Late surge gives Chanaud 18-hole lead at The Home Course
June 08, 2021
By Staff, FORMETOUR.COM
- June 08, 2021
- Michael Chanaud had seven birdies and two bogey in today's opening round at The Home Course. (Photo Michael Chanaud/Instagram)
DUPONT, Washington—Before boarding his six-hour flight from Baltimore to Seattle, Michael Chanaud kissed his two -year-old son, Weston, goodbye. Chanaud then did Weston proud in the first round Tuesday at The Home Course, shooting a 5-under 67 to take a one-stroke lead over a quartet of players—Canada’s Blair Hamilton, Ian Kim and Callum Davison and fellow American Eric Lilleboe. The medalist this week earns Forme Tour status for the entire season.
Chanaud began his day with a somewhat indifferent start and was even-par through four holes, with a birdie, a bogey and two pars. He put things in motion after that, playing his final 14 holes in 5-under, with six birdies and a bogey. No. 8 was the surprising hole of his round, especially what looked to be a routine birdie became anything but. On the par-5, Chanaud was in front of the green in two. He chipped, trying to use the backstop to send his ball back toward the hole. “The backstop didn’t work,” he chuckled after his round, “so the ball ended up being 25 feet away.” Naturally, from there, Chanaud drained the putt.
“That was one of the interesting birdies of the day,” he added.
He kept his round going on the next hole, after flying his approach shot over the green and short-siding himself to the back-of-the-green pin position. “There I actually did use the backstop (with the chip), bringing it right back to the hole, and I made a three-footer for par.” His final birdies of his round came at Nos. 10, 11, 13 and 17, putting him in solid position with 54 holes to play. Chanaud has never played an official round in any PGA TOUR-affiliated Tour tournament.
This week, Weston is staying with his mother in Delaware and his grandparents, Chanaud’s parents, who also call The First State, in Bethany Beach.
Coincidentally, while Chanaud was in the last group off Tuesday, Hamilton was first off the tee and posted the initial 68 of the day, a score matched by three others. Hamilton last played a PGA TOUR-affiliated Tour in 2018, when he held conditional Mackenzie Tour status. In November 2020, he suffered a back injury while working out, a setback that left him wondering if he would play competitive golf again. After an MRI revealed surgery wouldn’t be necessary, Hamilton has spent every day during the last four months rehabbing in the gym.
“If it’s not a full-on training session, it’s at least 40 minutes of mobility work,” said Hamilton after his five-birdie, one-bogey performance.Blair Hamilton had five birdies and one bogey during his opening round of 68. (Media/PGA TOUR)
South African and permanent Canadian resident Albert Pistorius is one of three players at 3-under and tied for sixth, along with American Hagen Fell and Mexico’s Jose Narro, only two shots behind Chanaud.
Did you know Blair Hamilton qualified for the 2013 U.S. Amateur at The Country Club in Massachusetts? In the process, he became the first University of Houston player to play in the tournament since 2007, and by winning in the first-round, he was the first Cougar since 1999 to win a match in that storied tournament.
How the Tournament Works
Sixty-two players entered this tournament. Below is a breakdown of the various Forme Tour membership statuses available this week.
This is a 72-hole, no-cut event. There will be playoffs, if necessary, for the medalist position and for the fifth and final position available.
Players in this week’s field come from six countries (Canada, India, Mexico, South Africa, Sweden and the United States).
Michael Chanaud has never held status on any PGA TOUR-affiliated Tour. His lone start on any Tour came at the 2020 Evans Scholar Invitational outside Chicago, where he missed the cut. Chanaud was set to play in the San Antonio Forme Tour Qualifying Tournament in 2019, but his son’s due date was that week, so Chanaud withdrew. Last year, the Tour canceled Chanaud’s Forme Tour Qualifying Tournament because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
After Michael Chanaud became a father in 2019, he said his golf became “a lot more serious” as he told himself he couldn’t keep playing bad golf with a son relying on him. “I started practicing a lot more, and now I have to schedule around him because I have (custody) every other weekend. My parents are very helpful, and they love to see him,” he said.
Two of Canadian Ian Kim’s three bogeys Tuesday came via three-putts. “There are a couple of long par-3s. It’s pretty tough to get it close on those, but I also made my fair share (of putts),” he said.
Ian Kim is based in British Columbia, and this tournament is only his second competitive event of the year. He played in one two-round Vancouver Golf Tour tournament earlier in 2021. Kim arrived in the U.S. on June 1, checked into a hotel two miles from The Home Course and played four practice rounds in advance of this tournament. “I was nervous coming in. I haven’t competed in a while,” he noted.
On No. 7, Eric Lilleboe made his second bogey of the day when he hit into the water on the par-4 but was still able to get up and down. “That was a good bogey,” he said.
Of Eric Lilleboe’s putting, he was quicker to talk about some of his two-putt pars than he was about his six birdies. “I bailed out on a couple of greens. I had a 55-footer, where you’re happy with par. I did well on the greens today,” he said.
Eric Lilleboe earned conditional Forme Tour status in 2020 at the Dothan, Alabama, Qualifying Tournament, the last Q-School before the Tour eventually canceled the season due to the pandemic. That exemption carries over to 2021, but he’s hoping to improve his status with a top-five finish this week.Jared du Toit made a PGA TOUR start earlier this year at the Farmers Insurance Open in La Jolla, California. (File Photo/PGA TOUR)
Canadian Jared du Toit holds PGA TOUR Latinoamerica status, but he’s skipping this week’s The Club at Weston Hills Open outside Fort Lauderdale, Florida, to attempt to earn Forme Tour status. Du Toit has already this season played in tournaments on PGA TOUR Latinoamerica, the Korn Ferry Tour and the PGA TOUR.
Through four tournaments, Jared du Toit, the medalist of the PGA TOUR Latinoamerica Mexico Qualifying Tournament in 2020, is 78 on the Points List. His best finish was a tie for 39th at the Puerto Plata Open in the Dominican Republic in December 2020.
There were 21 under-par scores in the opening round, with 29 at par or better.
“I played two GPro events leading up to this. I ended up shooting 2-over in both of them, but the golf courses are completely different than this. It was a lot of placement golf, and I knew this golf course would set up way better for my game. This is just long, wide-open golf.” –Michael Chanaud on his comfort level at The Home Course
“I hit the driver well, and I want to continue to hit that when I can. I will attack the pins when possible.” –Michael Chanaud
“It was cold and into the wind (on the first tee). I hit it into the right and into the fescue. I mis-clubbed out of the fescue, which is easy to do. I ended up going into a bunker you shouldn’t be in. From there, I played a really solid round of golf.” –Eric Lilleboe on his opening-hole bogey
“I was doing a single-leg, pistol-squat down into a Russian twist. [The injury] forced me to have to change my lifestyle. It changed what I ate, how much I trained.” –Blair Hamilton on the back injury that forced him off the golf course for six months
“My short game held together, I drove the ball nicely and hit a bunch of greens. It was pretty stress-free.” –Blair Hamilton
“It’s nice to get off to a good start. I’ve worked hard getting ready for the event. Obviously, there are so many guys in my situation. The last 18 months, there hasn’t been a whole lot of playing opportunities.” –Blair Hamilton
“I felt like I turned the corner with my game a couple of weeks ago. Playing elite-level golf is not like riding a bike. It doesn’t come back as quickly as you would like.” –Blair Hamilton
“I feel good about what I’m doing. I have a good direction with my game. I just have to keep chipping away.” –Blair Hamilton
“I kept it in play off the tee and never really found myself out of position.” –Ian Kim
“I was a little surprised how calm I felt on the first tee. I was nervous leading up to it, but I felt pretty calm when we started.” –Ian Kim
“I felt like I got to know the course pretty well.” –Ian Kim on his four Home Course practice rounds prior to the start of the tournament
Sunny and cool, with a high of 63. There was a brief trace of rain in the afternoon. Wind E at 3-6 mph.