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Trying for trifecta, Lamb ready for Commissionaires Ottawa Open

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Trying for trifecta, Lamb ready for Commissionaires Ottawa Open

    Written by Laury Livsey @PGATOUR

    DUNROBIN, Ontario— Exactly a year ago, Davis Lamb was playing in PGA TOUR Canada’s Osprey Valley Open presented by Votorantim Cimentos CBM Aggregates. Lamb did nothing special that week during an up-and-down performance, where he shot both a 65 and a 75 in his four days of work. He eventually tied for 32nd, yet it was progress for the first-year pro. After missing the first two cuts of the season, and tying for 40th in his third start, the tie for 32nd marked his best performance at the time and ultimately his second-best of the year, bettered only by a tie for 29th at the CRMC Championship presented by Gertens. Lamb, a Notre Dame University graduate, went on to play in nine tournaments and finished 73rd in the Fortinet Cup.

    Fast forward 365 days and it’s clear Lamb has written an entirely different story for himself in 2023. As a conditionally exempt player at the beginning of the season, he had to Monday qualify to get into the ATB Classic, then he went on to make history, becoming the first open qualifier to win on PGA TOUR Canada. In the next tournament, last week’s Quebec Open powered by Videotronic Business, Lamb proved his victory was no fluke, winning again to become the Tour’s first back-to-back winner since 2018, when Tyler McCumber turned the trick.

    In Lamb’s two victories and eight official rounds, he’s shot under-par in all eight, including a closing 63 last Sunday to secure the title that vaulted him to the top of the Fortinet Cup standings through four tournaments.

    Lamb will go for three wins in a row this week at the Commissionaires Ottawa Open, PGA TOUR Canada’s return to National Capital Region, when action gets underway at Eagle Creek Golf Club on Thursday.

    Lamb is well aware that a third victory will result in his automatic promotion to the Korn Ferry Tour, which he said was his main objective prior to the start of the season.

    “The goal was always to get to the Korn Ferry (Tour),” said Lamb. “Now I think it’s much more in sight. So, I think to win one of the next six—maybe this week—would be great. I’m still just focusing on the task at hand this week, playing good golf and hitting good shots and letting the chips fall where the chips fall.”

    While there have been plenty of good shots by Lamb already this season, this week marks the first time Tour players will visit Eagle Creek. PGA TOUR Canada has previously held four tournaments near Ottawa, between 2014 and 2017. Past PGA TOUR Canada winners of those events were Greg Machtaler (2014), current PGA TOUR member Sam Ryder (2015), Brock Mackenzie (2016) and Mark Blakefield (2017). All four tournaments took place at Hylands Golf Club. The move to Eagle Creek gives players the opportunity to play the only course in Canada that World Golf Hall of Fame member Ken Venturi designed.

    “It’s fantastic,” Lamb said of his first assessment of the 32-year-old Eagle Creek. “It’s definitely a demanding golf course. I think the greens will speed up, firm up, over the course of the week. I’m looking forward to it. It’s going to be a great test over four days.”

    Lamb currently leads nine Tour statistical categories, including scoring average (66.0), par-3 scoring average (2.72) and par-4 scoring average (3.80). Assessing the difference between his so-so performance from a year ago and where he is today, his answer came quickly.

    “For me, it’s really come down to the putter,” he explained, admitting he feels he was better off the tee in 2022. “But I’m just taking advantage and making birdies when I can. You really have to.

    “The scores are so low out here. You’ve seen the last two weeks,” he continued. “I think I’ve learned a little more to keep my foot on the gas. I made seven cuts last year but never finished inside the top 28. I’m trying to get in the right positions early and go from there. That’s the biggest change.”

    The Tour hits the season’s halfway mark at the conclusion of the Commissionaires Ottawa Open, with Lamb currently holding a commanding 407-point advantage over Étienne Papineau in the Fortinet Cup chase. Lamb hopes to build on that lead this week as players continue to duel for a piece of the $100,000 player bonus pool, with $25,000 going to the overall Fortinet Cup champion.

    Lamb recognizes that he’s still in prime position to move on to the Korn Ferry Tour, even if he doesn’t win again, as the Fortinet Cup winner receives full 2024 membership. A season ago, Lamb never rose to any higher than 71st in the standings. He’s thought a lot about where he’s come from over the past year.

    “I wouldn’t say I’m a radically different player than I was a year ago. I think I’m a little more well-refined,” he observed. “Really, over the last year, I’ve had some solid finishes that have given me a bit more confidence, which I’m just continuing to build upon now.”

    Key Information

    Fortinet Cup Standings

    (Through Québec Open powered by Videotron Business)

    1Davis Lamb (United States)1,000
    2Étienne Papineau (Canada)593
    3John Pak (United States)551
    4Chris Korte (United States)522
    5Sam Choi (United States)419
    6David Kim (United States)348
    7Connor Howe (United States)339
    8George Kneiser (United States)302
    9Eric McCardle (United States)300
    10Nicolo Galletti (United States)265

    Fourteen days passed between Davis Lamb’s first victory and his second, tying him with Tyler McCumber (2018) and Dan McCarthy (2016) for the fastest a PGA TOUR Canada player has won for a second time. Here are the total days between the first and second wins for all players who have won at least two tournaments in a season:

    YearPlayerTime Between First and Second Win
    2023Davis Lamb14 days
    2018Tyler McCumber14 days
    2016Dan McCarthy14 days
    2022Jake Knapp21 days
    2014Joel Dahmen21 days
    2017Patrick Newcomb28 days
    2022Noah Goodwin35 days
    2019Taylor Pendrith35 days
    2022Paul Barjon42 days
    2017Kramer Hickok63 days
    2015C.T. Pan63 days
    2016Aaron Wise84 days
    2022Wil Bateman91 days

    The tournament’s eight sponsor’s exemptions went to Claude Giroux, Michael Feyko, Ty Celone, Jake Bryson, Brad Fritsch, Noah Steele, Stuart Macdonald and Johnny Travale. Fritsch, an Edmonton native who grew up in Ottawa, is a veteran of 175 Korn Ferry Tour tournaments, winning once, in 2016. He also has 71 career PGA TOUR appearances on his resume. Fritsch spent the early part of his career, from 2001 to 2006—and again in 2010 and 2011—playing on the Canadian Tour. This will be Fritsch’s fifth career PGA TOUR Canada start. Steele is currently ranked 16th in the Fortinet Cup standings having played four tournaments, with two top-10s, while Macdonald, who just completed his PGA TOUR Latinoamérica season, securing PGA TOUR Americas membership in 2024, made the cut in his lone start, at the Royal Beach Victoria Open, tying for 56th.

    Claude Giroux is one of the more interesting amateurs playing this week, and he has a dual role. Not only is he one of the 156 players entered in the tournament, Giroux is also serving as the Commissionaires Ottawa Open Honorary Chair. The 35-year-old National Hockey League veteran has local ties, graduating from high school in 2006 from the Ottawa suburb of Orléans. That same year, he made himself available for the NHL Entry Draft, where the Philadelphia Flyers selected him as the 22nd pick. He played 15 seasons for the Flyers, joining the Florida Panthers for the 2021-22 season. He played his first season in Ottawa in 2022-23. In his career, Giroux has played in 1,100 games, scored 329 goals and racked up 673 assists for 1,002 career points.

    Canada’s Myles Creighton is making his PGA TOUR Canada season debut this week. Creighton, a Digby, Nova Scotia native is coming off a stellar PGA TOUR Latinoamérica season that saw him finish second on the Totalplay Cup, that Tour’s equivalent of the Fortinet Cup. With his second-place finish came conditional membership on the 2024 Korn Ferry Tour. In Bogota, Colombia, in early June, Creighton won the Inter Rapidisimo Golf Championship presented by Volvo, for his first Tour title. A year ago in Canada, Creighton finished 21st in the Fortinet Cup rankings.

    Sam Choi has adapted to professional golf quite well. In his rookie season following a sterling collegiate career in which he played at the University of New Mexico and then Pepperdine University, Choi, who earned his playing privileges via his PGA TOUR University ranking, has been a top-10 machine. In his four starts, he has a pair of ties for fourth (Royal Beach Victoria Open and Elk Ridge Saskatchewan Open presented by Brandt), a tie for fifth (ATB Classic) and a tie for sixth last week at the Quebec Open powered by Videotronic Business. Choi is a combined 55-under par in his 16 rounds, has only one over-par round (a 1-over 71) and 12 rounds in the 60s.

    Émile LeBrun Monday-qualified into this week’s tournament with a 68 and will make his PGA TOUR Canada debut on Thursday. While he may have no previous playing experience at this level, he’s more than familiar with the landscape. The 16-year-old LeBrun, a member at Club Laval-sur-le-Lac in Québec, spent last week caddying for Taylor Kay-Green until he missed the cut at the Quebec Open powered by Videotron Business.

    A little less than two months ago, Émile LeBrun won the Québec Spring Open at Beaconsfield Golf Club. He finished regulation tied with fellow amateur Justin Grimard and PGA TOUR Canada member Étienne Brault. LeBrun made a birdie on the first extra hole to take the title. Beaconsfield holds a significant place in professional golf as the site of the first Canada Cup competition that eventually became the World Cup.

    Tournament Rundown

    Dates: July 20-23, 2023

    Tournament Name: Commissionaires Ottawa Open, the fifth of 10 official Fortinet Cup events

    Social Media: Twitter/Instagram/Facebook: @PGATOURCanada, @OttawaOpenGolf

    Hashtags: #FortinetCup

    Host Course: Eagle Creek Golf Club

    Par/Yardage: 71 (36-35), 7,032

    Field: 156 players from 14 countries and territories

    Countries: Argentina (1), Australia (3), Canada (30), China (3), Costa Rica (1), England (3), France (1), Germany (1), Hong Kong (1), Japan (2), Mexico (2), South Korea (1), Switzerland (1), United States (106)

    Fortinet Cup Points: Winner earns 500

    Purse: $200,000, with the winner earning $36,000

    Cut: Top-60 professionals, and ties, after 36 holes plus any amateurs inside the top-60

    Title Sponsor: Commissionaires is Canada’s largest private-sector employer of veterans and the only national not-for-profit security company. Commissionaires provides security and security-related services to federal and provincial facilities, municipalities and police services, air and seaports, private-sector organizations, including utilities and commercial buildings, and homes across the country. Commissionaires employs 22,000 men and women of all ages and walks of life, and they serve in 1,200 communities across the country. Veterans of the Canadian Armed Forces and Royal Canadian Mounted Police account for 4,500 of Commissionaires’ employees.

    Benefiting Charity: Soldier On, a Canadian Armed Forces program that has supported more than 10,000 ill and injured service members and veterans since 2007 by using sport and physical recreational activities to enable social support, build confidence and realize their full potential.

    Open Qualifiers:

    65 Flint Bekkers (U.S.)

    65 Brandon Lacasse (Canada)

    66 Cristian DiMarco (U.S.)

    66 Joseph Juszczyk (U.S.)

    68 Chris Korte (U.S.)

    68 Chandler Eaton (U.S.)

    68 Émile LeBrun (Canada)

    68 Mike Winter (U.S.)

    PGA TOUR Americas: 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.

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