Three players at 9-under take two-shot advantage
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Written by PGA TOUR Canada Staff @PGATOURCanada
SAN JACINTO, California—Kyle Karazissis, Jordan Costello and Tyler Falk have each opened the PGA TOUR Canada Qualifying Tournament at Soboba Springs Golf Course with two rounds in the 60s, and they will take the lead into the final 36 holes. At 9-under, they are two shots ahead of Gunn Yang, Ryann Ree and Perry Cohen. Jonathan Walters is alone in seventh but only three behind. Cooler weather is expected to hit Southern California on Thursday after players enjoyed ideal conditions for the first two rounds.
Of the trio of leaders, Karazissis and Falk have never held any PGA TOUR-affiliated Tour status, while Costello is a current PGA TOUR Latinoamerica member. Karazissis was the first to post 9-under despite enduring a slow start to his day. His malaise lasted through his 12th hole. He was 1-over for the day, a disappointment considering he shot a 6-under 66 Tuesday afternoon and then teed off early Wednesday taking momentum with him.
“They were pretty opposite rounds, really. [Tuesday] felt extremely stress-free. I was hitting it really well with the exception of one hole. I didn’t have a par putt that I really needed to mark, just a couple of four-footers,” explained Karazissis of what he felt was a walk in the park in his opening 18. “Today, I was hitting it very poorly on the front nine but was able to find something on the back, and a couple of putts were fortunately able to go in.” Those “couple” actually came on four of his last six holes.
On his 13th, No. 4 at Soboba Springs, Karazissis hit his pitching-wedge tee shot on the par-3 to 18 inches. On the succeeding par-5, he chipped to 10 feet from a greenside bunker and made that putt. He followed that with a two-putt birdie on the next hole, also a par-5. “I was able to take advantage of that stretch today. To make a couple of birdies in a row there can get you rolling,” he continued.
Costello has matched Karazissis’ 66-69 start, all three of his bogeys coming on his opening nine, with five of his six birdies on his back nine.
Falk said he made some equipment changes, and he says he’s beginning to trust the clubs he’s holding in his hands. “I’m starting to blend things together based on changes made earlier this year,” said Falk, who is the head men’s and women’s golf coach at Bushnell University in Eugene, Oregon. Falk was bogey-free in the second round, with five birdies.
“I just settled in and started to roll some putts in that gave me some confidence going forward,” he said.
Twelve players are tied for ninth, at 4-under.
Did you know Gunn Yang won the 2014 U.S. Amateur, defeating Corey Conners, 2 and 1 in what turned out to be the 35-hole final? At the Atlanta Athletic Club in the Atlanta suburb of Johns Creek, Yang took down Seth Reeves, Paul Howard, Ollie Schniederjans and Cameron Young to reach the semifinals. He then defeated Fred Wedel in 19 holes before winning the title by defeating Conners. The triumph led to invitations for Yang to the Masters Tournament, the U.S. Open and The Open Championship, as well as five other PGA TOUR tournaments. Yang’s only made cut came at Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth at the Charles Schwab Challenge—a tie for 65th.
How the Tournament Works
PGA TOUR Canada, along with PGA TOUR Latinoamérica, are international PGA TOUR-sanctioned tours that provide access to the Korn Ferry Tour and are part of the pathway to the PGA TOUR. Since its inception in 2013, PGA TOUR Canada has held 32 Qualifying Tournaments across the U.S. and Canada. This event is the fourth of six 2023 PGA TOUR Canada Qualifiers scheduled in advance of the 2023 season. Each qualifier is a 72-hole, no-cut event, with playoffs, if necessary, for the medalist position and for the 10th and final position available.
One-hundred-thirty players started the tournament Tuesday, with 127 still remaining. Below is a breakdown of the various PGA TOUR Canada membership statuses available this week.
|Medalist||Exempt membership for the 2023 season|
|2nd through 10th (no ties)||Exempt through the reshuffle, which will occur approximately halfway through the season|
|11th through 30th (plus ties)||Conditional membership|
Players in this week’s field come from 13 countries or territories: Australia, Canada, China, Chinese Taipei, England, Finland, Japan, Mexico, South Africa, South Korea, Sweden, Switzerland and the United States.
• As a collegians, GunnYang and RyannRee were teammates at San Diego State. Through 36 holes, the two former Aztecs are tied for fourth, at 7-under. They both shot identical 67-70 rounds.
• KyleKarazissis has never held status on any PGA TOUR-affiliated Tour and has primarily been playing mini-tour golf, the Asher Tour and the Dakotas Tour. The Indian Wells, California, resident also caddies at The Quarry at La Quinta not far from his home.
• Gunn Yang had just earned conditional Korn Ferry Tour status and earned a playing opportunity in the 2018 Sony Open in Hawaii when he injured his back. Although he thought of withdrawing, he thought the chance to play on TOUR was too good to pass up. He eventually missed the cut in Honolulu, never teed it up on the Korn Ferry Tour and basically ended up on the sidelines for the next four years. Yang began playing again a year ago, in February, but his Sony Open in Hawaii experience was his last PGA TOUR-affiliated Tour start until this week. “If you’re out for two years, it takes time to get it back. It didn’t take me two years; it took me four years to get back,” Yang said. “At the beginning, I couldn’t swing it the way I wanted. I had some limitations on my body. Now, I have no limitations. It's been a ride. It’s all about what I have ahead.”
• First-round leader Josh McCarthy faltered over his final nine holes Wednesday. He kept the momentum from his opening 64 going, making six consecutive pars to begin his second round, with two birdies over his final three holes to turn in 2-under and move to 10-under overall. Things then turned over the final nine holes, as McCarthy made five bogeys, a double bogey and one birdie. He eventually signed for a 4-over 76 to fall into a tie for ninth.
• Last year’s San Jacinto Qualifying Tournament medalist, JakeVincent, fired an even-par 72 in the second round, and he’s tied for 35th. Vincent has only been able to muster four birdies through his opening 36 holes but has also minimized his bogeys, with two in the first round and only one Wednesday.
• Amateur BrianGhim made a big move on day two. Although he is still 12 shots behind the leaders, his nine-stroke improvement Wednesday helped him improve 41 spots on the scoreboard. Of his five second-round birdies, only one came on a par-5 (No. 6, his 15th hole).
• ElliottGrayson had a nice second round after stumbling out of the blocks Tuesday with an opening, 4-over 76. Grayson, a fourth-year pro out of the University of Akron, rebounded with a 3-under 69 that included a double bogey-6 on the 12th hole. That left him at even-par for the day, and after a birdie at the 13th and a bogey at the 16th, he was still even, and that’s when things turned for the 26-year-old. He finished birdie-eagle to shoot the 69, allowing him to move up xx positions on the leaderboard into a tie for 55th.
• Canada’s SangWonKim had a struggle on day two. After opening with a 1-under 71, he stumbled to a 17-over 89 to drop 95 leaderboard positions, into a tie for 119th.
• Of the five Canadians still playing, MaxSekulic is the best of the bunch. He’s at 2-under 142 and tied for 25th. The PGA TOUR Latinoamérica member is hoping to seamlessly moved from that Tour to PGA TOUR Canada in July once that season concludes in Tulum, Mexico.
“I was just in a good state of mind. I hit some good wedges and hit it close a few times—especially on poa annua greens in the afternoon. You have to stick it close and hammer them in there.” –Tyler Falk
“It definitely makes me feel a little more comfortable, but I’m not exempt from the cold. I still have to go out and play good golf.” –Tyler Falkon Thursday’s cooler weather forecast
“I won’t have to worry about sweaty palms or anything like that.” –Tyler Falk
“I was pretty confident going into the back nine. I had a bad break on my ninth, the 18th hole. I just put it in the water. There were a couple of bad mistakes that I made.” –Gunn Yang
“There are really no gimmie holes out here. Eighteen is probably the easiest hole, I guess, but even still you have to hit a nice drive because you can be blocked out by some trees pretty easily. You really have to pay attention.” –Kyle Karazissis
Second-Round Weather: Play began at 7:30 a.m., but officials halted play for fog. The delay lasted for 35 minutes, with play resuming at 8:30 a.m. Mostly cloudy and cooler. High of 68. Wind SSW at 7-9 mph.