HOWEY-IN-THE-HILLS, Florida — Americans John Pak and Jonathan Yaun continue to impress at the second PGA TOUR Canada Qualifier at Mission Inn Resort and Club’s El Campeon Course. Wednesday, Pak finished his second round with a 6-under 66, while Yaun fashioned a 4-under 68, and the duo finds itself tied for the top spot after 36 holes. They are at 10-under, holding a three-stroke advantage as they head into the third day.
Starting on No. 10, Pak made three birdies and an eagle in his first nine holes to take the pressure off as he headed into the more-difficult front nine. There, he finished with a bogey and two more birdies before shooting a string of pars to close out his round.
“I just try to keep it simple; go back to the basics,” Pak explained. “(I tried to) make sure my alignment was good with my irons and putts. It’s a long tournament, so I will try to get as much rest as I can after the rounds and keep it as simple as possible.”
Pak, the former top-ranked PGA TOUR University player and a star at Florida State, tied for the low round of the tournament, with his 66, tying Yaun from the opening round. Yaun had to switch caddies today, as his older sister, Catherine, who unexpectedly caddied for him in the opening round, had to catch a flight for her return to Germany. On Wednesday, Yaun, a current Liberty University senior, enlisted the help of his best friend, Joseph Dougherty. The two grew up together, having played a lot of golf at Mission Inn and throughout their amateur golf careers.
“I’m just having so much fun,” Yaun said. “Today went well. We stuck to the game plan, and for the most part we were able to keep it on fairways and greens. I maybe could have made a couple more putts today, but I stayed patient, and it was really cool to have [Joseph] on the bag.”
Tied for third, three strokes behind, are Americans Brian Richey and Cole Bradley, along with Canadian Thomas Giroux.
Did you know that John Pak and last week’s medalist Harry Ellis were teammates at Florida State during the 2017-2018 season? Pak was a freshmen and Ellis was a senior.
How the Tournament Works
The PGA TOUR Canada along with the 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, the PGA TOUR Canada has held 32 Qualifying Tournaments across the U.S. and Canada. This event is the second of six PGA TOUR Canada Qualifiers held for the upcoming 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 players started the tournament, with 126 remaining in the field. The third round begins at 7 a.m., Thursday on both the first and 10th tees, with the leaders teeing off in the final grouping of the day.
Below is a breakdown of the various PGA TOUR Canada membership statuses available this week.
|Medalist||Exempt membership for the 2023 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.
- Thomas Giroux is the top Canadian in the field, tied for third with three others. The other Canadians ranked in the top 10 after 36 holes: Amateur Johnny Travale and Hugo Bernard (tied for sixth)) and Brandon Lacasse (tied for eighth)
- Johnny Travale made seven birdies in the second round, finishing his back nine 4-under to jump up 17 positions on the leaderboard. He is currently 5-under after 36 holes.
- The biggest leap up the leaderboard went to Canadian Freddy D’Angelo, who shot a 6-over 78 the first day and a 4-under 68 the second. He currently is tied for 43rd.
- Thomas Giroux and Cole Bradley both climbed the leaderboard 10 positions with their 5-under 67s Wednesday. They both shot identical 2-under 70s during the first day of competition and are also—wait for it—age 23.
- There are 20 amateurs in the field, with Jonathan Yaun leading the way, at 10-under.
- With a bit less wind Wednesday, El Campeon course played a bit easier. In the second round, there were 32 golfers who shot rounds below par and 87 finished above-par, compared to 94 in the opening round.
- The hardest hole of the day was the par-3 No. 12, with only five golfers recording birdies. Co-leader John Pak had one of those birdies. The next-four toughest holes on the course are on the front nine: Nos 7, 4, 5 and 8, respectively.
Brian Richey from the 19th Hole
“I didn’t hit the ball as well today. [Tuesday], I actually hit the ball amazing, and it was pretty windy, so I was really proud of that.” – Brian Richey
“Today, I wasn’t as good on the front nine, I was kind of scraping it a little bit. It was just a super-early wake-up, and [my] body wasn’t quite going yet. But I kept it together. Then when we got to the back (nine), I played a little bit more solid tee to green and had a few (birdie) looks.” – Brian Richey
“The close ones I had, I made. Certainly after the first few holes I would have taken 3-under and probably would have just come in.” – Brian Richey
“I tend to feel a little bit better later in the afternoon. Obviously, I think most guys would say the same thing. Playing at 1 p.m., vs first thing in the morning, you know, your body’s a lot better.” – Brian Richey
Second-Round Weather: Cloudy in the morning, Mostly sunny by mid-day. High of 87. Wind WSW at 5-10 mph.