July 10, 2013, (ISN) – Last week it was announced Syncrude would remain as the title sponsor for the Syncrude Boreal Open presented by AECON through the 2016 season, keeping the tournament as a must-see event in Fort McMurray each summer.
This week sees the third playing of the event and follows up a dramatic tournament in 2012, where Cory Renfrew defeated eventual Order of Merit winner Matt Hill in an exciting four-hole playoff.
Syncrude Boreal Open presented by AECON
Chase for The Five heats up
With one event in the books, the race for the top five spots on the Order of Merit is underway. Wil Collins and Stephen Gangluff, both winners in the first two weeks of the inaugural PGA TOUR Canada season, are in solid position to contend for one of the five Web.com Tour cards in 2014. The current standings are as follows:
T-1. Stephen Gangluff – $27,000.00
T-1. Wil Collins – $27,000.00
3. Tyler Aldridge – $19,109.64
4. Nick Taylor – $17,106.25
5. John Ellis – $13,525.00
Jamie Sadlowski brings the longball to Fort Mac
If loud booms are heard throughout Fort McMurray this week, they won’t be from dynamite blasts at nearby mining sites – they’re likely coming from the driver of two-time RE/MAX World Long Drive Champion Jamie Sadlowski, who will tee it up in this week’s Syncrude Boreal Open presented by AECON. Sadowski, who routinely drives the ball over 400 yards, is playing on a sponsor’s exemption into the tournament for the second straight year and will conduct a long drive exhibition on Friday night after the second round.
The St. Paul, Alberta native is making the transition from long drive professional to professional golfer, and made the cut on the Web.com Tour’s Albertson’s Boise Open in 2011.
Fort McMurray Golf Club poses a different kind of test
While players were encouraged to bomb away on the 7,300-yard Dakota Dunes Golf Links last week in Saskatoon, the tree-lined fairways at Fort McMurray Golf Club will pose a challenge of a different kind to players, punishing wayward shots and making course management a priority. The 6,912-yard track winds its way through boreal forest and along the Athabasca River, making the natural hazards the most dangerous ones players will face this week.
Will Canadian streak continue at SBO?
The first two playings of the Syncrude Boreal Open presented by AECON have seen a Canadian champion, with Sherwood, Park Alberta’s Danny Sahl claiming victory in the event’s inaugural playing in 2011 and Victoria, British Columbia’s Cory Renfrew defeating Sarnia, Ontario’s Matt Hill in a playoff (on Canada Day no less) last season. The first two PGA TOUR Canada events of 2013 have seen American winners – Stephen Gangluff in Victoria and Wil Collins last week in Saskatoon – but if history holds, it could be a canuck’s week to win in Fort McMurray.
Freedom 55 Financial Canadian Player of the Week
Last week at the Dakota Dunes Open presented by SaskTel, Calgary, Alberta’s Ryan Yip finished tied for second at 20-under par and was named Freedom 55 Financial Canadian Players of the Week, earning a $1,500 prize. Yip finished tied with fellow Canadian Nick Taylor, but had the low final round – a 6-under 66) – and was declared the winner. The award will be presented to the low Canadian each week, and the highest Canadian on the season-ending Order of Merit will be named Freedom 55 Financial Canadian Player of the Year and earn a $10,000 cash prize.
Former Golf Canada stars lead sponsor’s exemptions
As part of PGA TOUR Canada’s ongoing relationship with Golf Canada to develop elite-level players, two members or recent graduates of Golf Canada’s National Amateur Team will tee it up in each of the first seven PGA TOUR Canada events. 2011 and 2012 Canadian Amateur champ Mackenzie Hughes will follow up his US Open appearance at Country Hills this week along with 2010 Canadian Amateur champion Albin Choi.
Just two players have posted top-10s in each of the first two events in 2013 – Nick Taylor (T-4 in Victoria, T-2 in Saskatoon) and Chris Epperson (T-8 in Victoria, 10th in Saskatoon.
This week’s Monday Qualifiers took place at two sites in Edmonton and Fort McMurray.
* = PGA TOUR Canada member
Bold denotes Canadian
Edmonton – 8 spots
1. Alex Kang* – 66
2. Jonathon Krick* – 67
3. Jordan Mitchell* – 68
T-4. Daniel Brunson – 69
T-4. Mark Baldwin – 69
T-6. Brett McNallie – 70
T-6. Brett Nymeyer* – 70
T-6. Kevin McAlpine* – 70
Fort McMurray – 2 spots
1. Fergal Rafferty* – 67
2. Mike Grob* – 72
Jimmy Walker led a list of PGA TOUR Canada alumni and finished tied for second at The Greenbrier Classic on the PGA TOUR last week. This week’s John Deere Classic features 29 PGA TOUR Canada alumni including Steve Stricker, David Hearn, Ken Duke and James Hahn.
2009 PGA TOUR Canada Player of the Year Graham DeLaet gained entry into the Open Championship next week via his Official World Golf Ranking. DeLaet currently sits 67th in the ranking and has three top-10s in his last six PGA TOUR starts.
This week’s field includes 58 Canadians, 86 Americans and players from 16 countries including Argentina, Mexico, Chile, Brazil, Guatemala, England, Scotland, Switzerland, Germany, Thailand, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.