DUPONT, Washington—On a tight leaderboard late in the final round of the PGA TOUR Canada Qualifying Tournament at The Home Course, American Taylor Funk turned it on at the right time. Funk birdied two of his final three holes Friday to pull away at the end and defeat Canadian Lawren Rowe by two shots. Funk, who fired a closing, 3-under 69 and finished at 13-under, will be exempt for the entire 2022 PGA TOUR Canada season that begins in six weeks. Rowe, along with seven others—amateur Noah Woolsey, Scott Stevens, Blake Maum, Cameron John, Chris Crisologo, Christian Muscarello and Talon Supak are exempt into the first half of the season’s schedule. Four players played off for the final spot, with Matt Echelmeier and Jorge Villar dropping out first before Supak defeated Blake Hathcoat on the fourth extra hole to earn the final exempt position. 

On the 16th tee, Funk checked the scoreboard on his phone and saw he was trailing by a stroke. “I saw Rowe was 12-under, which was one ahead of me. I’m going into 16, which is a reachable par-5. I thought I needed to get it at least to 13(-under) to have a chance at a playoff. I expected him to go 1-under over the last three, at least,” Funk explained. Instead, Rowe played his final three holes in 1-over to finish at 11-under, while Funk had a tap-in birdie at the 16th, another tap-in at No. 17 and lipped out for birdie to close. 

“They were both stress-free, which was nice,” Funk said of his two late birdies. “I didn’t know where I stood at that point—maybe needed that (birdie on 18), maybe I didn’t. I came in and saw [Rowe] made a bogey. 

““It’s all been a blur. It just seems like we’ve been playing all day every day. Things got progressively better over the last couple of days. I started to strike the ball a bit better, which kept a little pressure off my putting,” said Rowe of his 70-70 start followed by his 68-69 finish.

Although Funk, son of PGA TOUR and PGA TOUR Champions veteran Fred Funk, has held PGA TOUR-affiliated Tour status only once—in 2019, on PGA TOUR Latinoamérica, he has also played tournaments on the PGA TOUR, Korn Ferry Tour and PGA TOUR Canada. He was more than happy with his play, especially after a poor start. On Tuesday, in his first round, he was 2-over through seven holes when officials pulled players off the course due to unplayable conditions due to the rain. 

“I think that was a good thing for me. I played well from there on in,” said Funk, who immediately birdied No. 8, his first hole once he was back on the course. He put together a 1-under 71 and only shot rounds in the 60s after that. He was also pleased with his final-round, back-nine play. After he birdied the par-4 11th to move to 12-under, he bogeyed the par-3 14th that left him needing some late-round heroics, which he provided. 

“It is satisfying. It’s my first pro win, and I’m happy about it,” Funk explained, thinking about what’s in store this summer. “I’m just going to chase this Tour around, venture through Canada and hopefully see Banff again. That place is gorgeous. I have about a month to prepare, but I’m definitely going to take a few days off after this one.”