July 17, 2013 (ISN) – When 156 players tee it up at The Players Cup this week, they’ll be aiming for more than just the $27,000 winner’s prize; the top three on the PGA TOUR Canada Order of Merit will earn exemptions into the RBC Canadian Open next week on the PGA TOUR, getting a chance to tee it up beside the world’s best players.
Two-time PGA TOUR Canada winner Eugene Wong has already been given a sponsor’s exemption and will tee it up alongside PGA TOUR Canada alumni Mike Weir, Graham DeLaet, David Hearn and more.
The Players Cup
Pine Ridge Golf Club
2012 Winner: Chris Killmer
TALE OF THE TAPE
Pine Ridge Golf Club
Par 72 – 36/32 – 6,641 Yards
Designed: Donald Ross, 1912
Course Record: 62 (Wes Martin 2001, Mark Slawter 2001, Michael Walton 2008, Dustin Risdon 2008)
Tournament site www.theplayerscup.ca
Wheeldon builds Order of Merit lead
With his win last week at the Syncrude Boreal Open presented by AECON, Comox, British Columbia’s Riley Wheeldon jumped atop the PGA TOUR Canada Order of Merit and put himself in good position to earn a 2014 Web.com Tour card by finishing inside The Five. Here are the standings heading into The Players Cup:
1. Riley Wheeldon – $37,987.50
2. Wil Collins – $28,768.75
3. Stephen Gangluff – $27,585.00
4. Nick Taylor – $21,962.50
5. Tyler Aldridge – $20,859.64
Lepp returns to PGA TOUR Canada
Following his standout appearance and near victory on Golf Channel’s Big Break Greenbrier earlier this year, two-time PGA TOUR Canada winner James Lepp will return to action this week, playing on a sponsor’s exemption. The 2003 (as an amateur) and 2007 Greater Vancouver Classic champion finished second to Mark Silvers on Big Break Greenbrier, and has also made a name for himself in the business side of the game, founding popular footwear and apparel company Kikkor Golf. This week marks Lepp’s first action on PGA TOUR Canada since 2011, when he finished tied for 17th at the Times Colonist Island Savings Open.
Other sponsor’s exemptions in the field this week include PGA TOUR Canada member and Winnipeg native Matt Johnston, PGA TOUR Canada member Eric Hawerchuk, son of Winnipeg Jets legend Dale Hawerchuk, three-time PGA TOUR Canada winner and 1996 The Players Cup champion Rob McMillan, 2012 Manitoba Amateur champion Josh Wyntinck, CJGA Qualifier David C. Riley and Golf Canada National Amateur Team exemptions Mackenzie Hughes and Andrew Parr.
Freedom 55 Financial Canadian Player of the Year standings
With his win last week in Fort McMurray, Riley Wheeldon also built a healthy lead in the race for Freedom 55 Financial Canadian Player of the Year. At season’s end, the top Canadian on the Order of Merit will be named Canadian Player of the Year and earn a $10,000 cash prize courtesy of Freedom 55 Financial. Wheeldon holds a $16,025 lead over Nick Taylor heading into this week.
The low Canadian at each PGA TOUR Canada event will earn Freedom 55 Financial Canadian Player of the Week honours and a $1,500 cash prize. Wheeldon earned his second award last week, going with his third place finish at the Times Colonist Island Savings Open in June.
Rumble at the Ridge, Part II
This year’s tournament saw the second playing of the Rumble at the Ridge, a celebrity pro-am that pits teams of NHL stars, celebrities and PGA TOUR Canada players against each other. This year’s event featured Team Jonathan Toews, led by the two-time Stanley Cup Champion and Captain of the Chicago Blackhawks, against Team Zach Bogosian, led by the Winnipeg Jets star. Team Toews won this year’s battle by a score of 70-under to 65-under.
10 Open Qualifying spots will be available at regular PGA TOUR Canada events this summer. Here is the list of qualifiers from Monday, July 16 at Glendale Golf Club:
(Bold denotes Canadian)
(* denotes PGA TOUR Canada member)
1. Ryan Horn – 68
T-2. Ben Briscoe – 71
T-2. Charlie Boyechko – 71
T-4. Aaron Dexheimer* – 72
T-4. Curtis Loop – 72
T-4. Stephen Thomas – 72
T-4. Bobby Wiebe – 72
T-8. Mike Mezei* – 73
T-8. David Sheman* – 73
T-8. Max Gilbert – 73
This week’s field includes 57 Canadians, 74 Americans and players from 15 other countries including Argentina, Chile, Brazil, Guatemala, England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland, Switzerland, Germany, Thailand, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.
Past champions in the field include Chris Killner (2012), Wes Heffernan (2008), Mike Mezei (2007), Josh Habig (2006) and Rob McMillan (1996).