Tour resume its schedule at “PEI’s Finest”
Canada’s premiere professional golf tour sets up shop in the Maritimes, arriving at Cardigan, PEI for its latest event and at the home of “PEI’s Finest” – the collection of three golf courses includes Brudenell and the Links at Crowbush Cove along with Dundarave Golf Course, the host venue. Getting to PEI has not been without its challenge this year with weather impacting the schedule.
PGA Tour Canada Makes History
For the first time since the circuit began, in 2013, the Tour canceled a tournament because of the weather. More than 10 inches of rain fell over a 10-day period making conditions unplayable at the Elk Ridge Open in Saskatchewan.
At the same time, it tightened up the Fortinet Cup race. The loss of the tournament represents a 10 percent reduction in playing opportunity, leaving just eight remaining tournaments to solidify Fortinet Cup positions, earn a spot in the season-ending championship and a shot at the (Canadian) $25,000 bonus to the overall points leader.
“It’s going to make everything more jammed up,” said Jake Knapp, who is currently third in the Fortinet standings. “The more events you play, the more it’s going to get spread out. Right now, everything’s so bunched up. And then obviously getting rid of an event is going to bunch it up even more. So, every week is just super important.”
Wil Bateman, winner of the ATB Classic in Edmonton, leads the points race with 531. Scott Stevens, winner of the season-opening Royal Beach Victoria Open is second, with 500. Knapp has 329. He lost a playoff to Stevens in the first tournament.
Now, more than 4,300 kilometers away, PGA TOUR Canada makes its next stop, at the Prince Edward Island Open presented by IMP Solutions. The 72-hole tournament, which begins Thursday and concludes Sunday at the Dundarave Golf Course, carries a (Canadian) $200,000 purse. The winner earns $36,000 and 500 Fortinet Cup points.
“It was definitely a long day of travel,” Stevens said. “But I think everybody is kind of dealing with the same thing.”
This week, Stevens added, is just about trying to stay positive.
Better weather is in the forecast. There's a risk of thunderstorms on a couple of days, yet nothing like the rain that fell at the Elk Ridge Resort is predicted.
There was rain and lots of it, enough to keep players like Yi Cao and Knapp putting around—quite literally—in their hotel rooms, hoping for a break in the weather.
“At that point, to be honest, I didn’t want to be sitting in bed or sitting on the couch without doing anything,” said Cao, who worked on his putting during the lengthy delay. “So, it was like keep myself busy; that’s all.” Cao, a 27-year-old from China who lives full time in Canada, also chatted with his father while attempting to stay sharp.
Knapp, a 28-year-old former UCLA standout, worked on his putting, as well. He also used the time to get some rest.
“In situations like that there’s not a whole lot you can do,” Knapp said. “It’s a bummer. Any time with weather and stuff, it’s all out of your control, right? So, there’s not a lot you can do. You just try to make the best of it and focus on the next week.”
The lost time included travel and preparation investment, and while everybody at least played a little golf Thursday, only 78 of the 156 golfers at the Elk Ridge Open were able to complete their first rounds last week.
There are 34 players from Canada in this week’s event, including Jeevan Sihota, Chris Crisologo, Jared du Toit, Eric Banks, current Fortinet Cup leader, Will Bateman and the former 2-time World Long Drive champion, Jamie Sadlowski. Players from other nations include the United States (105), Australia (2), China (4), Taiwan (1), England (1), France (2), Germany (2), Hong Kong (1), Ireland (1), Mexico (1), Switzerland (1), and Zimbabwe (1). The Tour breaks for 2 week after this event, returning on July 21st at TPC Toronto.