CALGARY, Alberta – It’s a nail-biting showdown at the Fortinet Cup Championship as Hayden Springer and Derek Hitchner, two players with very different paths, find themselves tied at the top for the second day in a row, setting the stage for an electrifying final day of golf at the Country Hills Golf Club.
Heading into the Final Day
After 54 holes of intense competition, Hayden Springer, the seasoned pro from Trophy Club, Texas, and Derek Hitchner, a rookie hailing from Minneapolis, Minnesota, stand shoulder to shoulder, sharing the lead at a scorching 18-under 195. Their impressive performance has created a commanding three-shot gap between them and the rest of the field, making the final day of the PGA TOUR Canada season a must-watch event.
“It’ll be fun to do it again tomorrow and see what happens,” says Springer, who seems to be enjoying the pressure of the moment.
What’s at Stake
The stakes couldn’t be higher. A victory for Springer would not only secure him the Fortinet Cup Championship but also catapult him to the number one position in the Fortinet Cup standings. This would guarantee him fully exempt status on the 2024 Korn Ferry Tour and a substantial $25,000 bonus. On the other hand, a win for Hitchner would likely land him among the top five in the points list, ensuring partial exemption on the Korn Ferry Tour.
“It’s really cool to be in that position,” Springer remarked. “I’m going to try to do everything that I do the exact same way I always do it.”
Hitchner added, “I’m just super grateful to be here in the first place, but also to have a chance going into tomorrow. I’m pretty sure I still need some help if I was to win just to get into the top five. Some it’s out of my control.”
Jared du Toit Chasing the Leaders
Canadian Jared du Toit has put on an impressive display, shooting a stellar 64 on Saturday to place him just three shots behind the leaders. He’s determined to give his home crowd something to cheer about and is eyeing his first win on the PGA TOUR Canada.
Tight Competition for Fourth Place
Eric Lilleboe and Alex Scott, both from the United States, share the fourth spot at 13-under, creating a tight race for a place on the leaderboard. Meanwhile, a group of talented players, including Eric McCardle, Noah Steele, Etienne Papineau, Myles Creighton, and Yi Cao, are tied for sixth at 12-under, promising intense competition in the final round.
Hayden Springer and Derek Hitchner played together for the first time on Saturday, setting the stage for another intense day of competition on Sunday. The back nine of their round was a rollercoaster, but they both managed to steady the ship and hold the lead.
Canadian Lawren Rowe had an unforgettable day with back-to-back eagles. He holed out on the par-5 15th and followed it with a hole-in-one at No. 16, his first career ace.
Fortinet Cup Standings
The top three in the Fortinet Cup points list, Sam Choi, Davis Lamb, and Étienne Papineau, may see their positions shift if Hayden Springer emerges victorious. However, they are all likely to remain in the top five and secure status on the 2024 Korn Ferry Tour.
Canadian players have made a strong showing, with four of them breaking into the top 10. Jared du Toit leads the charge, followed by Noah Steele, Etienne Papineau, and Myles Creighton. They are aiming to make their nation proud with standout performances in the final round.
Chase Sienkiewicz’s PGA TOUR Debut
Chase Sienkiewicz has received a coveted exemption into next week’s Fortinet Championship in Napa, California. This marks his first PGA TOUR event, and he’s looking forward to the challenge. Sienkiewicz will have his longtime friend, Grant Lepik, as his caddie for this momentous occasion.
Yi Cao’s Remarkable Streak
Yi Cao continues to impress with his bogey-free streak, stretching to an incredible 101 holes without a bogey. His consistency has been a highlight of the tournament.
Taylor Funk’s Rollercoaster Ride
Taylor Funk experienced a stark contrast in his performance, shooting a remarkable 63 on Friday but struggling with a 77 on Saturday. This 14-stroke differential is one of the season’s most significant fluctuations on PGA TOUR Canada.
The final day promises to be a thrilling climax to the Fortinet Cup Championship, with Springer and Hitchner locked in a head-to-head battle for glory. With so much on the line, golf fans can expect a riveting showdown.
Third-Round Weather: The weather conditions for the third round were mostly sunny and pleasant, with a high of 21°C. Winds were out of the SSW at 9-24 km/h, with gusts up to 32 km/h.