HOWEY-IN-THE-HILLS, Florida—Canadian Hugo Bernard and American amateur Jonathan Yaun were both surprisingly relaxed during their first 18 holes at the PGA TOUR Canada Qualifying Tournament at Mission Inn Resort and Club on Tuesday.
They both shot 6-under for the day and finished tied atop the leaderboard, two strokes ahead of the next-closest competitors, John Pak, Kyle Hogan, Brian Richey, Bryce Emory and Shunyat Hak, who are currently in a five-way tie for third.
“I came in with no stress,” said Bernard, who started his round on Mission Inn’s back nine. “I actually didn’t even know I was playing this event until Sunday, so it was all a bit crazy. I got off to a good start, was 3-under after five (holes) and then made a good birdie on 18, which is not one of the easier holes out here. Then I made an eagle to start out my back nine, and I was cruising from there.”
Both Bernard and Yaun have played this course before, which definitely factors into their comfort level. Although Yaun is still playing golf for Liberty University, he lived not far from the course, in Minneola, Florida, 30 minutes away.
“I grew up playing around here. They had the Florida State High School Championships here, which I won my senior year. I also got through three U.S. Open locals, and I was a medalist at last summer’s U.S. Amateur qualifying, so this course suits me well,” Yaun explained. “Today was just so much fun. My sister was in town this week. She lives in Germany, so I never get to see her. She was able to caddie for me today, which was spur of the moment, too. It’s been so nice to have her on the bag, and I’m definitely thankful for her. It was just a great day and I’m excited to play three more rounds.”
Five additional players are tied for eighth, at 3-under, three strokes back of the leaders.
Did you know during last year’s PGA TOUR Canada Qualifier’s at Mission Inn, Austin Hitt shot the course record of 62 in the first round before going on to win the event, finishing at 22-under? Hitt also had experience on this course, competing in a handful of prior PGA TOUR Canada and PGA TOUR Latinoamérica Q-Schools, as well as playing high school tournaments at Mission Inn.
How the Tournament Works
PGA TOUR Canada along with PGA TOUR Latinoamérica are international PGA TOUR-sanctioned tours that provide access to the Korn Ferry Tour and are part of the pathway to the PGA TOUR. Since its inception in 2013, PGA TOUR Canada has held 32 Qualifying Tournaments across the U.S. and Canada. This event is the second of six 2023 PGA TOUR Canada Qualifiers scheduled in advance of the 2023 season. Each qualifier is a 72-hole, no-cut event, with playoffs, if necessary, for the medalist position and for the 10th and final position available.
One-hundred-thirty-one players started the tournament Tuesday and, after one withdrawal, there are 130 remaining. 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|
- Players in this week’s field come from nine countries or territories: Canada, China, Hong Kong, Ireland, Japan, Slovakia, Sweden, South Korea and the United States.
- Hugo Bernard is the top Canadian in the field, tied for the lead through 18 holes. This week there are 15 players from Canada. Other Canadians firing under-par rounds on the opening day were Tyler Hull and Chase Komaromi (3-under), Thomas Giroux (2-under) and KyleChung, Brendan Seys and Johnny Travale (1-under).
- There are 21 amateurs playing this week. Leading the way is Jonathan Yaun, at 6-under. Other amateurs under-par through the first round are David Timmins and Yinho Yue (3-under), Genki Sadato (2-under) and Dongjin Park, David Nyfjall and Johnny Travale (1-under).
- There were 31 players who came in below par Tuesday. Ninety-four players finished above par, with 18 of those scoring above 80. The hardest hole of the day was the par-4 No. 3, with only five golfers recording birdies on that hole. Co-leader, Hugo Bernard had one of those birdies. The toughest three holes on the course are on the first nine holes, with the second-hardest, the par-4 seventh and the third-hardest the par-4 fifth.
- Tied for third is Florida State alumnus John Pak, who shot seven birdies (one on No. 5) and three bogeys enroute to his 4-under 68. Pak was the nation’s top collegiate golfer in 2021, first in the PGA TOUR University points list and earning immediate Korn Ferry Tour status for the 2021 season. He retained membership for 2022, playing in 16 events, but didn’t retain his card for 2023.
From the 19th Hole
“You know, I was actually a little nervous today. Not having status is a big deal, and it’s nice, because I feel like I’m out here trying to earn it just like every other guy. It’s truly a grind. There are a lot of good players that come out of this, and I think it’ll be a good learning experience for me.” – John Pak on competing for status on the PGA TOUR Canada
“I’ve never been to Canada much. I’ve driven through it once, but that’s one of the great things about doing this—we get so see different places. I’m interested to see what Canada is like.” –John Pak
First-Round Weather: Mostly cloudy in the morning giving way to a partly cloudy sky in the afternoon. High of 83. Wind WSW at 10 to 20 mph.