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Bling jumps out in front, takes first-round lead at CentrePort Canada Rail Park Manitoba Open

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Bling jumps out in front, takes first-round lead at CentrePort Canada Rail Park Manitoba Open

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    WINNIPEG, Manitoba – Devon Bling, who has finished runner-up in his last two starts, shot a 10-under 62 on Thursday to take the first-round lead at the CentrePort Canada Rail Park Manitoba Open, the eighth tournament on PGA TOUR Canada’s 10-event schedule.

    Bling holds a one-shot lead over Canadian rookie Johnny Travale and a two-shot edge over Canadian Thomas Giroux and the USA’s Ben Carr at the Southwood Golf and Country Club. Tied for fifth at 7-under 65 are the USA’Austin Hitt, Luke Schniederjans, Hayden Shieh and Tommy Kuhl, along with Canadians Joey Savoie and Etienne Papineau.

    The start of the first round was delayed 90 minutes by fog and 27 players were still on the course when play was suspended at 8:27 p.m. The first round will resume on Friday with players in position at 8:15 a.m. The second round will begin as scheduled at 7:30 a.m.

    Bling’s round was one shot higher than his career-best 61 posted at the Windsor Championship in his last start. He has shot 13 consecutive rounds in the 60s and did not have a bogey on his card on Thursday. Starting on the back nine, he had four birdies on his first nine and six on the back nine, which included a stretch of five-straight.

    “I actually missed a couple of putts early and then I caught a groove,” Bling said. “I just caught a heater and just fed off that energy and tried to keep attacking.”

    Bling, of Ridgecrest, California, lost in three-man playoff at the Commissionaires Ottawa Open and tied for second at the Windsor Championship. He is in sixth place in the season-long Fortinet Cup standings, with the top five at season’s end earning status on the 2024 Korn Ferry Tour.

    “I’ve been close a couple of times,” Bling said. “I was pretty bummed out there a few weeks in a row, but I’m also proud of the way my game is trending. I feel like I’m playing really good golf and I feel like I’ve clicked with something mentally. I just want to keep putting myself in position and that just starts with executing every golf shot to the best of my ability.”

    Travale, of Hamilton, Ontario, also played bogey-free golf on Thursday. His round included a four-birdie streak that began on his seventh hole of the day, No. 16. The 63 was Travale’s best round on PGA TOUR Canada and puts him in position to improve on his previous best performance, a tie for 44th at the Osprey Valley Open.

    “I’ve just been out here playing, trying to enjoy it, and I had a lot less nerves today on the first tee, so that felt really nice,” Travale said. “I’m just trying to play well and see if I can creep my way into the (Fortinet Cup) Championship.”

    Giroux, of Georgetown, Ontario, had six birdies and an eagle during his first-round 64, his lowest career round on PGA TOUR Canada. He eagled the 16th hole after stuffing a 5-iron to within six feet of the hole.

    “I’ve been fighting a cold putter all year and today it really heated up and I made a lot of putts,” Giroux said. “I gave myself a lot of looks and even the ones I didn’t make were still solid putts and had a chance to go in. I just kind of kept the ball in play, didn’t miss too many fairways and just tried to get myself as many looks as I could.”

    Carr, of Columbus, Georgia, closed with three-straight birdies to shoot 8-under 64 and match his low round of the season. He currently sits tied at third with Giroux.

    Five players are tied for 11th at 6-under 66 – the USA’s Hayden Springer, Dylan Healey and Kyle Karazissis, plus China’s Yi Cao and England’s Nick Cunningham.

    Did you know Austin Hitt is making his PGA TOUR Canada debut this week? He spent most of the spring playing PGA TOUR Latinoamérica and finished fourth on the Totalplay Cup points list, earning him conditional status on the 2024 Korn Ferry Tour. After trying to Monday qualify for several Korn Ferry Tour events, Hitt decided to play the next two weeks in Canada in order to get some competition.

    Key Information

    Morgan Barron, who plays for the NHL’s Winnipeg Jets, is playing this week as a Sponsor’s Exemption. The team’s popular center shot an 8-over 80 in the first round.

    Hayden Springer was on fire to start the round. Beginning on the back nine, he came out of the gate with three-straight birdies. After a par, he reeled off three more birdies and shot 30 on the front nine. A bogey on his 10th hole slowed him down and he settled for a 66.

    The top two players on the Fortinet Cup points list find themselves a bit lower on the leaderboard. No. 1 Davis Lamb, the only two-time winner on PGA TOUR Canada this season, and Sam Choi, who won the Windsor Championship, both finished their opening rounds with 1-under 71s and are tied for 91st.


    “I just need to keep focusing on each golf swing. I sometimes let things get ahead and I focus too far in the future. I like where I am in the standings and I just need to focus on one golf shot at a time and give it everything I have mentally and physically on every swing. If I do that, I think I’ll be in good position at the end.” – Devon Bling

    “It’s been a rough year, so I just kind of came out here and said, ‘Let’s have some fun this week and not really worry about that.’ I know I’m a good enough player. If I play well, it’ll be what it is and I’ll get the job done.” – Thomas Giroux

    “I was putting it pretty strong. I started out with a bogey – just to get that out of the way – and then got rolling from there. It’s great to my buddy out here (as a caddie) to keep it really loose. We’ve come in second both times together, so some good vibes.” – Austin Hitt

    “I just want to get in the mix and try to win each of the last two events. That’s the goal.” – Luke Schniederjans.

    First-Round Weather: Heavy fog early on, clearing to partially cloudy with a high of 30. Wind SSW from 7-15 km/h with gusts up to 40 km/h.

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