SAN JACINTO, California — Opening the third round tied for the lead, Kyle Karazissis slowly pulled away from the pack, and after an eight-birdie, one-bogey 65, Karazissis, at 16-under overall, holds a four-shot advantage over Charlie Reiter and is six strokes clear of Tyler Falk with 18 holes remaining in the PGA TOUR Canada Qualifying Tournament at Soboba Springs Golf Course.
Karazissis began separating himself from the field on the strength of two birdie binges. The first came at holes 5, 6 and 7, and then he also began his back nine with consecutive birdies, at the 10th, 11th and 12th holes. By that time, he extended his lead to five strokes over Reiter. His birdie putts at the 10th and 11th were eight inches and six inches, respectively. He made an eight-footer at the 12th for the last birdie of the streak.
“I hit it really good, which always makes it fun. I had quite a few tap-ins for birdies since I was hitting my wedges close. I really played solid through and through,” Karazissis noted. His only stumble came at the 14th, a bogey the result of a three-putt. “It was a little disappointing, but I didn’t really let it get to me.”
On his next hole, Karazissis hit a 3-wood, second-shot approach on the par-5, with the ball plugging in the face of the bunker.
“I blasted a 9-iron, and it flew just onto the front edge of the green and rolled out to 10 feet. I was able to make that one. That was great to get the momentum right back after the bogey,” he added.
Reiter did his part to get into contention after he began the tournament with a pair of 70s, leaving him tied for ninth when the day began. His birdies during his bogey-free round came at Nos. 1, 4, 5, 6, 7. 11, 15 and 18, his 64 earning him a share of low-round-of-the-tournament honors with Josh McCarthy.
“Things are looking up in the swing, I got off to a quick start and played steady down the stretch,” Reiter said.
Even with a birdie on the finishing hole, Reiter talked about his birdie on No. 11 as pivotal. Facing a 12-foot downhill “slider,” with six feet of break, he rolled it in. “That jumpstarted me on the back nine,” Reiter explained.
Even the colder Southern California weather really didn’t bother Reiter. “Funny enough, the last three months it’s been rainy and cold in San Diego, so I’m used to it. It didn’t really affect too much. I just went out and played,” he added.
“That was interesting,” Karazissis said of the cooler temperatures. “The contrast between the first day and today was totally different. All these guys out here are good at adjusting the whatever conditions we have. [The weather] is just another factor we have to take in.”
Did you know Charlie Reiter won the prestigious California Amateur? In 2022, he made it into match play tied for 28th in the 153-player field in Palm Desert. From there, he got hot. Reiter won his first three matches, none of them ever reaching the 18th hole. In the semifinals, he survived a 1-up victory over stroke-play medalist Kuanga Chen. In the 36-hole championship match, Reiter coasted to a 5-and-4 win over Kevin Huff.
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-thirty players started the tournament Tuesday, with 125 still remaining. 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 13 countries or territories: Australia, Canada, China, Chinese Taipei, England, Finland, Japan, Mexico, South Africa, South Korea, Sweden, Switzerland and the United States.
- Philip Barbaree made an impressive move Thursday, shooting a 6-under 66 to go from a tie for 35th when the day began into a tie for 10th. Barbaree, who has made five career PGA TOUR Canada starts and four on the Korn Ferry Tour, posted five birdies and an eagle-3 at No. 12 to go with one bogey, at the eighth hole.
- After playing in the 2022 U.S. Amateur and the U.S. Open, Charlie Reiter turned pro after graduating from the University of San Diego in June of last year. Reiter has four PGA TOUR starts to his credit, all coming while he was an amateur. He played in The American Express in Palm Springs three different times, and qualified for the U.S. Open, where he missed the cut at The Country Club in Brookline, Massachusetts.
- With a four-stroke improvement each day since his opening, 1-over 73, Devon Bling is in solid position to earn his membership card Friday. In the second round, Bling, who played college golf at UCLA, fired a 3-under 69. He followed that with a 65 Thursday, a seven-birdie performance during his bogey-free round. Bling is tied with Austen Christiansen and Jordan Costello in fourth place.
- After playing the first two rounds together, Jack Avrit, Jake Vincent and Finigan Tilly ended up in the same group for the third round. The trio all sat at 1-under through 36 holes. Vincent, the 2022 medalist at this Qualifying Tournament, stumbled to an 80 and fell 51 positions on the leaderboard, into a tie for 86th. Tilly is tied for 32nd, thanks to his 68-71 last two rounds, while Avrit posted his second consecutive 71 and is also tied for 32nd.
- The high temperature at Soboba Springs Golf Course on Thursday was 58 degrees, the coldest day of the three tournament days this week. By contrast, in Kitchener, Ontario, site of the last official PGA TOUR Canada tournament, the 2022 Fortinet Cup Championship, it was 80 degrees there.
- First-round leader Josh McCarthy came back in a strong way in the third round, following his disappointing, 4-over 76 after he opened with a 64. McCarthy, the former Pepperdine collegian, shot a 4-under 68, and he will enter the final round tied for seventh.
- Mitchell Schow is another PGA TOUR Canada veteran looking to regain status. He went a long way in doing that Thursday. Schow, who played collegiately at the University of Utah, shot a third-round 66, seven shots better his two 73s. Schow has made 11 career PGA TOUR Canada starts, including nine a year ago—when he finished 89th in the Fortinet Cup standings. Schow’s career best finish is a tie for 14th at the 2022 CentrePort Canada Rail Park Manitoba Open.
- Of the five Canadians still playing, Max Sekulic remains the top performer. He recorded his second consecutive, even-par 72 and is tied for 33rd with 18 holes to play.
There were 28 amateurs in the field, with 27 still playing this week. Here are all the amateurs’ results and where they stand through 54 holes:
|T10||Nathan Cogswell (U.S.)||209 (-7)|
|T18||Michael Siesinski (U.S.)||212 (-4)|
|T32||Kento Yamawaki (Japan)||214 (-2)|
|40||Kyle Maspat (U.S.)||215 (-1)|
|T46||Lingkun Kong (China)||217 (+1)|
|T46||Evan Kawai (U.S.)||217 (+1)|
|T52||Dylan Ellis (U.S.)||218 (+2)|
|T52||Michael Padilla (U.S.)||218 (+2)|
|T52||Grant Engle (U.S.)||218 (+2)|
|T64||Connor Asarch (U.S.)||220 (+4)|
|T71||Alexander Bottrell||221 (+7)|
|T71||Adam Matteson (U.S.)||221 (+7)|
|T71||Tanner Johnson (U.S.)||221 (+7)|
|T71||Beau Forest (U.S.)||221 (+7)|
|T71||Raymond Kim (U.S.)||221 (+7)|
|T91||William Kelly (U.S.)||224 (+8)|
|T93||Evan Peterson (U.S.)||225 (+9)|
|T93||Brian Ghim (South Korea)||225 (+9)|
|T99||Ming Yeh Lin (Chinese Taipei)||227 (+11)|
|T99||Jordan Brajcich (U.S.)||227 (+11)|
|T105||Trevor LaSalle (U.S.)||231 (+15)|
|T107||Arthur Thompson II (U.S.)||232 (+16)|
|T115||Calvin Green (U.S.)||235 (+19)|
|T119||Cortland Benner (U.S.)||239 (+23)|
|121||Pierre Joubert (South Africa)||241 (+25)|
|T123||Thomas Lee (U.S.)||244 (+28)|
|125||Pulin Ren (China)||246 (+30)|
|WD||Joey Matulich (U.S.)|
From the locker room
“It was my best shot of the day.” –Kyle Karazissis of his blast from the bunker on No. 15 that gave him a realistic birdie opportunity he capitalized on.
“I tried not to pay attention to it. I know they made a couple of birdies early, but I really didn’t know where they were at, honestly. I wasn’t really sure how it was going. I’m trying to keep myself from thinking about what it will be like this summer, and what I’m going to do. I’ll worry about that when it comes and see how it shakes out after 18 [Friday].” –Kyle Karazissis
“I’ve played here enough to know what you need to do on the course. It will be the same gameplan as today. Obviously, it worked. Nerves will be there. That’s just the way it is. You have to take it and run with it.” –Charlie Reiter on what he expects to feel in Friday’s final round
Second-Round Weather: Mostly cloudy and cool. High of 58. Wind SSW at 7-9 mph.