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Americans grab four of top six spots after day one of Q-School

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Americans grab four of top six spots after day one of Q-School

    Written by PGA TOUR Canada Staff @PGATOURCanada

    COURTENAY, British Columbia—Americans grabbed four of the six top spots at Crown Isle Resort and Golf Club in the opening round of the sixth and final PGA TOUR Canada Qualifying Tournament for the 2023 Fortinet Cup.

    The Tour begins in earnest next week, down the road in the provincial capital of Victoria for the Royal Beach Victoria Open.

    Tyson Dinsmore and Carr Vernon turned in rounds of 6-under 66 Tuesday to grab a share of the lead, while fellow countrymen Austin Fox and Ethan Marcus were a shot back, at 67, along with Canadians Max Sear and Andrew Harrison.

    Dinsmore, a native of Los Altos Hills, California, had it to 7-under before making bogey on the 17th hole. That came after a stretch of five birdies in seven holes during his back-nine score of 32.

    Vernon, of Poplar Bluff, Missouri, opened with an eagle on his first hole, gave a shot back at the par-3 fourth before recording three straight birdies, on holes 9, 10 and 11. He also birdied 15 and 18 for a 32 on his back nine.

    “I’ve been all over Canada, and I would say this is my favorite,” said Vernon, who has twice previously earned playing privileges through the Crown Isle Q-School. “It’s a good spot. I seem to play well here.” Vernon has 20 career PGA TOUR Canada starts to his credit, all coming in 2018 and 2019.

    He wasted little time as well, pounding his opening drive on the firm fairways.

    “I had the eagle on one and just kind of battled it for a bit but then made bogey on the first par 3. I hit a really good drive (on one). It went down there farther than I thought it would be. I think I had 170-ish yards to the pin, hit 8-iron to about seven or eight feet and made the putt. Easy start, which is nice,” Vernon said of his first-hole eagle.

    “I played well all day. I made a bad bogey on the first par-3 and made a good par on six. Made a good putt there. Then I birdied 9, 10 and 11. I kept it in play, was never struggling to make pars and made good birdies on 15 and 18.”

    One-hundred-nineteen players from 10 countries are competing for the final 10 PGA TOUR Canada cards up for grabs upon completion of the 72-hole stroke-play tournament.

    “It was a bit of a slow start, hitting it well, but I didn’t make too many putts to get going,” Fox said of his opening 67. “The putter (eventually) got hot, and it was a good day. I’m very happy with the start.

    “It’s a tough course, a tough driving course, so I’m happy to make some birdies and keep bogeys to a minimum,” he added. You have to keep the ball in play, keep it on the fairway with how firm the greens are and give yourself the best looks for birdies.”

    Fox started on the back nine and made bogey on the 12th, with a three-putt, but gained that stroke back on the par-5 15th for an even-par 36 to open his day. An eagle on No. 1 (his 10th hole) and birdies on his 13th, 14th and 17th holes gave him the 5-under 67.

    Sear, meanwhile, is no stranger to the area, an Ontario native who makes his home part-time in Victoria. Last year he opened with a 66 in the cold rain and wind at Crown Isle. This time it was a smooth 67 in glorious, sunny weather.

    Sear birdied his first and third holes on the front nine and added four more birdies on the back before ending his round with a bogey on 18 or he would have matched his 66 from 2022.

    “I stayed patient throughout,” he said. “I was a couple under (par) on the front and then turned the corner. I chipped in on 10, (and) birdied 11, 13 and 15. I kind of cruised and made a little mental error on the last hole and made bogey. That fires me up for [Wednesday], but I’ve got some time between my rounds.

    “I had a good game plan, had all my notes from last year,” he added of his return to Crown Isle. “So just stay patient, don’t get too far ahead of the game; stay within myself.”

    Harrison, of Camrose, Alberta., turned in a tidy, 5-under 31 on his back nine to record his 67. The University of British Columbia product had eight birdies total, including four straight from holes 10-13 to go with three bogeys.

    Three players, including Canadians Jeevan Sihota of nearby Victoria and amateur Kamyar Yamini, are another shot back at 4-under 68.

    Did you know Austin played with Mark Calcavecchia in the 2015 Nature Valley First Tee Open on PGA TOUR Champions? Fox’s father was also the deputy chief of staff for Arnold Schwarzenegger when Schwarzenegger was governor of California.

    Key Information

    How the Tournament Works

    There are 117 players in this week’s field. Below is a breakdown of the various PGA TOUR Canada membership statuses available this week.

    Finish PositionStatus
    MedalistExempt 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

    There are 15 amateurs playing at Crowne Isle Resort. Leading the way is Kamyar Yamini, tied for seventh after shooting a 4-under 68.

    Canadian Matthew Anderson, an amateur out of Mississauga, Ontario, came into this event on a hot streak, with four straight top-10 finishes, playing as a fifth year out of the University of San Francisco. He won the NCAA Las Vegas Regional and placed 11th individually at the NCAA Championship in Arizona last week, collecting Ping All-Region West team honors. “I had a really good last few events,” said Anderson, a Golf Canada product. “A win at regionals, and (I) did well at nationals, so coming in here on a little bit of a run and just looking to keep it going. The goal is to win—always is. I know I have the game to compete with anybody. I’ll see where I’m at and go from there. You obviously don’t want to shoot yourself out of it. I should be in the mix and go out and get it [Wednesday].” He opened with a 2-under 70 after making the turn at 4-under.

    Austin Fox is making his third attempt at qualifying for the PGA TOUR Canada. It’s his first time in Canada, however, having competed once in California and once in Florida. He was unsuccessful in both attempts. He did have conditional status on PGA TOUR Latinoamérica during the 2021-22 season. “The goal, obviously, is to get status. I was playing really well the week before, so I thought I had a good chance of qualifying and playing the rest of the summer in Canada,” said Fox, who opened with a 5-under 67, which included an eagle on the par-5 first hole, his 10th hole of the day.

    Tyson Dinsmore, who is tied for the lead, played his collegiate golf at SMU, with last year's GolfBC Championship and Ontario Open Champion Noah Goodwin, who finished third on the 2022 Fortinet Cup Points List.

    Max Sear has had success here before. He led after the first round of last year's Qualifying Tournament at Crown Isle, where he shot an opening-round 66.

    It was an interesting start for Canadian James Colin Davis, who took a double-bogey 7 on his first hole, the 10th. After a par on his second hole, he then proceeded to birdie five of his next six holes to recover with a 3-under 33 to make the turn and finished at 3-under 69.

    A solid 32 players broke par in the opening round and another seven finished at even-par 72.

    Fifty-five of the 117 players in the field are Canadian.

    Jimmy Jones, son of legendary Canadian LPGA player Dawn Coe Jones, shot an even-par 72 to start his week. His mom is from nearby Lake Cowichan, British Columbia, and Jimmy was born in Tampa, Florida, where he attended the University of South Florida.

    Stalwart amateur A.J. Ewart, of Coquitlam, British Columbia, , was even-par 71 on the day with three birdies and two bogeys recorded during his round. Ewart starred at Barry University where he followed in the footsteps of fellow Canadian Adam Svensson and surpassed his all-time school victories mark. Svensson had nine wins at Barry and Ewart, a former Canadian national team member, posted 14.

    Comparing the 2022 first round with the 2023 first round here at Crown Isle showed a 30-degree difference in the temperature highs. On April 26, 2022, the high was 46, with a lot of rain. Tuesday, the sun shined all day, with a high of 76


    “I’d like to (win). That’s always the goal. I feel like I did a good job today. Three more rounds to play well. That’s all you can do. I’ve been hitting it well.” – Carr Vernon after his opening round 66

    “I struggled toward the end of last season. I was a little devastated the way my year ended last year, missing the last few cuts and not getting through the first stage (of Korn Ferry Tour). I’d say the motivation level was tough to come by in October or November when there was nothing going on. But then I just turned the corner in the new year and honestly looked at it as a good opportunity to work that much harder to get back to where I was and also perform better down the full season of the [PGA TOUR Canada]. That mindset to switch and dig deep helped me a lot.” – Max Sear

    “Like all of us, confidence comes and goes. Right now, it’s pretty high. I’ve put in a lot of work, a lot of prep, and doing the right things. At least I’m telling myself that. If I can just trick my brain a little bit and take that into each day, it will stay pretty high.” – Max Sear on his confidence level

    “Hopefully I can do what I did last year, get back on the Tour and this time win a couple of events. It was a good experience last year. I missed 10 cuts in a row, and I learned a lot from that. You figure out your weaknesses and what to improve on.” –Jeevan Sihota

    “It’s very firm. You definitely have to be cognizant of how far you want to carry the ball. If not, you can get out of control quickly. You have to be patient and do all your due diligence on getting the right number as far as what club you want to hit and trying to execute that. If you can get it in play, it makes it easier and if you can get it in the fairway, it makes it a lot easier.” – Carr Vernon

    “I felt like I was OK off the tee. I was in play every hole, so had a shot every time. I was in the rough a few times, so on those I had to really make sure I had the right number, picked the target and made a good swing.” – Carr Vernon on the course conditions

    “The greens are firm and fast, but you have to be good off the tee to give yourself a chance here.” – Ryan Ames, son of Stephen Ames, who has won twice on PGA TOUR Champions this season, including last week in Iowa

    “I’m happy with that. I really struck it well today, and I’d be really happy with four days of that. I made a couple of bombs, on Nos. 7 and 8, which made up for all the other 10-footers I didn’t make earlier in the round. I felt like I putted well, it’s just the putts didn’t drop. If you keep hitting the ball that well, you’re going to score.” – Jeevan Sihota

    “The key is not losing any balls and not three-putting. Especially for me. I’m a good iron player, so if I’m in play and get the ball to the green, I should be able to get a good shot at birdie.” – Jeevan Sihota

    “It’s different. My home course is tree-lined and narrow, as well, but has different grass and different greens. I grew up in Sacramento, California, though, so I don’t have an issue putting on poa annua greens.” – Austin Fox

    “On 1, it was 3-wood off the tee. I had 200 yards into the flag, decided to hit 6-iron in there and try and land just short and have it hop up. I hit it to three feet. It was a great shot. One of the guys up near the green said, ‘I think it lipped out.’ It almost went in for a two, which would have been sweet, but it was a nice little three-footer for eagle.” – Austin Fox

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