PGA TOUR Canada Sizzling Rounds Friday See George Kneiser Hold The Lead

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Golf

VICTORIA – Sports – it’s heating up in Victoria! Our first-round leader, George Kneiser, is continuing to bring the fire, putting down a 4-under 66, and maintaining a one-shot lead as we’re halfway through the Royal Beach Victoria Open. A tournament that’s got everyone on the edge of their seats, presented by Times Colonist​1​.

Hailing from Oconomowoc, Wisconsin, Kneiser kicked things off with an impressive career-low 62 at the Uplands Golf Club on Thursday. Now, he’s sitting pretty at 12-under as we start the 10-week season of the PGA TOUR Canada. The heat’s on with a one-stroke advantage over Canadian Étienne Papineau and Chris Korte, who both brought their A-game, shooting second-round 5-under 65s. They’re making a stand at 129 in their quest for the coveted Fortinet Cup​2​.

This 128 total, folks, is a career-best 36-hole score for Kneiser. That’s right, this is the first time he’s been at the helm going into the weekend. When asked about his performance, Kneiser said, “It feels solid. Today was a tougher day on the golf course compared to the morning wave [Thursday]. I feel like I played probably just as well or close to it. So, it feels good”​3​.

Onto our Canadian pride, Papineau, hailing from Mercier, Quebec. He started his round by sinking a 40-foot birdie putt on the first hole and cruised through with a stress-free 65. After kicking off the tournament with a 64, which matches his lowest score on PGA TOUR Canada, he’s sitting at a career-best 36-hole start of 129. This man came fifth at the Royal Beach Victoria Open last year and finished 20th in the Fortinet Cup standings in 2022, so keep your eyes on him, folks​4​.

Now, let’s talk about Korte from Littleton, Colorado. He was neck and neck for the lead going into the final hole, but alas, a three-putt for a bogey saw him slip into the second place. But here’s a fun fact, he’s carried his own bag for the first two rounds and is on the lookout for a caddie for the weekend. It’s the driver that’s making the difference for Korte, getting him pretty close on a couple of drivable par-4s and even brought him an eagle bonus​5​.

Tied for the fourth spot, at 9-under 131, we have Stephen Franken, Jason Hong, and Chris Francoeur. Franken, who began with a 69, turned up the heat on the second nine and made the turn in 30. The highlight? His seventh hole, No. 16, when he nearly holed out from a greenside bunker for an eagle. That’s right, an eagle! He pulled in three more birdies on the final nine to shoot 62 – his best round in 13 PGA TOUR Canada starts, and catapulted up 52 leaderboard spots​6​.

Sharing the seventh spot at 8-under 132 are Canadian Brendan Leonard of Cambridge, Ontario, Brian Carlson of Madison, Connecticut, and Hayden Shieh of Fremont, Calif., who each showed their mettle through two rounds of 4-under 66 each​7​.

Meanwhile, Corey Shaun from Downers Grove, Illinois, after his first-round 72, came back strong with a 7-under 63 in the morning wave.

In an electrifying display of golf, George Kneiser has remained sizzling hot, leading the scoreboard at the Royal Beach Victoria Open, presented by Times Colonist. Kneiser chalked up an impressive 4-under 66, maintaining a slim one-shot lead at the halfway mark of the tournament. The Wisconsinite, who kicked off the event with a career-best 62 at the Uplands Golf Club, now stands at 12-under in the opening event of the PGA TOUR Canada’s 10-week season. He’s a hair’s breadth ahead of Canadian Étienne Papineau and Chris Korte, both of whom scored second-round 5-under 65s, gunning for the coveted Fortinet Cup​1​.

Kneiser’s total of 128 is a career-best for a 36-hole score, and it’s the first time he’s held the lead going into the weekend. He reported feeling solid and commented on the tougher conditions on the course compared to the previous day. However, he felt his play was just as strong or possibly even stronger. He scored his first bogey of the week on the second hole, quickly countering with a birdie, and followed up with four more birdies on his way to his 66 score​4​.

Papineau, hailing from Mercier, Quebec, had a stellar start to his round with a 40-foot birdie putt on the first hole. His performance was consistently strong, resulting in a rather stress-free 65. He had kicked off the tournament with a 64, matching his lowest score on PGA TOUR Canada. His total of 129 is the best 36-hole start of his career, showing promising signs for the rest of the season​5​.

Chris Korte from Littleton, Colorado, was neck and neck for the lead going into the final hole but dropped to second place after a three-putt bogey. Korte, who has been carrying his own bag for the first two rounds, mentioned he’ll be on the lookout for a caddie for the weekend​6​.

Three players, Stephen Franken, Jason Hong, and Chris Francoeur, are hot on the heels of the leaders, tied for fourth place at 9-under 131. Franken, who opened with a 69, made a significant leap up 52 leaderboard spots, thanks to his best round in 13 PGA TOUR Canada starts. The former North Carolina State standout credited recent work on his distance control for his strong showing. Jason Hong, making his professional debut, added a 64 to his first-round 67, indicating that he’s a player to watch. Francoeur, despite a few stumbles that slowed his momentum, remains a contender​7​.

In other news, tied for seventh at 8-under 132 are Canadian Brendan Leonard, Brian Carlson, and Hayden Shieh, each having shot two rounds of 4-under 66. The cut came at 2-under 138 with 65 players advancing to the weekend, including 11 Canadians. Notably, Étienne Papineau leads the Canadian contingent with an 11-under 129​10​.

One player who made a significant leap on the leaderboard was Corey Shaun. The Illinois native followed his first-round 72 with a 7-under 63, moving up a whopping 98 spots on the leaderboard to tie for 20th. This is a promising show from Shaun, who has only one other career PGA TOUR Canada start under his belt but had a successful stint on the Forme Tour in 2021, which earned him 2022 Korn

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