Papineau’s dominant Sunday leads to first PGA TOUR Canada win
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Written by PGA TOUR Canada Staff @PGATOURCanada
VICTORIA, British Columbia—Canadian Étienne Papineau emerged from the pack to shoot a final-round 6-under 64 on Sunday to decisively win the Royal Beach Victoria Open and claim his first career PGA TOUR Canada victory.
Papineau, one of four tied for the lead after 54 holes, finished at 18-under 262 on the Uplands Golf Club. The victory vaulted Papineau into the early lead of the season-long Fortinet Cup standings.
Papineau won by five strokes over George Kneiser and Chris Korte, who finished tied for second, at 13-under 267, and by six shots over Jared du Toit, Chris Francoeur, Sam Choi and Jason Hong.
“It’s been a crazy week, an amazing week for me,” Papineau said. “I’m extremely excited, extremely pumped, and it’s a good start of the season for sure.”
Papineau, a native of Mercier, Quebec, was the favourite of the gallery all day. He finished with six birdies and no bogeys and matched his first-round 64. He became the first Quebec-born winner on PGA TOUR Canada since 2013.
Papineau took a two-shot lead when he made an eight-foot birdie on the 403-yard par-4 fifth hole to go to 12-under. A near chip-in on the seventh led to another birdie and was followed by birdies at No. 8 and No. 9. That flurry allowed him to make the turn in 30 and expand his lead to four shots. No one got closer than two shots the rest of the afternoon.
“I stuck to my gameplan all week,” Papineau said. “I shot 5-under on the front (nine), and it was a really good start. I had some really good tee shots, really good approach shots. As I said [Saturday], the putter was a little cold, but I said hopefully they will fall tomorrow and that’s what happened on the front nine.”
Papineau instructed his caddie to not let him look at the leaderboard all day, and he didn’t take a peek until the 16th hole. By that time the tournament was his to lose.
“You never know what can happen, but once I got up and down for par on 17, I knew I had a three- or four-shot lead,” Papineau said. “I just said hit it the fairway on 18—or just hit it anywhere on 18—and you should be fine. I looked at the leaderboard again before I putted and saw I was leading by four or five at that point. So, it kind of sunk in and a little bit of tears, I’m not going to lie, after I made my last putt.”
The victory marks a complete comeback from off-season surgery in December. Papineau tried to play again in March but struggled to regain his form. He took a few more weeks off to let his body completely heal and has played well since.
“Now I’m back,” Papineau said. “It’s been an amazing journey so far and hopefully it’s just the start of it.”
Kneiser, of Oconomowoc, Wisconsin, had a share of the lead after each of the first three rounds, but never got any traction Sunday. He had three bogeys and shot 69.
Korte, of Littleton, Colorado, matched Papineau’s 64 and climbed 12 spots in the standings. An eagle on the 12th hole sparked a second-nine 30.
“The eagle on 12 is really where the back nine got kick-started,” Korte said.
Du Toit, from Calgary, got the Canadian faithful roaring with an early 65. He was 4-under through seven holes when a bogey slowed his progress. He was still able to climb 10 spots and earn his second career top-five PGA TOUR Canada finish.
“I had a great start, which is exactly what you kind of want when you’re four or five back starting the day,” du Toit said. “I cooled off a little bit, and there are a couple holes that I would have like to have been in position to birdie, but I stuck it out and played a real solid round of golf. I’m quite happy with today for sure.”
Francoeur, of Newburyport, Massachusetts, finished strong with four birdies on his final seven holes to shoot 66.
Hong got to within two shots after a two-putt birdie on No. 12, but his charge ended with bogeys on three of the final six holes. The Australian closed with an even-par 70.
Choi, in his professional debut after finishing at Pepperdine University, finished with a disappointing double bogey to shoot 69.
Tied for eighth at 11-under 269 were Cole Bradley of Louisville, Kentucky, and Chase Sienkiewicz of Sacramento, California, who both shot 68, and Hayden Shieh of Fremont, California, who shot 71. Shieh was one of the four leaders entering the final round.
Fortinet Cup Standings
(Through Royal Beach Victoria Open)
|T4||Jared du Toit||109|
Eleven Canadians completed 72 holes, with Étienne Papineau winning the tournament and Jared du Toit earning a top-10 performance (tied for fourth).
|1||Étienne Papineau||262 (18-under)|
|T4||Jared du Toit||268 (12-under)|
|T11||Lawren Rowe||270 (10-under)|
|T15||Brendan Leonard||272 (8-under)|
|T37||A.J. Ewart||277 (3-under)|
|T37||Jeevan Sihota||277 (3-under)|
|T37||Brendan MacDougall||277 (3-under)|
|T45||Jimmy Jones||278 (2-under)|
|T45||Richard Jung||278 (2-under)|
|T56||Stuart Macdonald||280 (even)|
|T56||Henry Lee||280 (even)|
Etienne Papineau is playing his second full season on PGA TOUR Canada. In 11 events, he now has a win and four top-10 finishes. He tied for fifth at the Royal Beach Victoria Open last year. He earned 500 points and leads the Fortinet Cup standings.
Chris Korte carried his own bag for the first two rounds and hired a 16-year-old junior from the Uplands Golf Club for the weekend. “He’s a member here at the club, and he was just a really great kid, really easy going, and kind of kept me calm,” Korte said.
Chris Korte nearly holed out his approach on the 18th hole for an eagle. “I hit a great drive and had only 82 yards to go, so I told my caddie, ‘I don’t want to hit this close, I want to make it.’ I gave it a pretty good run; actually hit it to about two feet. So, it was a great feeling to go up there and have a tap-in to finish the round,” Korte said.
Will Grevlos and Tommy Kuhl both closed with 4-under 66s, moved up 14 leaderboard places and tied for 15th, at 8-under 272. Grevlos of Sioux Falls, South Dakota, and Kuhl of Morton, Illinois, were playing in their first PGA TOUR Canada events.
Dylan Healey was the big mover Sunday. The Albuquerque, New Mexico, native shot 4-under 66 to finish at 5-under 275 and jump 23 places in the standings to tie for 28th.
“It was a really nice crowd. They were cheering on me a lot. And I think it makes it a lot more fun when there’s people watching. I was a little more nervous with a lot of people around, but it was amazing and winning in Canada … what an amazing story.” – Étienne Papineau
“It’s such a short season you want to get off to a good start and be in contention early. I’m super happy with the start. I had a great first round and a really good final round. Definitely happy with the start of the year,” – Jared du Toit
“It’s really cool to play a Tour that actually leads to something. I do a lot of mini-tour golf, where you put up your entry fee and try to win money, but there’s no status to be gained. The experience is great but being able to play for a season-long race for the Fortinet Cup, playing for Korn Ferry (Tour) at the end of the year is really special.” – Chris Korte
“It was tough to finish with a double on 18, but it’s all good. Lot of golf, lot of tournaments left,” – Sam Choi
“He’s got the right words to tell you when you’re not feeling well. He’s always there to get your ups up. He’s also very positive.” – Joey Savoie on his father
“He’s taught me a lot. He’s known for his short game and his putting, and I’d like to think I inherited some of that.” – Eric Lilleboe about his father
“He’s worked really hard my whole life to allow me to play golf. – Mason Glinski about his father
Final-Round Weather: Overcast and cool. High of 16. Wind W at 10-13 kph.