PGA TOUR Canada – Grimmer’s course record 62 vaults him into lead in Arizona

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PGA TOUR Canada tee marker

LITCHFIELD PARK, Arizona—Will Grimmer opened PGA TOUR Canada’s Qualifying Tournament at The Wigwam’s Gold Course by shooting a 6-over 78. It’s usually the kind of score that can knock a player out of a chase for a playing card on the first day. Not this year. Following a 4-under 68 on day two, the former Ohio State Buckeye was 16 shots better than in his opening round, shooting a course record 10-under 62 that has him at 8-under and a stroke ahead of Blake Tomlinson. Andrew Garner and amateurs Jason Hong and Viraj Garewal, the second-round co-leaders, are two behind. Four other players are only three behind.

Even after his opening 78, Grimmer was so confident in the way he was playing that he felt he could get himself back in contention. “I walked away from that 78 saying, ‘I played great golf,’” he explained. “I just feel I’m probably swinging it the best I have in several years, and my putting has been great for the last year and a half. It just felt like once I get my irons and driver back, look out. I’m going to start shooting some low numbers.

“I walked away with the short end of the wave in the afternoon on Tuesday,” he continued. “There was nothing I could do about that, and I knew I had 54 holes to go get back in it.”

Grimmer accomplished that with a 10-birdie, no-bogey performance that saw him drain 133 feet worth of putts, and that included a missed five-footer on his opening hole of the day. “I wanted that one back,” he said. No matter. Grimmer birdied the second, fourth and fifth holes. “I was off and running.”

Tomlinson used a torrid start to his day, playing the back nine first, to get things going. After birdies on his first two holes and a par on the third, he reeled off four in succession, punctuated by a holed bunker shot on No. 15. “Yeah, I hit it too hard. Luckily the pin caught it,” he said. After he birdied No. 1 after making the turn, things cooled down for him, as he made five pars and bogeys at Nos. 4, 6 and 9.

“The putter was hot on the first nine. I was hitting the ball decent and putting myself in good spots. I cooled down on the back nine and hit a couple of wayward tee shots,” Tomlinson observed. “I just didn’t make as many putts, as many as I needed to.”

Garner has knocked three shots off of his score each of the last two days following his opening, 1-over 73. His 5-under 67 came courtesy of nothing but birdies and pars after he opened the day with a disappointing bogey-6 on the par-5 first.

Hong and Garewal remain tied but are now chasing after they both fired 2-under 70s. They went about their days differently, the final score the same but how they got there not similar. Garewal had four birdies and two bogeys, while Hong made four birdies in a row to start his round, added two more birdies but also had four bogeys.

The leaders will tee off in Friday’s final round at 1:10 p.m., MDT. Grimmer will play with Tomlinson and Garner.

Did you know Blake Tomlinson played in the 2022 Qualifying Tournament at The Wigwam? The former University of Utah star couldn’t totally recover from an opening, 5-over 77 but eventually tied for 17th, earning conditional status. Even with limited access to PGA TOUR Canada, he played in two tournaments, missing the cut at the season-opener in Victoria and also missing the weekend in Edmonton.

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 fourth 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-twenty-six players started the tournament Tuesday. Below is a breakdown of the various PGA TOUR Canada membership statuses available this week.

Finish Position Status
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 13 countries or territories: Australia, Canada, China, Costa Rica, England, Germany, Mexico, New Zealand, Northern Ireland, Puerto Rico, Sweden, Thailand and the United States.
  • In the first round, only two players (Viraj Garewal and Jack Trent) shot scores in the 60s. On day two, that number increased to nine sub-70 rounds. Thursday, 28 players posted scores in the 60s.
  • Will Grimmer said he didn’t face much adversity during his 10-under 62, but he did have a bit of a scramble at No. 17. “For whatever reason, that tree (on the left of the fairway) makes me a little uncomfortable. Today, it was not my best (drive),” he said of his tee ball that ended in the seventh fairway. From there, Grimmer hit his 8-iron, leaving his approach shot below the hole for an easy two-putt par. On No. 18, Grimmer hit his 6-iron approach from 215 yards, ensuring he would avoid the canal that lines the left side of the closing hole. He made a “super-clutch two-putt” from 45 feet for par.
  • Blake Tomlinson’s lone individual title while playing for the University of Utah came at the Thunderbird Collegiate, where he shared medalist honors with Ludvig Aberg and Albert Boneta. The trio finished at 5-under 201 at the event at nearby Papago Golf Course in Phoenix.
  • Alex Herrmann admitted he wasn’t in the middle of anything special during his third round. Playing The Wigwam’s back nine first, he made the turn at a decent 2-under. Then things heated up. On his 10th hole—No. 1—he hit his 8-iron approach on the par-5 to 20 feet and rolled in the eagle putt. Following three consecutive pars, he birdied his 14th hole, added two more pars and then stood in the left rough on his 17th hole. He had 119 yards to the pin, so he pulled a 60-degree wedge and one-hopped the approach in the cup for his second eagle of the day. “I was hoping it would land softly somewhere around the hole so I could get a good look (for birdie),” said Herrmann, who ultimately left his putter in the bag on that green.
  • On his way to 2-under 70 that has left him tied for 42nd with 18 holes to play, A.J. Ott used a hole-in-one to help his cause Thursday. On No. 11, he made his second career ace, both of them coming in competition, when his 8-iron shot from 172 yards dropped in the cup.
  • Arizona State graduate and local resident Nicolo Galletti has a lot of experience at The Wigwam through the years. After a so-so start to this week’s tournament, shooting a 2-over 74 in round one and a 77 the next day, Galletti rallied with a 6-under 66 Thursday to move up 34 places into a tie for 28th. Since turning pro, Galletti has primarily played on PGA TOUR Latinoamérica, making 44 career starts, including one appearance this season. He has made 26 cuts and recorded eight top-10 finishes. His best performance was a runner-up showing at the 2019 Center Open in Cordoba, Argentina, losing by a stroke to current Korn Ferry Tour member Tom Whitney.
  • Two amateurs did some good work Thursday and, in fact, the last two days. Joe Neuheisel opened with an 8-over 80 but has gotten progressively better each day, shooting an even-par 72 in the second round and turning in a 4-under 68 Thursday. Luke Gifford has also gotten better each day after his opening 77. He followed that with a second-round, 2-over 74 and a 3-under 69 Thursday. Both players are tied for 41st and in position to make a legitimate run at conditional status on the final day.
  • Kameron Williams also helped himself considerably after a 75-75 opening to the tournament. The Reinhardt University product posted a 4-under 68 and improved 18 scoreboard positions, into a 36th.
  • The hardest hole in the second round was the par-4 ninth, with a stroke average of 4.450. Only eight players made birdie there Thursday. The easiest hole was the par-5 14th, yielding 65 birdies and four eagles for a 4.550 cumulative average.

Twenty-six amateurs began this week. After 36 holes, 24 are still playing. The top performers are Jason Hong and VirajGarewal, at 6-under and tied for third with 18 holes remaining.

Here are all the amateurs’ results and where they stand:

Pos. Amateur Score
T3 Viraj Garewal (U.S.) 210 (-6)
T3 Jason Hong (Australia) 210 (-6)
T6 Chase Sienkiewicz (U.S.) 211 (-5)
T25 Jack Madden (U.S.) 216 (even)
T28 Jordan Lee (U.S.) 217 (+1)
T28 Roberto Nieves (Puerto Rico) 217 (+1)
T39 Peyton Callens (Canada) 219 (+3)
T41 AJ Ott (U.S.) 220 (+4)
T41 Spencer Tibbits (U.S.) 220 (+4)
T41 Luke Gifford (U.S.) 220 (+4)
T41 Joe Neuheisel (U.S.) 220 (+4)
T49 Steve Sugimoto (U.S.) 221 (+5)
T53 Colin Sikkenga (U.S.) 222 (+6)
T53 Youssef Guezzale (U.S.) 222 (+6)
T61 Carson Lundell (U.S.) 223 (+7)
T68 Hector Barnetche (Mexico) 224 (+8)
T75 Jack Boulger (U.S.) 225 (+9)
T75 Calvin McCoy (U.S.) 225 (+9)
T75 Jakob Craft (U.S.) 225 (+9)
121 Zach Lambros (U.S.) 242 (+26)
122 Kirk White (U.S.) 243 (+27)
T123 Shane Muldowney (U.S.) 245 (+29)
T127 Jackson Wolfe (U.S.) 257 (+41)
130 David Buttner (Canada) 257 (+41)
WD Colin Gibson (U.S.)  
WD Chaz Aurilia (U.S.)  

From the 19th Hole

“Ever since the back nine [Wednesday], the momentum shifted from the first day. I felt like I made a lot of long putts [Wednesday] and carried that right into today.” –Will Grimmer

“The putter is really hot. Everything breaks toward the valley, and I’ve really been using that this week. That’s made a difference on a lot of putts.” –Will Grimmer

“There is a lot to build on, and I’ll be ready for [Friday].” –Blake Tomlinson

“PGA TOUR Canada is great, and it was a great experience up there—the events I did play. Coming into pro golf it’s kind of a shock coming in.” –Blake Tomlinson

“It would be ideal. That’s what I came here to do. I’m looking forward to getting after it [Friday] because it would be awesome to have somewhere to play this summer.” –Blake Tomlinson

“It was really fun and the weather was perfect.” –Chase Sienkiewicz

“I was hitting my driver really well, and I got freed on the back nine and started hitting driver as far as I could. I knew the holes were gettable on the back with the pins.” –Chase Sienkiewicz

“Having a lot of 10-footers on the back was crucial for me because it got me into a rhythm.” –Chase Sienkiewicz

“I think today was the easiest of the three we played so far because the greens were a 28little more receptive.” –Alex Herrmann

“Two eagles on the back nine are always a big help. I’ll take them. Those were important because everybody played well today, and that kept me in the mix.” –Alex Herrmann

Third-Round Weather: Sunny and hot, with a high of 85. Wind W at 2-4 mph.

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