There will be plenty to drive, pitch and putt for when the PGA Tour Canada tees off its 2022 season at Uplands Golf Club with the $200,000 Royal Beach Victoria Open presented by the Times Colonist from June 2-5.
The season winner of the 11-event Tour for the newly-established Fortinet Cup will receive a full-season exemption to the 2023 Korn Ferry Tour and the top-two season finishers and top Canadian will earn exemptions into the PGA Tour’s 2023 RBC Canadian Open.
The venerable Victoria pro tournament, established in 1981, is the longest tenured on the PGA Tour Canada.
“Victoria continues to shine as our traditional lead-off event [from pre-pandemic times] and we’re definitely pleased to have a list of 11 strong events as we get back to a normal Tour season,” PGA Tour Canada executive-director Scott Pritchard said Tuesday from Toronto.
The 2020 PGA Tour Canada season was severely limited by the pandemic to four tournaments, two at Bear Mountain and two at TPC Toronto. The regular Victoria stop at Uplands returned in 2021, but it was truncated to mainly Canadian golfers as part of a shortened Tour due to travel restrictions and it was shoved back to early October from its usual June slot.
The PGA Tour Canada, supplanting previous versions of the Canadian pro tour, began in 2013 as the PGA Tour’s second international development tour. A total of 54 PGA Tour Canada alumni have advanced to play on the PGA Tour since 2013 with 16 PGA Tour victories between them. More than 300 PGA Tour Canada alumni have gone onto play on the Korn Ferry Tour since 2013 with 49 victories between them.
“We continue to have a great crop of upcoming young players,” said Pritchard.
There will be a scheduled one-week break after the Royal Beach Victoria Open for the RBC Canadian Open the following week at St. George’s in Toronto. The PGA Tour Canada will then continue June 13-19 at the ATB Classic in Edmonton, followed by the Elk Ridge Open from June 23-26 in Waskesiu, Sask., with home-province Olympian and former PGA Tour player Graham DeLaet serving as the honorary chair.
The Prince Edward Island Open goes in Cardigan from June 30-July 3, Osprey Valley Open at TPC Toronto from July 21-24, Ontario Open at Woodington Lake from July 28-31, Quebec Open from Aug. 4-7 at Blainville and Manitoba Open Aug. 18-21 at the Southwood Club.
Then comes a dip south of the border for the CRMC Championship in Brainerd, Minnesota, from Aug. 25-28.
“That has raised eyebrows but we have been looking at border states and that makes sense because Brainerd is three hours from the Canadian border,” said Pritchard.
“We’re excited about the tournament with [Minnesota native and British Open champion and Masters and U.S. Open runner-up] Tom Lehman significantly involved.”
The Tour concludes with the GolfBC Championship from Sept. 1-4 at Gallagher’s Canyon in Kelowna and the Fortinet Cup Championship at Deer Ridge in Kitchener, Ont., from Sept. 15-18. All the tournaments carry a minimum $200,000 purse.
The Fortinet Cup season-standings champion will also win $25,000 from the $100,000 bonus pool to be shared among the top-10 players in the season table.
PGA Tour Canada has already conducted five of its seven qualifying tournaments as it completes its 2022 player roster. The sixth qualifier is this week at The Home Course in Tacoma with the final qualifying tournament at Crown Isle in Courtenay beginning next Tuesday. There are 99 entrants so far for the Crown Isle qualifier, with 60 of them Canadians, including Island golfers Jeevan Sihota, Zach Anderson, Dallas Jones, Maxwell Sear and Lachlan Tisma.
The five medallists so far in this qualifying tournament season are Alex Herrmann and Austin Hitt from the two Florida tournaments, amateur Jacob Bridgeman from the Alabama tournament, Max Marsico from the Arizona qualifier and Jake Vincent from the California qualifier.