Yi Cao Leads by 5 Strokes at CRMC Championship

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Yi Cao Leads by Five
Yi Cao Leads by Five

Brainerd, Minnesota – In a stunning display of skill and determination, Yi Cao from China has surged to the front at the CRMC Championship presented by Gertens. With an impressive 8-under 62 on Friday, Cao now boasts a commanding five-stroke lead, standing at 12-under-par 128, solidifying his position as the player to watch at this PGA TOUR Canada event.

Cao’s Remarkable Resilience:

Yi Cao’s remarkable journey at this tournament nearly didn’t happen due to a nagging back injury. Against the odds, he not only participated but produced the tournament’s lowest round so far. Starting the week in 55th place in the Fortinet Point standings, Cao needed to make the cut to qualify for next week’s Fortinet Championship. His current form might propel him closer to a top-five finish, securing coveted status on the 2024 Korn Ferry Tour.

“I came this close to not playing this week,” Cao revealed. “I was barely able to swing my club Thursday morning. I feel terrible. I’ve never had this feeling before.”

Contenders in Pursuit:

A five-way tie for second place at 7-under includes Reid Davenport, Drew Nesbitt, Davis Shore, Mason Glinski, and Dylan Healey. Tied for seventh at 6-under are J.T. Griffin, Blake Tomlinson, Sam Jean, and Corey Shaun. Notable names like Brendan MacDougall, Gavin Hall, and first-round leader Ryan Orr are tied for 11th at 5-under.

Cao’s Stunning Round:

Starting on the back nine, Cao ignited his charge with a remarkable series of birdie-birdie-eagle, turning in an impressive 30. He continued to shine on his final nine holes, adding three more birdies to his tally. This marks his 48th career start on PGA TOUR Canada, following his victory at the 2020 Canada Life Series.

Other Strong Performances:

Dylan Healey of Tucson, Arizona, is another player worth watching. He almost gave up the game during the winter but is now poised for success with a current standing of 32, securing a spot in next week’s Fortinet Championship and aiming for a top-25 finish in the points list.

Notable Standings:

  • The cut came at even-par, the highest score of the season, with 67 players qualifying for the weekend.
  • Sam Choi, the Fortinet Cup leader, shot 67 and comfortably made the cut at 3-under.
  • Hayden Springer, last week’s Manitoba Open winner, stands at 2-under, tied for 25th.
  • Cao’s five-stroke lead after 36 holes is the largest this season, reminiscent of Parker Coody’s lead at last year’s CentrePort Canada Rail Park Manitoba Open.

Stay tuned as the competition intensifies at the CRMC Championship. This is shaping up to be a thrilling event with remarkable performances and fierce competition.

From the Locker Room… The Player’s Thoughts

  • “I came this close to not playing this week… I had no expectations. At this point, there was really nothing for me to lose.” – Yi Cao
  • “I’m just trying to trust myself… my putter warmed up today, and that was the difference.” – Dylan Healey
  • “It’s just stay patient… that’s what I’ve done.” – Reid Davenport
  • “I tried to stay patient all day… I knew good shots were coming, and I just stayed within myself.” – Drew Nesbitt
  • “This week I’ve taken a step back and said I just have to play golf… There’s no sense in getting all worked up.” – Mason Glinski

Key Information

  • The Fortinet Cup standings reveal a tight competition, with Sam Choi leading the pack.
  • Notable names like Davis Lamb, Etienne Papineau, and Stuart Macdonald faced mixed results.
  • The tournament continues to be a platform for emerging talents to shine.

Second-Round Weather: The players encountered mostly sunny conditions with a high of 88°F (31°C), with winds from the SSW at 9-12 mph (14-19 kph) and gusts reaching 23 mph (37 kph). Stay tuned for more exciting action from the CRMC Championship presented by Gertens.

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