Walker holds three-shot lead at Osprey Valley Open

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Golf

CALEDON, Ontario, Canada — Cooper Dossey blew past a lot of the competition Saturday at PGA TOUR Canada’s Osprey Valley Open presented by Votorantim Cimentos – CBM Aggregates, but by the end of the day it was Danny Walker with a comfortable three-shot lead over fellow Americans Dossey and Cooper Musselman. Walker turned in a 3-under 69 to keep Dossey and his sterling, 7-under 64 in the chasing position, along with Musselman.

Walker built his three-shot advantage with a 2-under 69, all of his damage taking place on the back nine at TPC Toronto Osprey Valley’s windy Heathlands course, where he made three birdies during a five-hole stretch to widen his lead.  Jeffrey Kang, Harrison Ott and Jacob Solomon are tied for fourth at 9-under, Kang shot a 64 to move 29 spots and into contention.

“It definitely wasn’t as sharp as a ball-striking round as [Friday],” said Walker, 24 hours after his 9-under 62. He’s currently at 13-under through 54 holes. “I did a really good job just being patient and just taking what the course was giving me.”

He pointed to two scrambling pars, on Nos. 15 and 16, that could have left the scoreboard much tighter with 18 holes to play. “They kept my round going today. I’m feeling good about my game.”

Walker, a former Korn Ferry Tour member didn’t pay much attention to the scoreboards until he was on his 18th hole of the day. “This week, I pretty much know, regardless of where I am my gameplan is not going to change, so I didn’t even bother looking today,” he added. “

Dossey fueled his surge with a couple of things—the blustery conditions and two missed putts at the season-opening tournament in Victoria.

First, the weather.

“The winds have blown, and I’ve actually been asking for the wind to blow,” said Dossey, who played his college golf at Baylor. “Because from Texas, you know, that’s our bread and butter. So, I’m excited when it blows. I think those conditions kind of tend to eliminate half the field. And so, I want it to blow. We got it this week and yeah, I hope it blows again [Sunday].”

Dossey made up a lot of ground early in the third round. He birdied seven of the first 10 holes.

“I just tried to really put myself in a good position on the greens today because I feel like my putter is my best club in my bag,” Dossey said. “I got off to a good start.”

Dossey felt a lot of confidence early on and noted that he just tried to ride it for a good day. He was also inspired by his grandpa, who gives him a hard time about having too many bogeys.

Then there’s Victoria. Dossey held the final-round lead late in the day before missing a pair of five-foot putts down the stretch. He finished third, one shot behind Scott Stevens and Jake Knapp, who settled thing in a playoff.

“I’ll take what I learned in Victoria and really use that [Sunday]. I know I have the game to compete. I’m here. I’ve showed it thus far,” said Dossey, who added it’s about being comfortable. “I’m going to be nervous. But that’s what we work for, and I’m really excited to have an opportunity because when you do it feels really good and those are good nerves.”

Musselman is also looking forward to the challenge.

“I love the spot,” he said. “I feel like I’m chasing, which I feel like is a really good spot to be in when it’s going to be kind of a dicey day tomorrow with the weather.”

Due to anticipated rainy weather Sunday, tournament officials will use a two-tee start for the final round, tee times set between 7:15 and 9:16 a.m. The leaders, Walker, Dossey and Musselman will tee off No. 1 at 9:16 a.m.

 Did you know Danny Walker held a lead going into the final round of the ATB Classic in Edmonton earlier this season? He was in a four-way tie with Jonathan Hardee, Joe Highsmith and Jorge Villar heading into the final 18 holes. However, he shot a 71 Sunday and wound up tied for seventh.

Key information

How the Canadians fared

Wil Bateman (Edmonton, Alberta) and Max Sear (Markham, Ontario) lead the 15 players who made the cut.

Pos. Player Score
T7 Wil Bateman 68-68-69—205 (8-under)
T7 Max Sear 69-73-63—205 (8-under)
T25 Myles Creighton 73-68-68—209 (4-under)
T25 Andrew Harrison 71-71-67—209 (4-under)
T25 Brendan MacDougall 73-67-69—209 (4-under)
T25 Drew Nesbitt 71-70-68—209 (4-under)
T25 Joey Savoie 74-66-69—209 (4-under)
T37 Lawren Rowe 73-67-70—210 (3-under)
T44 James Allenby 71-65-75—211 (2-under)
T44 Blair Hamilton 67-73-71—211 (2-under)
T50 Jimmy Jones 75-67-70—212 (1-under)
T50 Sudarshan Yellamaraju 71-68-73—213 (1-under)
T62 Cougar Collins 68-68-78—215 (1-over)
T66 Chris R. Wilson 73-69-75—217 (4-over)
68 Thomas Code 74-64-81—219 (6-over)

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

Danny Walker acknowledged a win Sunday would mean a lot, especially in the quest to claim the Fortinet Cup as PGA TOUR Canada’s points leader at season’s end. “It’s one step closer,” he said, while adding that it’s the goal for everyone. “And it’s just there are a lot of great players out here playing. So anytime you beat 155 guys in a week like this, that’s no small feat. You should be really pleased with yourself.”

If the weather forecast is correct, Sunday’s final round could be wet and windy. Thunderstorms are expected, with an 80-percent chance of rain. Wind up to 30 kph is also projected.

Saturday’s top climbers were led by Canadian Max Sear (8-under), who fired a 63 to move up 50 spots and into a tie for seventh. Thomas Longbella (7-under) upped his status by 49 spots with a 7-under 64.

At 8-under, Wil Bateman is still in contention and in position to take back the No. 1 spot in the Fortinet Cup standings provided Cooper Dossey, currently No. 7 in points, doesn’t win the tournament. Overall leader Brian Carlson is at even-par through 54 holes. Carlson holds a slim, 12-point lead over Bateman. He’s 247 points ahead of Dossey. The winner Sunday earns 500 Fortinet Cup points.

Monday’s remaining qualifiers—Blair Hamilton (2-under) and Sudarshan Yellamaraju (1-under)—are out of contention. Hamilton shot an even-par 71 in the third round, while Yellamaraju had a 73. The other six qualifiers failed to make the cut.

Caledon’s Cougar Collins (1-over) tumbled 54 spots, into a tie for 62nd with his third-round 78. That followed two consecutive rounds of 68. Fellow Canadian Thomas Code (6-over) has had an interesting week. He opened with a 3-over 74 then rebounded nicely with a 64. Saturday, he was 17 strokes worse, shooting an 81 to fall 47 spots and 68th place.

The top player from outside the U.S. and Canada is South Africa’s Kieran Vincent. The first-year pro out of Virginia’s Liberty University is at 6-under and tied for 17th place.

The Players say…

“I’m going to really just pay attention to what I’m doing and let everyone else worry about their games.”  — Danny Walker 

“I wouldn’t say it was a reset, but it was a definitely a reminder that I was swinging at it fine and there were some birdies holes coming up, some par-5s, so plenty of chances to bounce back.” — Danny Walker on his two front-nine bogeys

“It was definitely more of a challenge today, a little more like the first round. I think the first round was a little tougher than it was today, but definitely not the same scoring conditions we had [Friday].” — Danny Walker

“There’s definitely a little more about keeping it in play and making pars and waiting until you get to the birdie holes so you can tackle (the course) more.” — Danny Walker 

“Today was a good day, and I just happened to make a lot of putts. I had a lot of good par putts, as well.” — Cooper Dossey 

“No matter what the deficit is, I still have a chance. That’s all you can ask for out here because it’s a great field, and I’m really excited to get going [Sunday].” — Cooper Dossey

“I had a lot of wind both my rounds. It was kind of refreshing to get a little bit of the calmness for the first couple holes. I’m glad I got done early and can sit and watch.” — Jeffrey Kang on teeing off earlier in the day before the heavy wind hit

“I just finally saw a leaderboard there on 18, and I was like ‘Whoa, I guess I’m on the leaderboard.’ That’s a good feeling. For me, more so, I’m just happy that I finally put a good round together and (will) just try to play as best as I can [Sunday].” — Max Sear


Third-Round Weather: Sunny and warm, with a high of 29. Wind W at 7-11 kph, with gusts to 15 kph.