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PGA TOUR Canada’s season culminates with the Fortinet Cup Championship in Calgary

Sam Choi Sam Choi

CALGARY Alberta -- This week’s Fortinet Cup Championship will likely determine who takes a giant leap forward in their career as a professional golfer.

The Fortinet Cup Championship is the final stop on the 10-event PGA TOUR Canada schedule and features the season’s top-60 players battling it out over four days in a no-cut format at the Country Hills Golf Club. This is the final opportunity to earn points in the Fortinet Cup standings, the season-long contest that determines the player of the year.

With that title comes the big reward. The winner of the Fortinet Cup receives a $25,000 bonus, but perhaps more importantly will be fully exempt for the 2024 Korn Ferry Tour, the final step before attaining their ultimate goal to reach the PGA TOUR.

That’s plenty of motivation for points leader Sam Choi, who immigrated from South Korea with his father when he was in the ninth grade to pursue his dream of playing professional golf at the highest level. Choi qualified for PGA TOUR Canada via the PGA TOUR University rankings, finishing 11th in the 2023 class. In his rookie season, Choi has been the model for consistency as he’s made all nine cuts, seven top-10s and secured one victory.

“I feel fortunate to see my name at the top of the leaderboard. It’s good,” Choi said. “My goal was to finish top five. I made it this far and hope to get the job done. Getting a full Korn Ferry Tour ride is good, way better than having conditional status.”

Same for Davis Lamb, currently second on the points list, who remembers whacking balls down the fairway with those oversized plastic clubs while playing alongside his father, Greg. The journey for Lamb has been remarkable, as he began the season with little status and won two events – the first after getting into the field as a Monday qualifier.

“I’m going to have to go out there with my foot on the gas again,” Lamb said. “I’d like to finish in that No. 1 spot, but I know my best golf will take care of that, so I’m just trying to do that.”

Canadian Etienne Papineau, Hayden Springer and Stuart Macdonald round out the top five spots and will be trying to protect their position in the standings.

“It’s just trying to put the result to the side and stay in the present and just play your game,” Macdonald said. “Finishing top five would be nice and try to improve status, but at the same time I’m not too worried. I feel like I’m in a pretty good space.”

A win this week is worth enough points - 600 to be exact - to theoretically lift any of the 60 players in the field into one of the top five spots. That includes No. 60 Cooper Dossey, who was the last player to qualify at last week’s CMRC Championship.

“You know, I’m pretty far back from the top five and think I would have to get a win and have some guys play poorly,” Dossey said. “I just want to have fun and continue to get better on the attitude side of golf. Attitude out here is hard. All of us want it so bad and this game eats you up.”

Winning on the PGA TOUR Canada definitely has its advantages. The top seven players on the points list each have at least one victory – Choi (Windsor Championship), Lamb (ATB Classic and Quebec Open powered by Videotron Business), Papineau (Royal Beach Victoria Open presented by Times Colonist), Springer (CentrePort Canada Rail Park Manitoba Open), Macdonald (Commissionaires Ottawa Open), John Pak (Elk Ridge Saskatchewan Open presented by Brandt), and Davis Shore (Osprey Valley Open presented by Votorantim Cimentos CBM Aggregates). Last week Yi Cao won the CRMC Championship presented by Gertens, moved up to No. 9 and carries plenty of momentum into the week.

“There’s no cutline, so I don’t really have to think about it,” Cao said. “I’m going to play four days in a row. It’s go-time for sure.”