Eagle start leads to a 62, giving amateur Desmarchais TPC Toronto lead
September 09, 2020
By Staff, PGATOUR.COM
- September 09, 2020
- Laurent Desmarchais has played in all three previous Canada Life Series tournaments, making the cut each week. (Getty Images)
CALEDON, Ontario—Although cool and overcast all day, players at TPC Toronto at Osprey Valley’s Heathlands Course experienced very little wind, and the scores reflected that in the Canada Life Series’ season finale. Amateur Laurent Desmarchais fired an opening, 9-under 62 to take the lead, and five others were 65 or better during what turned out to be ideal scoring conditions in the first round. They include the 64 shooters Joey Savoie and Brendan Leonard and a trio at 65—amateur Jordan Crampton, Blair Bursey and Tanvir Kahlon.
Nobody, though, was better than Desmarchais on Wednesday. The member of Golf Canada’s Junior Boy’s Squad has played in all three previous Canada Life Series tournaments, making the cut each week. Desmarchais’ tie for 10th in the season-opener remains his best finish. His opening 68 that week was his best 18-hole score until he dismantled the Heathlands Course with his eight-birdie, one-eagle, one-bogey 62 in round one.
Desmarchais, currently the 314th-ranked player in the World Amateur Golf Ranking, made things look easy.
“Honestly, I just didn’t miss a shot out there. I started with an eagle and got some momentum there, and just kept hitting good shots and making putts,” the Longueuil, Quebec, native explained after his round. “After I turned in 29, I thought maybe there was a chance to shoot 59, but I bogeyed 11. After that, I just focused on hitting a few more good shots and bounced back with a birdie on the next hole.”
The birdie barrage slowed down after that, with his final birdie of the day coming at the par-5 16th. No other mistakes gave him the dream start to fourth and final Canada Life Series tournament.
“I want to win,” Desmarchais said matter-of-factly. “Every time I play in an event, I want to try and win, and so hopefully I can keep playing well and give myself a chance to win this week.” He certainly did.
Desmarchais will have to hold off a contingent of 17 players within four shots of the lead with 36 holes to play.
Three players still have a shot at winning the overall points title, with Cao (first) and Pistorius (second) both distancing themselves from No. 3 Evan Holmes, who could only muster an even-par 71. Holmes is tied for 65th and will have to turn things around Thursday to make the cut. Cao and Pistorius both shot 67s and are tied for 19th. For Cao, it was a case of what might have been. He was 8-under through 16 holes after a birdie on the par-5. Cao gave back half of his gains for the day when he made consecutive double bogeys on Nos. 17 and 18 for a disappointing close to his day.
Getting off to a fast start is nothing new for Leonard. At last week’s Canada Life Series tournament, also at TPC Toronto, Leonard fired an opening 66 followed by a 2-under 69 that left him tied for the lead with Cao and Andrew J. Funk with a round to play. Leonard closed with a 75 that left him tied for ninth. He seemingly forgot about that frustrating final round, although it took him a while to get going. Playing the Heathlands Course’s back nine first, Leonard made two birdies and two bogeys to turn at even-par. He then turned it on, making four consecutive birdies—and seven total—over his final nine to shoot a 29, matching the low nine-hole score of the Series (Blair Bursey in the third round of the second Bear Mountain tournament).
“Funny enough, I switched my putting grip through six holes and kind of went off after that on the back nine,” said Leonard, who went with the claw grip for his final 12 holes. “It was perfect with no wind and easy to take advantage of it out there. I decided it was worth a change and it worked out.”
Did you know Drew Nesbitt, part of a large group tied for seventh, played two PGA TOUR events in 2019? He Monday-qualified into The Honda Classic. Nesbitt shot rounds of 71-71-77 but didn’t make the secondary cut. He earned $11,832. Three months later, after opening with a 66 at the RBC Canadian Open, Nesbitt shot a 75 to miss the cut.
Canada Life Series Points List
Through Canada Life Series at TPC Toronto: Heathlands Course
Third of four events
Andrew J. Funk
• The winner of the Canada Life Points List at the conclusion of this tournament earns a playing spot in the 2021 RBC Canadian Open on the PGA TOUR. The invitation is courtesy of Golf Canada. He also earns conditional 2021 Mackenzie Tour status and six guaranteed tournament starts. The players who finish Nos. 2-5 on the Points List also earn conditional status and are assured 2021 starts in two tournaments.
• Joey Savoie opened with a 7-under 64, making him the possessor of two of the six-lowest 18-hole scores during this summer’s Canada Life Series. Savoie also shot a 64 in the third round at the Bear Mountain Valley Course.
• Andrew Harrison got to 5-under in the opening round even with a double bogey-7 on his opening hole, the 10th at the Heathlands Course. He scratched his way back from that difficult start, making four birdies and four pars over his next nine holes to turn at 2-under. He played his final nine in 3-under, with four birdies and a bogey.
• In his last two rounds, Albert Pistorius has bogeyed his final hole of the day. Last week, in winning the first event at TPC Toronto at Osprey Valley, he bogeyed his 54th hole but still held on for a one-stroke victory. Wednesday, bogey-free through 17 holes, Pistorius bogeyed his closing hole—No. 9—to finish at 4-under.
• The first-round leader has won two of the first three Canada Life Series events. Evan Holmes and Yi Cao both led at the two Bear Mountain tournaments and parlayed their early advantages into wins. Conversely, Cao couldn’t convert his first-round lead into a triumph last week, with Albert Pistorius winning. Laurent Desmarchais’ two-shot, 18-hole advantage is the second largest first-round lead in the Series. Holmes was three ahead after the first round when he went on to win.
• Two years ago this month, Drew Nesbitt set the single-round PGA TOUR Latinoamerica scoring record when he shot a second-round 59 at the JHSF Aberto do Brasil (Brazil Open). He shot his 59 over two days, his final nine delayed by darkness. Saturday morning, he returned to Fazenda Boa Vista in Porto Feliz and made back-to-back eagles on No. 10. Amazingly, he had a bogey on No. 12 then made five consecutive pars before making his third eagle of the day and fourth of the round on the 18th hole to secure the 59. On his first nine late Friday afternoon, he had five birdies, three pars and a hole-in-one.
• Amateur Cougar Collins plays out of TPC Toronto at Osprey Valley, so he is familiar with the Heathlands Course. Collins, a Golf Canada Amateur Squad member, opened with a 1-under 70 and is tied for 45th. Last month, Collins won the 98th annual Ontario Men’s Amateur. He put his name on a winner’s list that includes past PGA TOUR players Mike Weir and Jon Mills and current TOUR player Corey Conners.
• There were 442 birdies and six eagles Wednesday, with $2,330 earned for charity. For each birdie a player makes during this 54-hole event, Canada Life is donating $5 through its Birdies for Kids initiative. In addition, Canada Life is donating $20 for every eagle. Money donated from the two events here in Caledon will go to Start2Finish, an organization that provides ongoing educational support to Canada’s at-risk children throughout their school years, nurturing mind, body and social health so they are empowered to graduate and succeed.
• “[Birdies for Kids] is a fantastic program. It’s a great charity and something that Canada Life has supported, and the way that they were able to find a method of supporting the charity and promoting it with the players, I thought that was fantastic. You can't say enough great things about a company like Canada Life and the impact they have in our communities,” said amateur Jordan Crampton.
Canada Life Birdies for Kids
First Round this Week
Canada Life Bonus
“I was putting it really well and seeing my lines on the greens. I was rolling it really well all day.” –Andrew Harrison
“Knowing the greens and the course and the lines off the tee is a lot nicer than coming in and getting one practice round, so I feel pretty comfortable out there now.” –Andrew Harrison
I’m pretty far down on the points list, but I would like to keep getting some red numbers out there the rest of the week.” –Andrew Harrison
“The irons I currently have are a little bit spinny, so even with trying to hit knock-down shots and suck [the ball] back, I couldn’t quite get close to the pin. I hit some pretty good shots that didn’t get the results.” –Albert Pistorius
“Even [Tuesday] I didn’t feel great. To come out here and hit some pretty decent shots—I think I only missed one green for the day—I’m happy with the round.” –Albert Pistorius
“I definitely took a break Saturday after the tournament then slowly got back into it. Honestly, I didn’t do much.” –Albert Pistorius on the day after his Canada Life Series win last week and his preparation this week
“I hit pretty much every fairway. The course was playing easy today compared to last week, and so there were plenty of birdie opportunities, and I was able to convert a few of those.” –Joey Savoie
“I think for me it’s just about enjoying it because I don't know if I'm going play golf again this year. Quite frankly I couldn’t care less about the rest. It’s just fun to have some events this year with the pandemic.” –Joey Savoie
“I didn’t really even play that bad (last week). I just went for a couple of pins that I shouldn’t have and made a couple of doubles in the fescue. Other than that, I played well, and I know that if I just kept playing the way I’m playing, I’m going to be up there.” –Brendan Leonard
“I was just hitting good shots and saw a few putts go in early, and it’s one of those things where you see a couple go in and you just pick good targets. I didn’t play the back nine so well last week, and I birdied 10 and had a good look on 11 so I just thought, Wow, this is just one of those days where things go well. I was happy to get a few under par and to keep it going.” –Jordan Crampton
First-Round Weather: Overcast and cool. High of 62. Wind NNE at 6-8 kph.