BLAINVILLE, Québec — Prior to Noah Goodwin’s win last week in Ontario, there was a five-year gap in wire-to-wire finishes on PGA TOUR Canada. Now, it’s looking more and more like there might be two in seven days.
Ryan Gerard is on the cusp of doing so at the Québec Open at Club de Golf Le Blainvillier. He’s 17-under after 54 holes and takes a four-shot lead into Sunday’s finale. The former University of North Carolina standout fended off any serious challenges with a back nine that featured four birdies and an eagle.
“I just really played solid and did exactly what I needed to do,” said Gerard, who credits good approach shots for his success on the final holes. An eagle on No. 11 was his first as a PGA TOUR Canada member.
Gerard enters the final round with a four-stroke advantage over Justin Doeden (13-under). Gerard’s quest for a wire-to-wire win, he said, will come down to doing what he has the past three days.
“I’ve just got to take it one shot at a time. I can’t get ahead of myself,” said Gerard, who noted that the course will probably play a little bit different Sunday morning than it will in the afternoon. “I’ve just got to stay patient and keep doing my thing. If I do what I need to do, I’ll be just fine.”
As for the actual task of leading from Thursday to Sunday, Gerard doesn’t think there’s any difference in finishing things off.
“Winning is hard in general,” said Gerard, who added he just wants to play his game, stick to the plan and hopefully come out with a win.
Gerard’s nearest challenger, Doeden, matched the leader with a round of 66, tying for low-round-of-the-day honors. Doeden racked up eight birdies on the day. Monday qualifier Chris Crawford continued to play well. He’s all alone in third, at 11-under. A large group—featuring Bryce Hendrix, Ian Holt, Jeffrey Kang, Drew Nesbitt, Joey Savoie, Blake Wagoner and Thomas Walsh—follows at 10-under.
“[Sunday] is just go time, really,” Nesbitt said. “I’ve got to make some birdies. There are a lot of good players to catch, but we’ll see what we can do.”
The winner earns 500 Fortinet Cup points and a $36,000 (CAD) payday.
Did you know wire-to-wire wins on PGA TOUR Canada stopped for five years after Robby Shelton prevailed at the GolfBC Championship in 2017? Shelton has gone on to win three Korn Ferry Tour events.
How the top Canadians fared
Joey Savoie, of Québec, and Drew Nesbitt, of Ontario, are in contention heading into the final round. They are both 10-under and tied for fourth.
|T4||Drew Nesbitt||70-69-67—206 (10-under)|
|T4||Joey Savoie||68-67-71—206 (10-under)|
|T14||Wil Bateman||68-70-70—208 (8-under)|
|T19||Sudarshan Yellamaraju||72-69-68—209 (7-under)|
|T23||Myles Creighton||69-72-69—210 (6-under)|
|T33||Max Gilbert||71-67-73—211 (5-under)|
|T33||Etienne Papineau||70-71-70—211 (5-under)|
|T40||Lawren Rowe||72-70-70—212 (4-under)|
|T51||Yohann Benson||73-69-71—213 (3-under)|
|T59||Brandon Lacasse||68-71-75—214 (2-under)|
|T59||Max Sear||70-70-74—214 (2-under)|
|63||Francis Tanguay||69-73-73—215 (1-under)|
|T64||Jared du Toit||69-71-76—216 (even)|
|68||Chris Crisologo||70-68-80—218 (2-over)|
Fortinet Cup Standings
(Through Sotheby’s International Realty Canada Ontario Open)
|1||Danny Walker (U.S.)||720||Cut|
|2||Brian Carlson (U.S.)||620||T19|
|3||Wil Bateman (Canada)||597||T14|
|4||Noah Goodwin (U.S.)||520||WD|
|5||Scott Stevens (U.S.)||519||T40|
|6||Cooper Musselman (U.S.)||418||Cut|
|7||Joe Highsmith (U.S.)||404||Not Playing|
|8||Cooper Dossey (U.S.)||377||T40|
|9||Jake Knapp (U.S.)||369||T23|
|10||Trent Phillips (U.S.)||338||Not Playing|
Ryan Gerard’s last victory came in September 2021, while he was still playing for the North Carolina Tar Heels. He won the Rod Myers Invitational, defeating Maximilian Steinlechner by two strokes. As an amateur, Gerard reached as high as No. 82 in the World Amateur Golf Ranking.
Fortinet Cup points leader Danny Walker failed to make the cut this week and is in danger of losing his lead in the season-long competition. Tournament champions receive 500 points at each event and players missing the cut do not get any. Walker entered the Québec Open with 720 points. Brian Carlson (620), Wil Bateman (597), Noah Goodwin (520) and Scott Stevens (519), who also have wins this season, are the closest contenders for the $25,000 prize and Korn Ferry Tour status for 2023. Carlson is tied for 19th with 18 holes to play, while Bateman is tied for 14th and Stevens is tied for 40th. Goodwin withdrew from the tournament after the first round.
Canadian Drew Nesbitt blazed quite a trail in going from Ontario to Québec this week. He took a detour from PGA TOUR Canada to try and qualify for the PGA’s Wyndham Championship near his home in North Carolina. He and his father made the 12-hour drive on Sunday after the Sotheby’s International Realty Canada Ontario Open. Nesbitt didn’t qualify in Greensboro, so he headed back to Canada on Tuesday. His father, meanwhile, drove their car to Syracuse, New York, and picked him up at the airport for the final leg of the trip. “I was trying to play as much golf as possible,” Nesbitt said. He is tied for fourth with 18 holes to play after a 70-69-67 start that has him at 10-under and seven shots behind leader Ryan Gerard.
Brian Carlson and Sudarshan Yellamaraju were the top climbers on Saturday. Both moved up 24 positions, with rounds of 68. They’re 7-under and tied for 19th place. On the negative side, Chris Crisologo dropped 55 positions after shooting an 80. He’s 2-over and tied for 68th.
Four Monday qualifiers made the cut, including amateur Viraj Garewal. He is 9-under after 54 holes and on the first page of the leaderboard entering Sunday’s finale. “I’m trying not to force it [Sunday],” he said. “Stay in the present and just let each shot determine how I go about it.” Garewal, who began his college career at Davidson, is transferring to Santa Clara for his final season before turning pro. Chris Crawford (11-under) is another Monday qualifier in the hunt, alone in third and six shots behind Ryan Gerard. Michael Sakane (tied for 59th) and Josh Goldenberg (tied for 66th) are 2-under and 1-over, respectively.
From the Cart Path…
“It’s crazy. There are so many people out here just watching, basically, mini-tour guys hack it around. So, it’s really cool for us, especially, just seeing crowds.” — Ryan Gerard
“Good finish heading into tomorrow. I fought hard out there. It wasn’t easy for me. I’m not playing my best tee-to-green golf. But I’m salvaging, and I’m making really key putts.” — Drew Nesbitt
“I don’t need to change much. I think [Sunday] is going to be a fun day if I keep doing what I’m doing.” — Van Holmgren
“I’m just trying to give myself as many opportunities as I can because I feel good on the greens.” — Ian Holt
“I’m excited. I just have to keep staying patient out here and not make any big mistakes.” — Viraj Garewal
“I think it’s good for the sport in our province.” — Joey Savoie on the caliber of play and the support of the community watching the tournament
Third-Round Weather: Mostly sunny and hot. High of 32. Wind SSW at 8-10 kph.