Wheeldon uses home-course advantage to take one-shot lead after 36 holes in Canada
April 27, 2022
By Sara Wright , PGATOUR.COM
- April 27, 2022
- Riley Wheeldon has made only two other Q-School appearances, both at Crowne Isle and both earning him status in the PGA TOUR Canada. (Media/PGA TOUR)
COURTENAY, British Columbia—Riley Wheeldon is definitely using a home-course advantage to his advantage, finishing his second round in a similar fashion to his first and leading the competition with a 10-under 134 after 36 holes at the Crowne Isle Resort and Golf Club on Wednesday.
Recording back-to-back 5-under 67s, the 31-year-old acknowledged that even though his score was the same, today felt different than yesterday.
“I putted really nicely today,” Wheeldon said. “Now, I didn’t hit the ball quite as well, but I felt really good over the putter.”
Wheeldon, whose PGA TOUR Canada career dates back to the Tour’s first season in 2013, has made only two other Q-School appearances, both at Crowne Isle and both earning him status in the PGA TOUR Canada. This time, however, his experience feels a bit different, as well.
“This is a lot different for me,” he added. “Sure, there’s still some stress and nerves, I still want to be competitive, but in the past, it has felt like life or death to me. I’m in a pretty good spot in my life right now and am just happy to be here, happy to see family. Whatever happens, happens, and so far it’s been good. I’ve seen most of these pins before and as long as I stay patient and keep having a good time, I should be alright.”
Yesterday’s leader, Max Sear recovered after his double bogey on No. 16 with back-to-back birdies to finish his second round with a 3-under 69 to sit tied in second with fellow Canadian Jared du Toit. Du Toit marked a strong round of 5-under 67 and now holds - with Sear - a two-shot lead over their countrymen Andrew Harrison and Brendan MacDougal who are tied in third with 7-under 137s. For the first time during the entire qualifying season, all top-five competitors hail from Canada.
Did you know Out of the 95 competitors in the field for this last PGA TOUR Canada qualifying event, 61 percent are Canadian. With a total of 58 players hailing from Canada, that number is 20 more all the past six events combined.
How the Tournament Works
With 95 players in this week’s field. Below is a breakdown of the various PGA TOUR Canada membership statuses available this week.
Exempt membership for the 2022 season
2nd through 9th (no ties)
Exempt through the reshuffle, which will occur approximately halfway through the season
10th through 30th (plus ties)
• There are seven amateurs playing at Crowne Isle Resort. Leading the way is Jeevan Sihota, tied for 29 after shooting a 2-over 144. Here is the rundown on the amateurs:
Jeevan Sihota (Canada)
Kamyar Yamini (Canada)
Zachary Stanger (U.S.)
Cole Ruelling (Canada)
Andrew Widjaja (Canada)
Hyunkook Jung (South Korea)
Kirk Chen (Canada)
• Riley Wheeldon started both of his days of competition off on the right foot with a birdie on No. 1. This Par-5 was actually the easiest hole of the course, however, with 33 birdies and three eagles made in the second round of action.
• Riley Wheeldon also birdied both par-3 holes No. 7 and No. 12 today, which, coincidentally, were yesterday’s two most difficult holes (score-wise.)
• Max Sear has hit an eagle in both rounds of competition, thus far. In the first round, hitting a 25-foot putt on No. 15, a par-5, and in the second, a huge (approximately 45 foot) putt on the Par-5 10th hole.
• Of the top five Canadians currently in the lead after 36 holes, Andrew Harrison, who shot a low round 6-under 66, is the only one to record a clean card for the day. His second-day score boosted him 10 positions to tie Brandan MacDougall at fourth.
• Robert Hudson, who continues to play with borrowed clubs after the airlines misplaced his bags, has moved up 15 positions to a tie at sixth after 36 holes, shooting a 5-under 67 on the day.
• The biggest jump of the day, however, was Andrew Strother, who found himself leaping 24 spots after starting the tournament with a 2-over 74, then shooting a 4-under 68 today to bring him to 16th, tied with six others.
• The course, as a whole, played a bit easier today, with 31 players breaking par today. (Only 20 broke par in the opening round.)
“I always say No. 7 is probably the hardest hole on the course. I just know you have to miss left there and I did that today and was able to chip in (from 30 feet.) It wasn’t a crazy hard chip, but it was nice to see it go in.” – Riley Wheeldon
“I kind of scrambled pretty hard on the front. It was a little different than yesterday. It wasn’t as stress free, but I scored really well. I got everything out of my round and then just had one hiccup on 16 where I didn’t commit to the shot and hit it in the water and made double. I’d rather make that mistake now, than a day or two from now.” – Max Sear on his double on 16.
“I was able to sink a 40- to 50-foot putt on 10 for eagle and then came back with two birdies to finish, which was nice.” – Max Sear
“I played pretty solid. I was really solid off the tee, so I kept myself out of trouble there. Just stuck to my game plan and kept the ball in front of me and made a bunch of putts coming in off the back nine.” –Andrew Harrison on shooting the low score of the round, 6-under 66.
“If I can continue to hit it well off the tee, I should be able to take care of things going forward.” – Andrew Harrison
“Jared and Bill have been so helpful here at the club. Without them, there’s no way I would have been able to compete. I wouldn’t have had anything to play with. They’ve given me clothes, socks, shoes. I went to the tee with one contact in today and five minutes before I teed off, an optometrist I called earlier drove over and gave me a couple samples. There’s no way I would have shot what I did today with only one good eye. I’ve learned a lot about traveling. A lesson well-learned, I guess.” –Robert Hudson on shooting a 5-under 67 today.
“I’ve spent so much time worrying about where my bags are and trying to get them back that I guess I haven’t had enough time to worry about the golf. I got a set of clubs that I kind of made work. I love the putter, which has been the key difference.” – Robert Hudson
“Not all the irons fit me perfect, but I’ve adapted. It’s been a bit windy and I’ve just tried to swing smooth and make solid contact with them. I’m trying to be patient, look at the mountains and be happy I’m here. At least I have my health, for now, so all things considered, it’s going all right.” –Robert Hudson
“I made an up-and-down for birdie on No. 1, so a nice start for the day, then birdied No. 8, which was playing a bit harder today, then a birdie on 10 and made a really nice putt on No. 12, probably like 50 feet, so pretty solid. I’ve just been missing in the right places. Fortunately, I’ve been hitting great putts all week and thankfully a few caught the hole.” – Jared du Toit
Second-Round Weather: Rain was expected, but it stayed dry with a high of 50 and partly sunny skies. Wind from the N at 5-10 mph.