NHL flavour returns to Thunder Bay
The Mackenzie Tour returns to Thunder Bay for the second straight year for the Staal Foundation Open presented by Tbaytel. The Staal Family Foundation, the charitable foundation of NHL brothers Eric, Jordan, Marc and Jared Staal, plays host to week-long schedule of events including a star-studded celebrity pro-am, culminating with the sixth event of the 2015 season. Last year, the tournament raised $133,000 for local charities through the Staal Foundation.
Once again, the tournament has a strong involvement of NHL players and alumni. Retired NHLers Marc Savard, who owns a Stanley Cup ring as a member of the 2011 Boston Bruins, and Grant Fuhr, a Hockey Hall of Fame goaltender with the 1980s Edmonton Oilers dynasty, will play in the tournament on sponsor’s exemptions. A week-long list of celebrity appearances will see big names such as NHL Hall of Famer Bobby Orr, New York Rangers Centre Derek Stepan and TSN personalities Geno Redo and Glenn Schiiler on site along with the Staal brothers.
Pan captures first pro win in fourth start
Making just his fourth start as a professional, Taiwan’s C.T. Pan captured his first win at The Players Cup, shooting a final round 66 to win by two over Sweden’s Robert Karlsson. The 2015 Ben Hogan Award finalist and two-time first team All-American at the University of Washington turned pro this year at the U.S. Open, where he made the cut and finished T64, and also played on the PGA TOUR the following week at the Travelers Championship, where he finished T25.
RBC Canadian Open spots on the line
In addition to the top five players on the Order of Merit at season’s end earning status on the Web.com Tour for 2016, the top three players on the Order of Merit through this week’s Staal Foundation Open presented by Tbaytel will earn exemptions into the RBC Canadian Open next week at Glen Abbey Golf Club in Oakville, Ont. Below are the top five through The Players Cup (bold denotes Canadian):
1. Drew Weaver – $44,450
2. J.J. Spaun – $38,763
3. Albin Choi – $37,857
4. Kevin Spooner – $36,575
5. C.T. Pan – $32,729
A look back at the 2014 Staal Foundation Open
Cinctinnati, Ohio’s Wes Homan entered the final round of the Staal Foundation Open with a two stroke lead over England’s Greg Eason, who pulled within a shot of Homan heading into the 72nd hole. After Eason stuck his approach at the last for an easy birdie, Homan was forced to get up-and-down for birdie for his first Mackenzie Tour title in four seasons on Tour. After an eagle chip that lipped out, Homan converted the six-footer for birdie and the win.
Non-members looking for status
The top three non-members on the Order of Merit through the Staal Foundation Open presented by Tbaytel will earn conditional status on the Mackenzie Tour for the remainder of 2015 and will be subject to the re-shuffle. Below are the top five non-members on the Order of Merit through The Players Cup (overall rank in parenthesis):
- Adam Svensson (7) – $24,617
- Christopher Trunzer (34) – $7,438
- Justin Shin (38) – $6,729
- Corey Conners (T56) – $4,450
- Bryn Parry (T79) – $2,538
Staal Foundation Open presented by Tbaytel sponsor’s exemptions:
(* = exemptions awarded to members of Golf Canada’s National Amateur Team)Mitch Sutton, London, Ont.
Corey Conners, Listowel, Ont.
Evan DeGrazia, Thunder Bay, Ont.
Jamie Depiero, Thunder Bay, Ont.
Jeff Hunter, Thunder Bay, Ont.
Walter Keating, Thunder Bay, Ont.
Marc Savard, Peterborough, Ont.
Robbie Untinen, Thunder Bay, Ont.
Below are this successful entrants from Open Qualifying, which took place at Strathcona Golf Course in Thunder Bay (bold denotes Canadian, * = PGA TOUR Canada member).
1 Max Gilbert (St. Georges, Que.) – 61
2 Michael Sainz (Elmhurst, Ill.) – 65
T3 Michael Whitehead (Houston, Tex.) – 68
T3 Eric Frazzetta (Long Beach, Calif.) – 68
T3 Andrew Rasmussen (Surrey, B.C.) – 68
T3 J.J. Regan (Burlington, Ont.) – 68
T3 Eric Atsma (Orlando, Fla.) – 68
T3 Zack Kempa (Brantford, Ont.) – 68
T9 Kyle Scanlon (Circle Pines, Minn.) – 69
T9 Alex Snyder (Germantown, Tenn. – 69
- Non-members who earned a spot in the field this week via top-20 finishes at The Players Cup: Justin Shin (T6).
- J.J. Spaun has finished in the top-10 in each of his last four starts and has yet to finish outside the top-25 this season. Spaun’s 2015 finishes: T16-T10-T8-T2-3.
- Just one 54-hole leader/co-leader has converted the lead into victory this season (Albin Choi, Bayview Place Island Savings Open presented by Times Colonist).
- 2014 U.S. Amateur runner-up and 2015 Masters Tournament participant Corey Conners is playing on a sponsor’s exemption.
- Defending champion Wes Homan Monday qualified for the Barbasol Championship on the PGA TOUR and will miss his title defence. This marks the fourth time Homan has Monday Qualified on the PGA TOUR in the 2014-15 season.
Staal Foundation Open presented by Tbaytel miscellaneous notes
- 36 Canadians are playing this week.
- Seven players from last year’s top-10 (Wes Homan, Greg Eason, Jeff Corr, Daniel Miernicki, Joel Dahmen, Cory Renfrew and Ted Brown) went on to earn status on the Web.com Tour for 2015.