PGA TOUR Canada Season set to begin in Victoria
VICTORIA, British Columbia— PGA TOUR Canada kicks off its ninth—and final—season this week, at the Royal Beach Victoria Open presented by Times Colonist in British Columbia. For the second consecutive year, players will be competing for the Fortinet Cup, which goes to the Player of the Year at season’s end.
The Royal Beach Victoria Open is the first tournament of the 10-event season, which concludes September 7-10 with the Fortinet Cup Championship in Calgary, Alberta. In between, players will visit seven additional Canadian cities and make its second consecutive stop in the United States, in Minnesota. Besides another trip to the U.S., six provinces are hosting tournaments—British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Alberta (twice), Quebec, Ontario (three times) and Manitoba.
PGA TOUR Canada’s membership roster this season features players who earned playing privileges via the Tour’s six Qualifying Tournaments over the last five months, newly minted professionals from PGA TOUR University and returning members from 2022, and those who finished inside the top 60 in last season’s Fortinet Cup standings.
Jimmy Jones, winner of last week’s final Qualifying Tournament, will try to keep his momentum going in Victoria and throughout the entire 2023 season. The son of late LPGA professional and Canadian Hall of Famer Dawn Coe-Jones, he will be one of the local favorites this week. Born in Tampa, Florida, he now plays out of Lake Cowichan, British Columbia, about an hour from this week’s event. Jones was the gallery favorite a week ago when he was medalist at the qualifier at the Crown Isle Resort in Courtenay, British Columbia and shot 13-under 275 to beat Canadian Max Sear and U.S. player Carr Vernon by one shot to complete a dream week.
“The nerves were real,” Jones said. “Exciting nerves, too. This win is going to bring me to tears.”
In Victoria, Jones will be making his 19th PGA TOUR Canada start, while looking for his first top-25 finish. He’s joined by 30 other Canadian players in this week’s field.
Here are 10 other players to watch in this week’s season-opener:
Matthew Anderson: The Mississauga, Ontario, native, finished his collegiate career at the University of San Francisco on a heater, with four consecutive top-10 finishes, most recently sharing medalist honors at the NCAA Regional in Las Vegas and then finishing in 11th at the NCAA Championship last month at Grayhawk Golf Club in Scottsdale, Arizona. The Golf Canada product has a proven track record in his home country, too, most recently finishing fourth at the PGA TOUR Canada Qualifying Tournament in Courtenay, B.C. last week.
Brian Carlson: The Connecticut native and Purdue University graduate made 31 starts on PGA TOUR Canada between 2018 and 2022, breaking through a year ago with a win at the Prince Edward Island Open. Carlson, who has a twin sister who is a nuclear medicine technologist, had four additional top-25s in 2022. One of those came when he tied for 21st at Royal Beach.
Cooper Dossey: The Texan came up one shot short of making the playoff between Scott Stevens and Jake Knapp at the 2022 Royal Beach Victoria Open and settled for third place. Dossey finished with three top-10s in 10 starts. He played collegiately at Baylor with former teammate and current Korn Ferry Tour member Ryan Grider, who is also in the field this week in Victoria.
Harry Ellis: He won the Qualifying Tournament in Weston Hills, Florida, earlier this season. In 2012, at age 16, he became the youngest winner of the English Amateur, besting the record set by Nick Faldo. Ellis won the Amateur Championship in 2017 to become the third player to win the English Am and the Amateur Championship. A native of Southampton, England, Ellis played collegiately at Florida State and turned professional in 2018.
Stephen Franken: The former North Carolina State standout won the Qualifying Tournament at the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail at Highland Oaks in Dothan, Alabama. Franken has made 63 Korn Ferry Tour starts, with five top-10 finishes. He also has made 12 PGA TOUR Canada appearances.
Jason Hong: A native of Australia, he won the Qualifying Tournament in Litchfield Park, Arizona, and was one of the nation’s top juniors, representing his country at the World Junior Championships. Hong completed the final two years at Lipscomb University in Tennessee after transferring from Purdue.
Etienne Papineau: The native of Mercier, Quebec, recently played in the RBC Canadian Open at Oakdale Golf & Country Club, but missed the cut. He played a full PGA TOUR Canada schedule in 2022 and posted three top-10s, the last coming at the Fortinet Cup Championship. Papineau tied for fifth in the 2022 Royal Beach Victoria Open, shooting 64 in the final round.
Charlie Reiter: He won the PGA TOUR Canada Qualifying Tournament in April at Soboba Springs Golf Club in San Jacinto, California. Reiter shot 64 on the final day to finish at 15-under 274 and pass Kyle Karazissis, who shot 74 and three-putted the final green to finish one shot back. Reiter is a product of the University of San Diego. He finished second at the 2020 California Amateur Championship and qualified for the 2022 U.S. Open.
Cameron Sisk: He made the cut in seven of nine PGA TOUR Canada starts in 2022 and had two top-five finishes, including a runner-up showing at the Ontario Open. A product of Arizona State, Sisk has a twin brother who plays at the University of Southern California.
Jonathan Yaun: A native of Florida who played at Liberty University, Yaun won the Qualifying Tournament at the Mission Inn Resort and Club in Howey-in-the-Hills, Florida. He is a two-time winner in college, including the Atlantic Sun Conference Championship.
A year ago
Scott Stevens defeated Jake Knapp on the third playoff hole to win the championship. Stevens, who graduated from the University of South Carolina in 2019, birdied the final hole to catch Knapp, a UCLA graduate, at 16-under 264. Stevens birdied all three playoff holes to clinch his first PGA TOUR Canada win. Stevens went on to finish fourth in the Fortinet Cup standings and graduated to the 2023 Korn Ferry Tour.
“It was a special event to get the season started,” Stevens said. “It’s definitely a tournament I’ll remember forever.”
About the venue
The Uplands Golf Club in Victoria has hosted the tournament since 2009, back to its days as a part of the Canadian Tour schedule. Designed by architect Bill Robinson, it plays 6,420 yards to par-70. Cody Blick, who now plays on the Korn Ferry Tour, set the tournament course record of 60 in 2017. Roger Sloan, who grew up in British Columbia, shot a 61 there in 2010 and Andrew Roque shot 61 in 2012.
At season’s end
Following the completion of the 2023 PGA TOUR Canada season, the PGA TOUR Latinoamérica and PGA TOUR Canada will merge into a singular Tour to form PGA TOUR Americas, which will begin play in February 2024. PGA TOUR Americas will consist of 16 events contested across Latin America, Canada and the United States from February through September. The top 10 finishers on the season-long points list will earn Korn Ferry Tour membership for the following season.
DATES: June 15-18, 2023
OFFICIAL NAME: Royal Beach Victoria Open presented by Times Colonist
OFFICIAL SOCIALS: Twitter/Instagram/FB: @PGATOURCanada @RoyalBeachOpen/@RoyalBeachVicOpen
SCHEDULE: First of 10 official events of the 2023 PGA TOUR Canada season
VENUE: Uplands Golf Club
PAR/YARDS: 70 (35-35), 6,420
FIELD: 156 players from 12 countries
COUNTRY BREAKDOWN: Australia (3), Canada (31), China (1), England (3), France (1), Germany (2), Hong Kong (1), Japan (1), Korea (1), Mexico (2), Switzerland (1), United States (118).
POINTS LIST: Winner earns 500 points
PURSE MONEY: (Canadian) $200,000 (winner claims Canadian $36,000)
CUT: Top 60 professional (and ties, plus any amateurs inside the top-60)
FORTINET CUP: The season-long points chase mirrors the competitive structure of the points-based competitions on the PGA TOUR, PGA TOUR Champions and PGA TOUR Latinoamérica. Through the sponsorship, the Fortinet Cup offers a $100,000 player bonus pool—with $25,000 to the winner—to the top Fortinet Cup points-winners. The top Fortinet Cup points-earner gains membership to the full 2024 Korn Ferry Tour season, while the second through fifth finishers earn conditional membership in the 2024 season. All top-five finishers are also exempt into the final stage of 2023 PGA TOUR Qualifying Tournament and those finishing sixth through 25th are exempt into the Second Stage. In addition, the Fortinet Cup winner will also receive an exemption into the PGA TOUR’s 2023 Fortinet Championship. Finally, the top 60 players on the points list will earn membership on the 2024 PGA TOUR Americas through the Latin American swing.
TITLE SPONSOR: Royal Beach is an oceanfront community development comprised of single-family homes, townhomes, and condominiums, along with a variety of shops, services and amenities located in Colwood, 20 minutes from downtown Victoria. It is a joint venture between Reliance Properties and Seacliff Construction.
BENEFITING CHARITY: The Salvation Army
Thursday, June 15 First Round
Friday, June 16 Second Round
Saturday, June 17 Third Round
Sunday, June 18 Final Round
OPEN-QUALIFYING: This year, the tournament conducted two Monday qualifiers in Victoria, B.C. - one at George Vale Golf Club and one at Bear Mountain (Mountain Course) - with four playing spots available for the best-performing players at each 18-hole event. The following qualified:
From Gorge Vale (Par 72)
Michael Slesinski (U.S.) 63
Art Griffin (U.S.) 66
Tyler Johnson (U.S.) 66
Andrew Farraye (U.S.) 67*
From Bear Mountain (Par 71)
Spencer Soosman (U.S.) 66
Trey Shirley (U.S.) 66
Max Herrmann (Germany)* 67**
Alejandro Madariaga (Mexico) 67**
* Qualified via a three-players-for-one-spot playoff
**Qualified via a three-players-for-two-spots playoff