Papineau carries momentum into Elk Ridge Saskatchewan Open
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WASKESIU LAKE, Saskatchewan—Canadian ÉtiennePapineau will try to make it two wins in a row when he tees it up this week at the Elk Ridge Saskatchewan Open presented by Brandt, the second event on PGA TOUR Canada’s 10-tournament season.
Papineau, a native of Quebec, used a final-round 64 to post a five-shot victory at the season-opening Royal Beach Victoria Open in Victoria, British Columbia. His victory was the first by a Quebec-born player since 2013 and propelled him into first place in the Fortinet Cup point standings.
Papineau’s triumph came one week after Abbotsford’s Nick Taylor won the PGA TOUR’s RBC Canadian Open and was another encouraging sign for Canadian golf.
“I think it’s trending in the right direction,” Papineau said. “All the Canadians on the PGA TOUR, Nick Taylor and all those guys, are doing amazing. The goal is to get many more Canadian players on TOUR, and I think we’re trending in the right direction. There’s still a lot of work to do, but it’s a good start.”
Also in this week’s field at Elk Ridge Resort are George Kneiser and Chris Korte, who tied for second in the season-opener, and Canadian Jared du Toit, Chris Francoeur, Sam Choi and Jason Hong, who tied for fourth.
Making his PGA TOUR Canada debut this week will be Ben Carr of Columbus, Georgia. He earned his membership based on finishing 17th on the PGA TOUR University standings and through his sixth-place finish at the Weston, Florida, Qualifying Tournament in February.
Carr, a graduate of Georgia Southern University, was runner-up at the 2022 U.S. Amateur Championship and competed in the 2023 Masters and last week’s U.S. Open. He did not make the cut at the Masters but qualified for the weekend at the U.S. Open in Los Angeles and finished 62nd.
“I’m really excited,” Carr said regarding a chance to compete on PGA TOUR Canada. “I’ve never been to Canada, and I’m looking forward to seeing the country. I hear it’s beautiful. I’ve heard a lot of good things about the PGA TOUR Canada, and I’ve got a couple of buddies who have played there in the past and they say it’s great. I’m excited to get up there and see if I can play some good golf.”
Carr is a member at The Country Club of Columbus, where his regular playing partners are 1987 Masters champion Larry Mize and four-time PGA TOUR winner Russell Henley.
“I’ve been super blessed with a lot of cool opportunities,” Carr said. “Larry (Mize) has been really kind to me. I saw him a couple weeks before the U.S. Open, and he’s just an awesome guy. It’s cool to have somebody like him on your side.”
A year ago: Last year, the Elk Ridge Saskatchewan Open was cancelled due to unrelenting, week-long rain. Despite the cancelation, the ownership group at Elk Ridge generously provided a $40,000 purse for a one-day Sunday Shoot Out to help defray the cost of the players who participated in the event.
“This is kind of what we are about in Saskatchewan,” said participant Kade Johnson of Yorkton. “Everyone is hospitable for each other, and everyone wants to come here and show off the province and show everyone a good time, not just with the Sunday Shoot Out but with the whole week.”
About the venue: There are three distinct nine-hole layouts at Elk Ridge - the Tamarack, Aspen and Birch - all designed by Bruce Klaassen, the longtime superintendent at Royal Regina. Klaassen was elected to the Saskatchewan Golf Hall of Fame in 2021 and is known for his innovative ideas. PGA TOUR Canada will use a combination of holes during the competition and will play 6,781 yards to par-70. Making up the front nine of the tournament composite course is Tamarack’s No. 1 and Aspen’s Nos. 2 through 9. The back nine is the entire Birch Course.
Étienne Papineau earned 500 points for his victory and leads the Fortinet Cup standings. George Kneiser and Chris Korte tied for second and each have 245 points. The winner of the Fortinet Cup earns a $25,000 bonus and full 2024 Korn Ferry Tour membership.
Twelve Canadians made the cut at the Royal Beach Victoria Open, including winner Papineau and Jared du Toit of Calgary, who tied for fourth. Lawren Rowe of Victoria, British Columbia (tied for 11th) and Brendan Leonard of Cambridge, Ontario, (tied for 15th) also picked up top-25 finishes.
Henry Lee of Colquitam, British Columbia, made the only hole-in-one last week.
Tuesday, the Atlantic Coast Conference named PGA TOUR Canada member Connor Howe of Ogden, Utah, as its co-Golf Scholar of the Year. Howe played at Georgia Tech and graduated with a degree in business administration, just turning pro following the Yellow Jackets’ season. In his career, Howe had five top-10 finishes and finished No. 18 in the PGA TOUR University standings—also qualifying for the Tour via the Qualifying Tournament in Dothan, Alabama.
Logan Perkins of Locust Grove, Georgia, and Zach Mandry of Solon, Ohio, both played their way into the field by shooting 66 in the Monday qualifier at Cooke Municipal Golf Course. Perkins, who played at the University of West Virginia, and Mandry, who played at Ohio University, will be making their first PGA TOUR Canada starts.
“I stuck to my game plan all (last) week. There was one hole that I didn’t because I was a little tentative, but outside of that, I stuck to my game plan.” – Etienne 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. (I’m) 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
DATES: June 22-25, 2023
OFFICIAL NAME: Elk Ridge Saskatchewan Open presented by Brandt
OFFICIAL SOCIALS: Twitter/Instagram/FB: @PGATOURCanada @ElkRidgeSKOpen
SCHEDULE: Second of 10 official events of the 2023 PGA TOUR Canada season
VENUE: Elk Ridge Resort
PAR/YARDS: 70 (34-36), 6,781
FIELD: 159 players from 11 countries
COUNTRY BREAKDOWN: Albania (1), Australia (3), Canada (27), England (3), France (1), Germany (1), Ireland (1), Japan (1), Korea (1), Switzerland (1), United States (119).
POINTS LIST: Winner earns 500 points
PURSE MONEY: (Canadian) $225,000 (winner claims Canadian $40,500)
CUT: Top 60 professional (and ties, plus any amateurs inside the top-60)
Thursday, June 22 First Round
Friday, June 23 Second Round
Saturday, June 24 Third Round
Sunday, June 25 Final Round
Title Sponsor: Elk Ridge Resort is Saskatchewan's premier all-season resort, located in a friendly, luxurious setting in the heart of the boreal forest. Awarded with TripAdvisor's Certificate of Excellence and Recognized as Reader's Digest Top 9 Must See Canadian Winter Destinations, it is a perfect year-round getaway for family events, weddings, corporate meetings and more.
Benefiting Charity: Hockey Saskatchewan & STARS
Open qualifying: The tournament conducted a Monday qualifier at Cooke Municipal Golf Course in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, with eight spots available at the 18-hole event. The following qualified:
Logan Perkins (U.S.) 66
Zach Mandry (U.S.) 66
Travis Fredborg (Canada) 67
Chase Pochylko (Canada) 67
Joseph Dendy (U.S.) 67
Tyler Johnson (U.S.) 68
Ziggy Nathu (Canada) 68
Devin Morley (Ireland) 68
At season’s end: Following the completion of the 2023 PGA TOUR Canada season, the PGA TOUR Latinoamérica and PGA TOUR Canada will merge into a singular Tour to form PGA TOUR Americas, which will begin play in February 2024. PGA TOUR Americas will consist of 16 events contested across Latin America, Canada and the United States from February through September. The top-10 finishers on the season-long points list will earn Korn Ferry Tour membership for the following season.
Fortinet Cup: The season-long points chase mirrors the competitive structure of the points-based competitions on the PGA TOUR, PGA TOUR Champions and PGA TOUR Latinoamérica. Through the sponsorship, the Fortinet Cup offers a $100,000 player bonus pool—with $25,000 to the winner—to the top Fortinet Cup points-winners. The top Fortinet Cup points-earner gains membership to the full 2024 Korn Ferry Tour season, while the second-through-fifth finishers earn conditional 2024 membership. All top-five finishers are also exempt into the final stage of 2023 PGA TOUR Qualifying Tournament, and those finishing sixth through 25th are exempt into the second stage. In addition, the Fortinet Cup winner will also receive an exemption into the PGA TOUR’s 2023 Fortinet Championship in California. Finally, the top-60 players on the points list will earn membership on the 2024 PGA TOUR Americas through the Latin American swing.