SHERWOOD PARK, Alberta—Listen up, golf fans, because boy, do we have a story for you! Carr Vernon shot the lowest round of the year on the PGA TOUR Canada today, seizing the lead on day one of the ATB Classic.
Hailing from Poplar Bluff, Missouri, Vernon opened with a scorching 9-under 63 on the Northern Bear Golf Club. That’s not just a career low in Vernon’s 66 rounds, folks. He’s also outdone every other score of the season relative to par.
Carr Vernon: “I’m taking what I can get.”
“I felt good coming into this week,” Vernon shared. “I hadn’t putted that well in the last couple weeks, but today I made a lot of putts. It’s one of those days for sure, and I’m taking what I can get.”
The Pursuit of the Season-Long Fortinet Cup
But let’s not forget about Monday’s qualifier, Davis Lamb, of Bethesda, Maryland. The man had two eagles on his card and shot a career-low, 8-under 64. And how about that three-way tie for third at 7-under 65? We’ve got Noah Steele of Kingston, Ontario, Nicolo Galletti of Berkeley, California, and Hayden Shieh of Fremont, California, all giving their best shots.
We’ve also got a five-way tie for fifth at 6-under 66, featuring Derek Hitchner, Thomas Longbella, Tyler Strafaci, Australian Jack Trent, and Devon Bling. All eyes are on them as they chase the season-long Fortinet Cup.
The Clash of the Titans
Vernon, who sharpened his skills at California State-Monterey Bay, birdied the first two holes and the last two holes of his first nine to shoot a stellar 32. Not to be outdone, Lamb, an alum of Notre Dame, eagled his first hole and his seventh, shooting an incredible 29 on the first nine.
Shieh and Hitchner, sharing a group, drew energy from each other. Shieh clocked in one eagle, six birdies, and one bogey, while Hitchner notched six birdies. The duo only birdied the same hole once, but their best-ball round would have been a whopping 13-under.
The Fortinet Cup Standings and Key Stats
Here’s where things stand in the Fortinet Cup through the Elk Ridge Saskatchewan Open presented by Brandt. Étienne Papineau of Canada holds the top spot, but the competition is heating up. Twenty-eight Canadians are vying for the top spot at the ATB Classic, with Noah Steele leading the pack at 7-under, just two strokes off the lead.
Carr Vernon, who qualified for PGA TOUR Canada by tying for second at the final Q-School, is certainly making a name for himself. Zihao Jin of China caused quite a stir by making the first albatross on PGA TOUR Canada since 2019.
A Day of Firsts and Fast Facts
Charlie Reiter, known for his long hits, managed three birdies and an eagle on his round, despite a pair of bogeys on the back nine. Thomas Longbella had a rocky start but turned it around with a wedge from 152 yards that landed him a birdie.
Noah Steele made an “accidental” eagle on the 10th hole, while Etienne Papineau, the current Fortinet Cup points leader, shot a 2-under 70 after a triple bogey and a bogey. John Pak, last week# Vernon Scorches the Fairway, Secures Early Lead at ATB Classic
From the picturesque landscapes of Sherwood Park, Alberta, rises a new golf champion in the making.
Emerging from Poplar Bluff, Missouri, Carr Vernon made waves on the PGA TOUR Canada this Thursday, delivering the year’s lowest round and bagging a one-shot lead on the inaugural day of the ATB Classic. His stunning 9-under 63 at the Northern Bear Golf Club stands as a career and season best, outshining his previous 66 rounds.
Vernon remarked, “I felt good coming into this week, despite not playing my best last week. The place felt right, and the putts finally started dropping. It’s one of those days for sure, and I’m taking what I can get.”
Emerging Stars Shine Bright
The competition was fierce with Monday qualifier Davis Lamb from Bethesda, Maryland, showcasing two eagles and shooting a career-low, 8-under 64. Joining him in a third-place tie at 7-under 65 were Canadian Noah Steele of Kingston, Ontario, Nicolo Galletti of Berkeley, California, and Hayden Shieh of Fremont, California.
The quest for the season-long Fortinet Cup also heated up with a five-way tie for fifth place at 6-under 66 featuring players such as Derek Hitchner of Minneapolis, Minnesota, and Tyler Strafaci of Miami, Florida.
The Vernon Show: A Display of Precision and Skill
Vernon, an alumnus of California State-Monterey Bay, started strong, nailing birdies on the first two and last two holes of his first nine. A birdie at No. 10 set the stage for four consecutive ones from No. 13-16, all without a single bogey. Vernon added, “Not all of them you expect to make, a couple of them from 30 feet-plus, so it’s definitely nice to have them.”
Golf Highs: Lamb’s Eagles and Shieh’s Hat
Lamb, a former player at Notre Dame, kicked off his first hole (No. 10) with a chip-in from the right side and followed with an eagle at the 404-yard par-4 16th, holing out from 86 yards. He remarked, “we knew we had something going, and it was important to keep it going the rest of the day.”
Shieh, donning a Masters hat on the Jack Nicklaus-designed venue, and Hitchner, playing in the same group, fed off each other’s energy. Their best-ball round would have been a whopping 13-under. Shieh commented, “It’s fun when two guys are playing alright. Keep it as calm as you can, and good things can happen.”
The Tour’s Lesser-Known Facts
Did you know that Nicolo Galletti, currently tied for third, roomed with Jon Rahm at Arizona State University? His father, an Italian native, later became a prominent fashion designer in America.
Key Standings and Performances
The current Fortinet Cup standings have Étienne Papineau of Canada leading with 517 points, followed closely by John Pak of the United States with 500 points.
Twenty-eight Canadians are participating this week at the ATB Classic, with Noah Steele being the top performer after the first round. The opening round also saw the first albatross on PGA TOUR Canada since 2019, courtesy of Zihao Jin of China.