BLAINVILLE, Québec—For the second consecutive week there was a wire-to-wire winner on PGA TOUR Canada. Ryan Gerard accomplished the feat Sunday in the Québec Open at Club de Golf Le Blainvillier. The former University of North Carolina star capped off his four rounds by finishing 16-under, winning the tournament by one stroke over Thomas Walsh.
It was only the second wire-to-wire finish on PGA TOUR Canada since 2017. The other, however, came just seven days ago. Noah Goodwin won the Sotheby’s International Realty Canada Ontario Open in identical fashion.
“It was a really cool experience. I just really tried to stay patient and stay calm out there today,” Gerard said. “I knew I was leading by quite a few at one point, but I just tried to take it one shot at a time. You never know what can happen.”
Walsh managed to make things challenging for Gerard. Walsh had an eagle on No. 2 and picked three birdies in moving to 15-under overall through 11 holes. That’s when the wind picked up, and Walsh wound up playing even-par the rest of the way.
“I didn’t think catching Ryan was going to happen,” Walsh said. “I played with him [Saturday], and the kid is a stud. So, I just wanted to at least make him earn it.”
Gerard had a fairly conservative round going early on. He had birdies on No. 5 and No. 7. Difficulties came down the stretch, with bogeys on the ninth, 16th and 17th holes. It forced him to make a par on the 18th hole to avoid a playoff, which he did. It tightened the eventual margin of victory but failed to alter Gerard’s perspective.
“You just really have to lock in and stay focused on your game. You can’t worry about what anyone else is doing,” said Gerard, who shot a 73 on Sunday. “You’re just focused entirely on what you need to be doing. Everything else is a distraction.”
Before prevailing in his fourth tournament as a professional, Gerard missed the cut at the Osprey Valley Open presented by Votorantim Cimentos – CBM Aggregates. He tied for 26th at the Sotheby’s International Realty Canada Ontario Open last week and finished in an 18th-place tie at the Prince Edward Island Open. The 23-year-old from Raleigh, North Carolina, earned conditional status with a 15th-place finish at the Qualifying Tournament in Weston, Florida, in February.
Gerard credits his victory here to playing three solid rounds to give himself a big enough lead going into Sunday.
“I managed my game really well this week,” he said. “I didn’t throw shots away. I hit the shots where I needed to. I struck it well. I kept it on the proper side of the hole. That allowed me to stay aggressive when I was hitting putts and not letting anything get away from me. I think that was probably the biggest key.”
Everything else, he continued, just lined up.
“And sometimes it’s your week and you win,” Gerard added.
There was a three-way tie for third. Jeffrey Kang, Jake Knapp and Travis Trace all finished at 13-under. Knapp had the best round of the day. He shot a 65 and moved up the leaderboard with eight birdies, including seven on the first 12 holes.
“It’s always nice to get off to a good start,” said Knapp, who felt he played well all week but just didn’t score well. “It felt good to have some putts fall and hit some shots a little closer today.”
PGA TOUR Canada takes a break next week. It resumes Aug. 18-21 in Winnipeg with the CentrePort Canada Rail Park Manitoba Open at the Southwood Golf and Country Club.
Did you know Québec Open champion Ryan Gerard made four NCAA tournament appearances for the University of North Carolina and was a two-time All-American?
How the top Canadians fared
Sudarshan Yellamaraju, who was born in Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh, India, but is a Canadian citizen, finished sixth overall at 12-under to lead all Canadians.
|Jared du Toit
Fortinet Cup Standings
(*Please note: As of Sunday evening, the official standings haven’t updated. These are still the previous standings through Sotheby’s International Realty Canada Ontario Open.)
|Danny Walker (U.S.)
|Brian Carlson (U.S.)
|Wil Bateman (Canada)
|Noah Goodwin (U.S.)
|Scott Stevens (U.S.)
|Cooper Musselman (U.S.)
|Joe Highsmith (U.S.)
|Cooper Dossey (U.S.)
|Jake Knapp (U.S.)
|Trent Phillips (U.S.)
Thomas Walsh took a break from the Korn Ferry Tour to “rehaul” his game after playing in 17 tournaments. The University of Virginia alum opted to play in two PGA TOUR Canada events as part of the process and came in second twice, finishing as a runner-up at both the Sotheby’s International Realty Canada Ontario Open and the Quebec Open. “I’ve really worked hard, and to go second-second sucks because it feels like I’m always the bridesmaid,” Walsh said. “But I think it shows I’m going in the right direction.”
Canadian Max Gilbert played in his first PGA TOUR Canada tournament since his one appearance in 2019. He made it a good one. Gilbert took full advantage of his sponsor’s exemption and went on to tie for 19th this week, shooting a final-round 69 to shoot up 14 leaderboard positions. His top-20 finishes earn him an invite into the next tournament, the CentrePort Canada Rail Park Manitoba Open the week after next in Winnipeg, Manitoba.
Amateur Viraj Garewal entered this week as a Monday qualifier and automatically earned a playing spot in the CentrePort Canada Rail Park Manitoba Open. Despite shooting a 1-over 73 Sunday, Garewal tied for 19th, a top-20 showing getting him another start.
Monday qualifiers Viraj Garewal (8-under) and Chris Crawford (7-under) finished in ties for 19th and 24th, respectively. Michael Sakane (3-under) and Josh Goldenberg (4-over) were the others to make the cut. This season, 13 of 48 qualifiers (27 percent) advanced to weekend play.
Viraj Garewal, a former Davidson College golfer who has already graduated and is transferring to Santa Clara University to work on his master’s degree, has the best finish by an amateur this season, his tie for 19th bettering the tie for 31st turned in by Youssef Guezzale in the season-opening Royal Beach Victoria Open.
This was Canadian Sudarshan Yellamaraju’s fourth start of the season. After missing two cuts and tying for 51st at TPC Toronto at Osprey Valley two weeks ago, Yellamaraju came up big this week. After opening with an even-par 72, he reeled off three consecutive rounds in the 60s, including a final-round 67, to finish solo sixth.
Van Holmgren has made four of five cuts in his rookie PGA TOUR Canada year season. He played on the weekend again this week, and finally broke through with his first career top-10. Holmgren posted a tie for seventh with three others, shooting a final-round, 2-under 70.
The top mover on Sunday was Keller Harper, who moved up 33 positions, with a 6-under 66 to finish at 6-under overall and tied for 31st. Brett Bennett (10-under) climbed 29 positions with a 66 and a tie for 11th overall. Cooper Dossey (9-under) shot a 67, finishing in a tie for 13th after improving his position by 27 spots. On the other side of the spectrum, Chandler Eaton fell 31 spots with a 77 to finish 2-under and in a tie for 50th.
The Players comment from the 19th Hole…
“I hit some squirrelly shots toward the end. The ball just started going really far, and I’m just happy to scrape by with a win.” — Ryan Gerard
“We practice for these situations. I would have taken myself against a lot of people trying to make par there on 18.” — Ryan Gerard on needing par the 72nd hole to win
“I hit it in the fairway. From there I knew I could take care of it, just try to make sure I make a smart shot and keep it underneath the hole. I made it as easy as possible.” — Ryan Gerard on how he played his 72nd hole of the week
“I’ve been playing college golf for the last few years. It’s the same thing when you’re trying to win out there. You just really have to lock in and stay focused on your game. You can’t worry about what anybody else is doing.” — Ryan Gerard
“It got tough on the back nine. The wind definitely picked up.” — Jake Knapp
“I didn’t shy away from anything. I hit what I was supposed to, and I hit good shots — Thomas Walsh
“I’m happy with the week. It was fun to play at home. It was pretty intense. So, yeah, I’m happy with the week overall.” — Joey Savoie
Final-Round Weather: Mostly cloudy and warm. High of 30. Wind SSW at 13-16 kph.