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Great Dane takes lead into final round of Beachlands Victoria Open

Denmark’s Frederik Kjettrup leads going into Sunday at the Beachlands Victoria Open presented by the Times Colonist at Uplands Golf Club.
Denmark’s Frederick Kjettrup keeps an eye on his drive on the first hole during the third round of The Beachlands Victoria Open on Saturday at Uplands Golf Club. DARREN STONE, TIMES COLONIST

Turnabout is fair play, goes the adage, and golf is nothing if not about fair play.

Denmark’s Frederik Kjettrup was part of the Florida State Seminoles team that lost to John Marshall Butler and the Auburn Tigers 3-2 in the 2024 U.S. university NCAA team final this spring at Carlsbad, California.

Kjettrup continued his quest for individual revenge by taking a three-stroke third-round lead at 19-under 191 heading into today’s fourth and final round of the $225,000 US The Beachlands Victoria Open presented by the Times Colonist at Uplands Golf Club. Butler was tied for second with fourth-year pro Clay Feagler, out of NCAA Pepperdine, at 16-under 194. The Victoria PGA Tour Americas event is the pro debut for both Kjettrup and Butler. At stake today is the $40,000 US that goes to the winner. That’s a good way to start any pro career.

“It was definitely sad to end my college career without a ring,” said Kjettrup.

But he added this week isn’t about revenge or anything like that. He’s happy just to be riding the crest of a generational wave.

“There’s a lot of talent coming out of college,” he said.

Kjettrup, closely following Denmark in the 2024 Euros, was a soccer player until golf took over. Now that latter sport could take him and his 2024 rookie-pro peers eventually to the PGA Tour. The class is bringing Uplands to its knees.

“This is a gettable course, so you try to work the birdies,” said Kjettrup, who truly moved on what is known in golf as moving day.

Kjettrup had five birdies over the first nine holes Saturday: “This course is do-able to get on a run.”

That holds true for anyone, including the likes of Butler and Feagler, who will be tracking Kjettrup today: “So I can’t get too defensive.” The wary Dane knows the chase will be on.

Auburn-grad Butler this week described winning the NCAA team championship as the “best day of my life” before making the jump from college to the pros through Q School this spring: “It was a little wild going from the [NCAA] national championship to the Q School and I was lucky enough to get through. These last three weeks have been a bit of a whirlwind.”

Butler beat Neal Shipley of Ohio State 2&1 in the decider of the 3-2 Auburn win over the Buckeyes in the NCAA semifinals while Kjettrup won his fifth-game decider 3&1 in the 3-2 win over George Tech in the semifinals. Even at that, there is no doubt who is the star of this Victoria tournament in the eyes of the public. The biggest gallery following by far Saturday, and all week, was for Shipley, who went from low amateur this year in both the Masters in April at Augusta and U.S. Open last weekend at Pinehurst, to making his pro debut this week at Uplands. Shipley was tied for 16th at 12-under 198 following the third round Saturday.

“It’s cool to have a lot of people [following you], not a lot of other groups have that,” Shipley said, during the week.

Enjoy him today live in the fourth round while you can. He is unlikely to return to Uplands. Shipley will make his PGA Tour debut as a pro later this week with an exemption into the Rocket Mortgage Classic in Detroit.

Asked if Tiger Woods gave him any advice when they played the final round together in the Masters, Shipley said: “He didn’t talk about that a lot.”

Shipley said for him, Tiger is an example: “That you’ve got to keep working hard throughout your career.”

The top Canadian in the ­Victoria Open after three rounds was Chris Crisologo of ­Richmond, tied for 20th at 11-under 199. It was, however, not moving day for Jeevan Sihota of Victoria, who shot even par Saturday and was tied for 57th at 6-under 204: “It was a grind today and I did not play too well. I just have to go out Sunday and look for as low a score as possible.”

The top-10 players this year on the PGA Tour Americas will earn cards into the 2025 Korn Ferry Tour, which is one step from the PGA Tour.

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