Elk Ridge Saskatchewan Open: Gagne, Pak, and Yang in the Lead

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Trio Seizes Command Heading Into Weekend

WASKESIU, Saskatchewan – Friday’s action at PGA TOUR Canada’s Elk Ridge Saskatchewan Open, brought to us by Brandt, saw Luis Gagne, John Pak, and first-round leader Gunn Yang pull ahead to share the 36-hole lead, each posting a 10-under 130.

Yang, hailing from South Korea, tacked a 3-under 67 onto his first-round 63 to match the performances of Costa Rica’s Gagne, who fired a 65, and New Jersey’s Pak, who carded a 64 at the scenic Elk Ridge Resort.

Hot on Their Heels

Just one stroke behind the leading trio, Wilson Andress of Charleston, South Carolina, Connor Howe of Ogden, Utah, Thomas Longbella of Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin, and Derek Hitchner of Minneapolis, Minnesota, are all tied for fourth at 9-under 131. They’re all in hot pursuit of the prestigious season-long Fortinet Cup.

Canada’s Pride

The Canadian contingency is led by Richard Jung of Markham, Ontario, and Ziggy Nathu of Richmond, British Columbia, who both shot 67 to tie for 17th place. Last week’s Royal Beach Victoria Open champion, Étienne Papineau of Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec, stumbled with a double bogey on his 17th hole and shot 68, relegating him to a tie for 24th.

Yang’s Putting Woes

Despite hitting approach shots close to the hole for most of the round, Yang’s push was stifled by his inability to make putts. He managed to card five birdies, but these were negated by two bogeys. Yang stated, “I just didn’t drop any putts inside, like, 10 feet… So hopefully I do well [Saturday] and get the putter going.”

Gagne’s Roller Coaster Round

Gagne, who began on the back nine, birdied six of his first ten holes, but a bogey and a double bogey temporarily derailed him. The former LSU golfer bounced back to add two more birdies, giving him eight for the day.

Pak’s Redemption

Pak, who missed the cut last week at the Royal Beach Victoria Open, redeemed himself with a clean scorecard that included six birdies. His key was solid play and good putting.

Andress Ends on a High Note

Andress, who just finished his career at Georgia Southern University, vaulted into contention with a bogey-free 64, culminating with an eagle on No. 9.

Sweeney Makes His Move

Michael Sweeney of Enfield, Connecticut, shot the low round of the day – a 7-under 63 that catapulted him up 38 spots into eighth place, at 8-under.

Fun Facts and Key Information

Did you know that John Pak, a Florida State alum, is a two-time U.S. Walker Cup participant and the 2021 Jack Nicklaus Award winner, presented to the country’s top collegiate golfer?

Also, Luis Gagne is missing his former LSU teammate and friend Carter Toms’ wedding to play this week in Saskatchewan. Gagne’s younger brother Mike is serving as his caddy this summer.

Andress, who won the Gopher Invitational during the fall of the 2022-23 season, is sharing a cabin with his former Georgia Southern teammate Ben Carr.

Finally, shooting a 63 to get onto the leaderboard, Michael Sweeney’s highlight of the second round was an eagle at the par-4 12th

Finished browsing

The Race for the Fortinet Cup

As we head into the weekend, the Fortinet Cup standings are taking shape. Canada’s Étienne Papineau holds the top spot with 500 points, despite currently tying for 24th at the Elk Ridge Saskatchewan Open. The United States’ George Kneiser and Chris Korte share second place, each with 245 points, and the latter is currently tied for ninth in the tournament. Jared du Toit, Chris Francoeur, Sam Choi, and Jason Hong are all tied for fourth with 109 points each, while Hayden Shieh, Cole Bradley, and Chase Sienkowitz hold joint eighth place with 80 points​1​.

Canadian Contenders

Out of the 28 Canadians who entered this week’s Open, 10 made the cut. Richard Jung and Ziggy Nathu lead the Canadian pack, both at 5-under and tied for 17th place. Other notable Canadian players who will be teeing it up on the weekend include Étienne Papineau, Noah Steele, Max Sear, Jared du Toit, Thomas Giroux, Marc-Olivier Plasse, Lawren Rowe, and Jimmy Jones​2​.

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