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PGA TOUR Canada’s season culminates with the Fortinet Cup Championship in Calgary

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PGA TOUR Canada’s season culminates with the Fortinet Cup Championship in Calgary

    Written by PGA TOUR Canada Staff @PGATOURCanada

    CALGARY, Alberta -- This week’s Fortinet Cup Championship will likely determine who takes a giant leap forward in their career as a professional golfer.

    The Fortinet Cup Championship is the final stop on the 10-event PGA TOUR Canada schedule and features the season’s top-60 players battling it out over four days in a no-cut format at Country Hills Golf Club. This is the final opportunity to earn points in the Fortinet Cup standings, the season-long contest that determines the player of the year.

    With that title comes the big reward. The winner of the Fortinet Cup receives a $25,000 bonus, but perhaps more importantly will be fully exempt for the 2024 Korn Ferry Tour, the final step before attaining their ultimate goal to reach the PGA TOUR.

    That’s plenty of motivation for points leader Sam Choi, who immigrated from South Korea with his father when he was in the ninth grade to pursue his dream of playing professional golf on the PGA TOUR. Choi qualified for PGA TOUR Canada via the PGA TOUR University rankings, finishing 11th in the 2023 class. In his rookie season, Choi has been a model of consistency as he’s made all nine cuts, which includes seven top-10s along with one victory at the Windsor Championship.

    “I feel fortunate to see my name at the top of the leaderboard. It’s good,” Choi said. “My goal was to finish top five. I made it this far and hope to get the job done. Getting a full Korn Ferry Tour ride is good, way better than having conditional status.”

    Same for Davis Lamb, currently second on the points list, who remembers whacking balls down the fairway, as a child, with oversized plastic clubs while playing alongside his father, Greg. The journey for Lamb has been remarkable, as he began the season with little status and won two events – the first after getting into the field as a Monday qualifier.

    “I’m going to have to go out there with my foot on the gas again,” Lamb said. “I’d like to finish in that No. 1 spot, but I know my best golf will take care of that, so I’m just trying to do that.”

    Canadian Etienne Papineau, Hayden Springer and Stuart Macdonald round out the top five spots and will be trying to protect their position in the standings.

    “It’s just trying to put the result to the side and stay in the present and just play your game,” Macdonald said. “Finishing top five would be nice and try to improve status, but at the same time I’m not too worried. I feel like I’m in a pretty good space.”

    A win this week is worth enough points - 600 to be exact - to theoretically lift any of the 60 players in the field into one of the top five spots. That includes No. 60 Cooper Dossey, who was the last player to qualify at last week’s CMRC Championship.

    “You know, I’m pretty far back from the top five and think I would have to get a win and have some guys play poorly,” Dossey said. “I just want to have fun and continue to get better on the attitude side of golf. Attitude out here is hard. All of us want it so bad and this game eats you up.”

    Winning on PGA TOUR Canada definitely has its advantages. The top seven players on the points list each have at least one victory – Choi (Windsor Championship), Lamb (ATB Classic and Quebec Open powered by Videotron Business), Papineau (Royal Beach Victoria Open presented by Times Colonist), Springer (CentrePort Canada Rail Park Manitoba Open), Macdonald (Commissionaires Ottawa Open), John Pak (Elk Ridge Saskatchewan Open presented by Brandt), and Davis Shore (Osprey Valley Open presented by Votorantim Cimentos CBM Aggregates). Last week Yi Cao won the CRMC Championship presented by Gertens, moved up to No. 9 and carries plenty of momentum into the week.

    “There’s no cutline, so I don’t really have to think about it,” Cao said. “I’m going to play four days in a row. It’s go-time for sure.”

    Key Information

    Pos.PlayerPointsRank Last Week
    1Sam Choi (United States)1,2281
    2Davis Lamb (United States)1,1342
    3Étienne Papineau (Canada)9443
    4Hayden Springer (United States)7117
    5Stuart Macdonald (Canada)7074
    6John Pak (United States)7005
    7Davis Shore (United States)6479
    8Devon Bling (United States)6396
    9Yi Cao (China)63355
    10Chris Korte (United States)5938

    Six of the 10 players who were exempt into PGA TOUR Canada this season based on their 2023 PGA TOUR University ranking are in this week’s Fortinet Cup Championship. Sam Choi, who played at the University New Mexico and finished at Pepperdine University, Derek Hitchner (Pepperdine), Tommy Kuhl (University of Illinois), Ben Carr (Georgia Southern University), Connor Howe (Georgia Tech) and Chase Sienkiewicz (University of Arizona). John Pak, who graduated from Florida State University and is currently ranked No. 6, finished No. 1 in PGA TOUR University’s inaugural class of 2021.

    Stuart Macdonald, No. 5 on the Fortinet Cup points list, missed the cut last week after returning from an off-week due to the arrival of his son. His wife Carly gave birth to Graham Alexander on Aug. 23. McDonald said, “I’m excited to get back. I don’t think I’ll have to put too much pressure on myself this week. But there’s still is a lot on the line and obviously still want to play well.”

    Wil Bateman won the Fortinet Cup Championship when it was conducted at Deer Ridge Golf Club in 2022, while also securing Player of the Year in the process. The native of Edmonton, Alberta, has had a successful season on the Korn Ferry Tour, where he has two top-10s, four top-25s and sits 60th on the points list.

    Although this marks the first year the Fortinet Cup Championship has been played at Country Hills Golf Club in Calgary, this course is no stranger to the PGA TOUR Canada as it was the home to the ATB Classic in 2013 and 2016-19. The Talons Course, in which the tournament is being played, was renovated by Thomas McBroom in 2006 to reinforce the links nature with a distinctive bunkering style.

    Tournament Rundown

    Dates: September 7-10, 2023

    Tournament Name: Fortinet Cup Championship, the 10th of 10 official Fortinet Cup events

    Social Media: Twitter/Instagram/Facebook: @PGATOURCanada and @FortinetCupChamp

    Hashtags: #FortinetCup

    Host Course: Country Hills Golf Club (Talons Course)

    Par/Yardage: 71 (36-35), 7,179 Yards

    Field: 60 players from 5 countries

    Countries: Australia (1), Canada (11), China (2), Japan (1), United States (45)

    Fortinet Cup Points: Winner earns 600

    Purse: $225,000, with the winner earning $40,500

    Benefiting Charity: Brown Bagging for Calgary’s Kids is a local organization that provides nutritious food for school-age kids. Every day, volunteers come together and prepare healthy lunches that are delivered to schools in every quadrant of the city.

    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 Points List: 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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