Trio share lead at tightly contested GolfBC Championship

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Of course there is golf. Here Paul McConnell from Dallas Texas tees off in the Can-OP Pro-Am.
Of course there is golf. Here Paul McConnell from Dallas Texas tees off in the Can-OP Pro-Am.

KELOWNA, British Columbia – SPORTS – There are two cuts this week at the GolfBC Championship. The first one comes, as usual, on Friday when the field of 156 is trimmed to the top-60 players and ties before the final two rounds. Then there’s the other. Only the top-60 players in the Fortinet Cup points standings qualify to play in the Fortinet Cup Championship two weeks from now as the PGA TOUR Canada season comes to an end.

That adds an extra sense of urgency to perform well in the 72-hole event at Gallagher’s Canyon Golf and Country Club.

Jordan Hahn, Luke Schniederjans and Monday qualifier Cole Madey are tied for the lead after one round of play. With 7-under 64s, they’re up by one stroke over a crowded field of contenders. Madey birdied nine holes, while Hahn and Schneiderjans each finished with seven birdies and no bogeys.

“I feel good. I had a good round today,” said Schniederjans, 37th on the points standings. “Just got to put four good ones together.”

Jake Scott, who is tied for fourth, with Brendan MacDougall, James Nicholas and Kieran Vincent, after each shot a 65, noted the importance of performing well. He considers himself on the edge of qualifying for the second stage of the Korn Ferry Tour Qualifying Tournament.

“If I can go out and win—or get a top-three—I think I still might have a chance to still get in the top 10,” Scott said. “I’d really like to play some good golf the next two weeks to make up for it. So far, so good.”

Scott had eight birdies with MacDougall, Nicholas and Vincent netting seven apiece. MacDougall had a run of five straight on holes Nos. 3-7 during his round.

The four players tied for fourth are followed by a large group at 5-under. The list of contenders includes Fortinet Cup points leader Wil Bateman, Perry Cohen, Parker Coody, Patrick Cover, James Hervol, Jimmy Jones, Davis Lamb, Derek Oland, Max Sekulic, Cameron Sisk, Noah Steele, Scott Stevens and Thomas Walsh.

Bateman is carrying the heaviest load as the frontrunner in the season-long points standings. He holds a narrow 17-point lead over last week’s winner in Minnesota, Jake Knapp. An anticipated showdown this week has been stymied a bit by a Knapp knee injury. He pulled out of the pro-am to rest after it flared up during his Tuesday practice round. It felt worse Thursday morning, but Knapp decided to stay in the tournament. He fired a 68 and is tied for 32nd after 18 holes.

Bateman, though, isn’t taking anything for granted.

“I’m not really doing too much leaderboard watching this week and seeing what the other guys are doing,” the Edmonton, Alberta, native said. “I’m just trying to focus on what I can control. If the chips fall and I end up winning the season that would be great.”

If not, he added, having some Korn Ferry Tour status would be great, too.

The winner of the GolfBC Championship receives 500 Fortinet Cup points. At the end of the season, the top Fortinet Cup pointes-getter earns 2023 Korn Ferry Tour membership and receives a $25,000 bonus and a playing spot in the 2023 RBC Canadian Open.

Did you know the last time more than one golfer led a PGA TOUR Canada event after the first round was at the ATB Classic presented by Volvo Edmonton in mid-June? Brian Carlson, John Duthie, Ian Holt, Cooper Musselman, Rhett Rasmussen and Samuel Saunders all shot 64s to lead that tournament early. Holt garnered sole possession of first place following the second round but it was Wil Bateman who eventually prevailed.

How the top Canadians fared

Twenty-four-year-old Calgary, Alberta, native Brendan MacDougall fired the best round among the 38 Canadians playing this week, including a pair of amateurs (Angelo Giantsopoulos and Ryan Vest). MacDougall is tied for fourth through 18 holes, a stroke ahead of a quartet of Canadians tied for eighth.

Pos. Player Score
T4 Brendan MacDougall 31-34—65 (6-under)
T8 Wil Bateman 33-33—66 (5-under)
T8 Jimmy Jones 32-34—66 (5-under)
T8 Max Sekulic 32-34—66 (5-under)
T8 Noah Steele 32-34—66 (5-under)
T21 Stuart Macdonald 35-32—67 (4-under)
T21 Etienne Papineau 33-34—67 (4-under)
T21 Joey Savoie 32-35—67 (4-under)
T32 Myles Creighton 33-35—68 (3-under)
T32 Jared du Toit 32-36—68 (3-under)
T47 Max Sear 37-32—69 (2-under)
T47 Riley Wheeldon 34-35—69 (2-under)
T47 Sudarshan Yellamaraju 34-35—69 (2-under)
T65 Andrew Harrison 33-37—70 (1-under)

Fortinet Cup Standings

(Through the CRMC Championship presented by Gertens) 

Rank Player Points First-Round Tournament Pos.
1 Wil Bateman (Canada) 1,031 T8
2 Jake Knapp (U.S.) 1,014 T32
3 Ryan Gerard (U.S.) 722 T32
4 Danny Walker (U.S.) 720 T32
5 Scott Stevens (U.S.) 672 T8
6 Ian Holt (U.S.) 666 T47
7 Brian Carlson (U.S.) 663 T47
8 Thomas Walsh (U.S.) 633 T8
9 Joe Highsmith (U.S.) 604 T32
10 Parker Coody (U.S.) 571 T8

Course conditions were vastly different than in recent weeks when players have contended with inclement weather It was hot, dry and firm in Thursday’s opening round at Gallagher’s Canyon Golf Club. “It honestly shocked me today coming down the last nine. I played the pro-am early [Wednesday], and I thought the course was relatively gettable and soft,” Wil Bateman said. “And then, yeah, just coming down the last couple of holes there are balls bouncing and 3-irons are going 260 (yards). So,you’ve got to do your homework.” 

Kieran Vincent of Zimbabwe had a good time with his group Thursday. He played with Myles Creighton and Joey Savoie. “It was a beautiful time,” the former Liberty University golfer said. “Just being out in Canada, playing with two Canadians, I mean it just doesn’t get better than that.” The group was a combined 13-under. Vincent opened with a 6-under 65 and is tied for fourth. Savoie shot a 67 (tied for 21st), while Creighton shot a 68 (tied for 32nd)

PGA TOUR Canada is still looking for its first two-time winner this season. After one round of the last full-field tournament of the year, Wil Bateman (ATB Classic presented by Volvo Edmonton), Parker Coody(CentrePort Canada Rail Park Manitoba Open) and Scott Stevens (Royal Beach Victoria Open presented) have the best shot through 18 holes. They’re two shots off the lead, at 5-under. Here’s where the other 2022 champions sit following 18 holes in Kelowna: Noah Goodwin (4-under), Brian Carlson (2-under), Danny Walker (3-under), Ryan Gerard (3-under) and Jake Knapp (3-under).

Canada’s Lawren Rowe withdrew from the tournament because of illness.

Former UCLA standout Cole Madey leads the Monday qualifiers after the first round. Madey is among a trio atop the leaderboard, at 7-under. Max Sekulic is in the hunt, at 5-under.

Here are the five players inside the top 60 in the Fortinet Cup standings and five currently on the outside looking in and how they performed through 18 holes.

Pos. Player Points GolfBC Championship First-Round Pos. Projected Fortinet Cup Pos.
56 Joseph Harrison 119 T65 64
57 Drew Nesbitt 118 T135 65
58 Lukas Euler 117 T111 66
59 Van Holmgren 115 Not Playing
60 Benjamin Shipp 114 T111 70
61 Alexander Herrmann 113 T47 63
62 Jackson Suber 109 T21 58
63 Brad Reeves 102 T47 71
64 Max Sear 100 T47 72
65 Blake Wagoner 97 T111 77

From the Practice Green

“I’ve just got to go out, do my thing and try to put more good ones together. Stay chill.” — Luke Schniederjans

“I feel like I’m working on the right things and working with the right people. I’m just excited to keep progressing.” — Wil Bateman

“Good vibes early are a key. That’s what golf is. If you feel good, you feel hot, you feel confident, you’re going to play better, and you are going to keep playing better.” — James Nicholas

“I just stuck to the game plan. I picked smart targets and made loose swings. So, it adds up to a great scorecard.” — Brendan MacDougall

“I kind of got stuck in neutral for an hour and a half, but I was going really fast early. So, it was a good round. I’m happy with it.” — Thomas Walsh

“My irons and wedges have been trending well, and they were pretty good today. I made a couple of putts here and there, but nothing crazy. I gave myself some opportunities and capitalized.” — Cameron Sisk 

“It’s hard not to enjoy the walk out there. I think I’m just in a good mindset this week—enjoying nature, enjoying the views. So, you go out there and enjoy it. It’s a good time.” — James Hervol 

“I really like the way (this golf course) sets up for me because I’m not a long hitter. I think it kind of neutralizes the long hitters out here. I can just piece it apart with a 3-iron off the tee, a couple of hybrids off the tee.” — Jake Scott

“This is just my kind of golf course. I know I’m not going to get a lot of shots to smoke one down the fairway. But I know I can put myself in good positions. My wedge game is as good as anybody else’s out here. I’ll just keep giving myself good looks and keep playing smart.” — Davis Lamb


First-Round Weather: Sunny and mild. High of 33. Wind N at 3-5 kph.