in the afternoon but added he never considered any scenarios where the leader could be declared the winner.

“No, I didn’t. I wasn’t thinking about it that way, especially with the conditions out here. You just can’t force anything,” Walker said. “If I was thinking like, Gosh, I have to be first going into tomorrow, I would have just made some sloppy bogeys.”

Walker’s mindset was firmly set on the final round being played, and he capped a week with four sub-70 rounds, including his second-round 62, his career-low round as a pro. He shot a 64 at the 2019 Ellie Mae Classic at TPC Stonebrae on the Korn Ferry Tour.

PGA TOUR Canada moves to Tottenham, Ontario, next week at Woodington Lake’s (Legend Course) for the Sotheby’s International Realty Canada Open.

Did you know Danny Walker is the fourth different champion in four tournaments this season on PGA TOUR Canada? Previous winners include Scott Stevens (Royal Beach Victoria Open), Wil Bateman (ATB Classic) and Brian Carlson(Prince Edward Island Open).

How the Canadians fared

Wil Bateman (Edmonton, Ontario), Myles Creighton (Digby, Nova Scotia), Andrew Harrison (Camrose, Alberta) and Max Sear (Markham, Ontario) all finished 10-under and in a tie for 13th place. Here is how the remaining Canadians who made the cut finished.

Pos. Player Score
T13 Wil Bateman 68-68-69-69—274 (10-under)
T13 Myles Creighton 73-68-68-65—274 (10-under)
T13 Andrew Harrison 71-71-67-65—274 (10-under)
T13 Max Sear 69-73-63-69—274 (10-under)
T20 Brendan MacDougall 73-67-69-67—276 (8-under)
T35 Drew Nesbitt 71-70-68-71—280 (4-under)
T35 Joey Savoie 74-66-69-71—280 (4-under)
T47 Lawren Rowe 73-67-70-72—282 (2-under)
T51 Chris R. Wilson 73-69-75-66—283 (1-under)
T51 Sudarshan Yellamaraju 71-68-73-71—283 (1-under)
T57 Blair Hamilton 67-73-71-73—284 (Even)
T60 Jimmy Jones 75-67-70-73—285 (1-over)
T66 James Allenby 71-65-75-78—289 (5-over)
T66 Cougar Collins 68-68-78-75—289 (5-over)
68 Thomas Code 74-64-81-78—297 (13-over)

Danny Walker not only won the Osprey Valley Open, he also took the lead in the Fortinet Cup standings. The former University of Virgina player started the week in 18th place. Among the players in the top 20, Thomas Longbella had the biggest jump, up 26 positions, to No. 13. 

Fortinet Cup Standings

(Through Osprey Valley Open presented by Votrantim Cimentos – CBM Aggregates)

Rank Player Points
1 Danny Walker (U.S.) 620
2 Wil Bateman (Canada) 591
3 Brian Carlson (U.S.) 562
4 Scott Stevens (U.S.) 519
5 Cooper Musselman (U.S.) 418
6 Joe Highsmith (U.S.) 379
7 Cooper Dossey (U.S.) 374
8 Jake Knapp (U.S.) 364
9 Chris R. Wilson (Canada) 336
10 Jorge Villar (Mexico) 258

It has been 1,407 days between wins for Danny Walker. He captured the Freedom 55 Financial Championship, his first and only PGA TOUR Canada title, on September 16, 2018. This win came in Walker’s 17th career start. Besides his two victories, he has made 12 cuts.

After the dust settled, Cooper Dossey (12-under) is all alone in top-10 finishes this season. He tied for eighth and in the upper echelon for the third time in four starts. Three other players entered the week with two top-10 finishes but came up short this week. Joe Highsmith wound up tied for 35th place, at 4-under. Chris Crisologo and Trent Phillips failed to make the cut.

Cooper Musselman has some status on the Korn Ferry Tour, but he only played one tournament on that circuit this season, missing the cut. He has made all four cuts in his PGA TOUR Canada appearances, his runner-up performance this week easily his best showing.

Will Barnett (6-under) was the biggest leaderboard climber over the final 18 holes Sunday. The Australian shot a 66 to make up 24 spots, tying for 26th overall. First-round leader Ian Holt (3-under) continued his slide over the final three days. He dropped 22 spots Sunday and into a tie for 41st with a 73. He opened with a 66 Thursday.

Monday qualifiers Sudarshan Yellamaraju (1-under) and Blair Hamilton (even) completed the weekend with final rounds of 71 and 73, respectively. Both are Canadians.

Although ATB Classic winner Wil Bateman had a strong showing at 10-under, things didn’t go particularly well for the other two victors on PGA TOUR Canada this season. Royal Beach Victoria champion Scott Stevens ended at 4-under, while Prince Edward Island Open champ Brian Carlson was 3-under. Carlson, the Fortinet Cup leader entering the week, slipped to No. 3 and now trails Danny Walker by 58 points.

Cougar Collins of Caledon followed a pair of 68s with a 78 and a 75 to finish the tournament 5-over and in a tie for 66th.

The Player’s say…

“I took a peek going to 13 tee just to see if anyone was either tied with me or gotten ahead of me.” — Danny Walker on scoreboard watching Sunday

“I definitely wasn’t hitting it quite as well as I had the previous couple of days. I didn’t really hit any approach shots close. The key was definitely getting the par-5s.” — Danny Walker on getting birdies on all four par-5 holes

“On the par-4s and 3s, I was more having to make solid two-putts with a lot of tricky first putts. It was all about lag putting and making those short putts.” — Danny Walker

“All you can ask for is to have the 72nd hole actually matter. That’s all you can really ask for, and thankfully I put myself in position for that.” — Cooper Musselman

“The goal now is—I’ll celebrate a little probably tonight and I’ll relax [Monday]—to try to just keep it going. We’ve got two more events before we get a week off. So, we’ll try and get back.” — Danny Walker 

“It gives me a lot of confidence going into next week and it keeps me hungrier and wanting it a little bit more.” — Cooper Musselman

Final-Round Weather: Mostly cloudy and warm. High of 27. Wind WSW at 12-16 kph.

Previous articleUpdate on Monkeypox in Canada
Next articleWildfire Update – Northwest Fire Region – July 24, 2022 or NNL offers news, information, opinions and positive ideas for Thunder Bay, Ontario, Northwestern Ontario and the world. NNL covers a large region of Ontario, but are also widely read around the country and the world. To reach us by email: Reach the Newsroom: (807) 355-1862.