WESTON, Florida — American Eric Beringer knew he needed to come out and play aggressive this week. With his upcoming wedding planned for June, he told himself he needed to win this first PGA TOUR Canada Qualifying Tournament, so he could clinch guaranteed starts for the upcoming season.
“Usually I come into these (Q-Schools) and just focus on getting off to a solid start, make everything pretty simple,” Beringer reflected after his round. “My mindset was a bit different. I was a little more aggressive coming out of the gate. I hit it so well that I didn’t really have to make too many crazy putts today. I think I hit every single green in regulation, which has only happened to me a handful of times in my career.”
On a couple of his last holes this morning during the first round at The Club at Weston Hills, Beringer nearly didn’t have to putt at all. He came within a couple of feet of the hole with his approach on No. 15, which he easily sunk for birdie. Then on No. 18, he hit the flag, with the ball nearly dropping in the hole for eagle. He tapped that in for his eighth birdie of the round, finishing with an 8-under 64 on the day to lead his closest competitor, Mexico’s Luis Gerardo Garza, by three strokes.
Garza teed off in the afternoon wave not knowing what Beringer had shot or where the current leader stood. Garza currently has PGA TOUR Latinoamérica membership and has played in all three of the events in the 2022 portion of the wraparound schedule, making one cut, tying for 41st at the Scotia Wealth Management Chile Open presented by Volvo in December.
“I tried to look at the scores before I went out, but I didn’t have time to find them. So, I just tried to play my best and see what happened at the end of the day,” Garza said following his 5-under first round. “I just tried to play pretty smart, give myself chances and not try to do anything crazy. I was able to make some putts that really helped.”
Two Americans—Donnie Trosper and Brayden Garrison—are tied for third, at 4-under 68. Garrison played in seven PGA TOUR Canada events in 2022, closing the year 82nd in the Fortinet Cup standings.
Did you know Eric Beringer didn’t start playing professional golf until his late 20s? He initially started working for his family’s business as a financial-services consultant.
How the Tournament Works
One-hundred-thirty-one players started the tournament Tuesday, and all remain in the field for Wednesday’s second round. Below is a breakdown of the various PGA TOUR Canada membership statuses available this week.
|Medalist||Exempt membership for the 2022-23 season|
|2nd through 10th (no ties)
|Exempt through the reshuffle, which will occur approximately halfway through the season|
|11th through 30th (plus ties)||Conditional membership|
- This is a 72-hole, no-cut event. There will be playoffs, if necessary, for the medalist position and for the 10th and final position available.
- Since turning pro, more than a decade ago, Eric Beringer has played on the Korn Ferry Tour and seen action on a number of the PGA TOUR’s Pathway Tours, namely PGA TOUR Series-China and PGA TOUR Latinoamérica. However, he has never played on the PGA TOUR Canada. Now, at age 38, he is the second-oldest player in this field (two months younger than Wesley Modica).
- Players in this week’s field come from nine countries or territories: Canada, China, Ecuador, England, France, Japan, Mexico, Sweden and the United States.
- Nicholas Marchese and Dom Lalonde lead the way of the eight Canadians playing this week. They are currently both tied for 25th, at even-par 72.
- Max Theodorakis of the United States had an adventure in his opening nine holes. After a par-bogey-par start, he made back-to-back birdies, starting at No. 4. He followed that stretch with a pair of double bogeys before closing par-par for a 3-over 39. He did well to finish even par by firing a 3-under 33—courtesy of four birdies and a bogey—over his final nine holes. Theodorakis is tied for 25th.
- There are 23 amateurs playing this week. Leading the way after the first day is American Sam Jean, who finished 3-under and is tied for fifth with four professionals.
- There were only 33 players who came in below par in the opening round. Ninety players finished above par, with 20 of those scoring above 80. The hardest hole of the day was the par-3 No. 5, with 10 golfers recording double bogeys or higher there.
The Players Chip in!
“It was probably one of the better ball-striking rounds of my life to be honest with you.” –Eric Beringer on his bogey-free first round.
“I live 40 minutes away from this course, and this is the second Q-school that I’ve played here. I did the (PGA TOUR) Latinoamérica Qualifying Tournament a few years ago and got through, so I feel pretty comfortable here.” –Eric Beringer
“Last May, The Club at Weston Hills put new greens in, so they are firm. Everything else seems pretty wet and soft, so it’s nice to have shots that you can have release. It’s a little different than everywhere else because they just renovated.” – Eric Beringer on the course renovations playing to his style.
“I would be really happy. I’ve never been to Canada and it would be a nice experience. Being able to go to different places and play different courses with different and conditions is exciting.” – Luis Gerardo Garza on the prospect of playing on the PGA TOUR Canada
First-Round Weather: Sunshine along with some cloudy intervals. High of 88. Wind SE at 10-20 mph.