AROUND THE GREENS: Fortinet Cup Championship brings future stars to Calgary – best news

  • September 6, 2023

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One of these guys will be playing on the PGA Tour next week.

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A bunch of ’em will eventually be full-timers on the biggest stage.

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While these might not be household names just yet, some of the future stars of the birdie-making business are in Calgary this week for the 2023 Fortinet Cup Championship, the season finale for the PGA Tour Canada. The four-round, fan-friendly shootout runs Thursday to Sunday on the 7,179-yard Talons Course at Country Hills and features the top 60 sticks on the developmental circuit.

The next time you see some of these sharpshooters, it could be on a Sunday afternoon on Golf Channel. That’s become a major point of pride for the membership at Country Hills, a private facility that has already hosted six PGA Tour Canada events, with Corey Conners, Joel Dahmen, Tony Finau, Mackenzie Hughes and Nick Taylor all strolling these fescue-lined fairways in years past.

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As Vancouver’s Stuart Macdonald, whose summer has so far been highlighted by a playoff victory in Ottawa and a second-place showing in Windsor, summed up: “You can see that this is a proving ground.”

“All those guys are household names now, and they started on this tour not so long ago,” agreed Maryland-raised Davis Lamb, who topped the leaderboard earlier this summer at the ATB Financial Classic in Edmonton and is now aiming for a second win in the Wild Rose Province. “So to have success on this tour is a great springboard moving forward.

“But it takes a lot more work to get to the top, where they are.”

Indeed, but this could be an important step on that climb.

There are two leaderboards to track this week at Country Hills.

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For whoever goes lowest over 72 holes on the Talons, the immediate perk is an invitation to tee it up next week at the PGA Tour’s Fortinet Championship in Napa, Calif.

Whoever finishes highest on the season-long Fortinet Cup points list will earn full-time playing privileges on the Korn Ferry Tour for 2024. The next four will score conditional status.

Sam Choi, who was born in South Korea, attended high school in Anaheim and was a collegiate standout at Pepperdine, is the current standings frontrunner.

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Lamb is next, followed by Etienne Papineau, Hayden Springer and Macdonald.

It’s important to note that every guy in the field still has a mathematical shot at zooming all the way to top spot. It’s not hyperbole to suggest this could be a career-changing week for one of these emerging talents.

“I think pretty much everyone in the Top-60 has had at least one Top-5 finish this season, so everyone is playing great golf and everyone is just as hungry for it as the next guy,” Lamb said. “It’s going to be a great week. It’s going to be a great fight from everybody. I’m excited to be a part of it.”

Tee-times for the 2023 Fortinet Cup Championship will run from roughly 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. each day and single-round tickets are a bargain at only $15.

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You may not recognize a lot of the names on the lineup sheet, but fans will want to remember who they followed. You could be watching them soon enough in high-def.

“When you walk down the range at these types of events, it’s just a different sound,” marvelled Lance Barber, the head professional at Country Hills. “There’s definitely a lot of buzz around our club. Because these events, throughout the years, have shown a lot of great players have come through PGA Tour Canada and gone through here.

“Our members are excited to see some great golf and make memories of seeing some individuals play well and then hopefully work their way up to the big tour.”

That’s a gimme.

The only question is, who will it be?


Brendan MacDougall, who honed his skills at Glencoe, is the lone local in the field for the 2023 Fortinet Cup Championship. The 25-year-old is sitting at No. 52 in the points race … Willow Park completed a sweep at the 2023 Alberta Interclub Championship at Kananaskis Country, winning both the men’s and women’s team titles. Celine Copeland, Samantha Copeland, Ashley Gross and Kari Schwab finished at 8-over, seven strokes clear of the competition in the female division. Kevin Davison, James Dyack, Greg Stephanson and Braydon Wheeler scored bragging rights among the boys, combining for a rip of 10-under and then defeating Earl Grey and Canmore G&CC in a marathon playoff … Davison, Dyack and Wheeler warmed up by winning the Calgary Golf Association’s Southern Messenger City Interclub at Redwood Meadows. Dyack doubled his fun, earning the individual crown … Sela Ogada (Sirocco) and Charles Greaves (Banff Springs) claimed the hardware at the McLennan Ross Alberta Junior Tour Championship at River Bend. Ogada, 14, drained a clutch birdie putt on the second playoff hole.



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