Professional Golf Season Set to Tee Off in BC

The Royal Beach Victoria Open presented by Times Colonist will open the PGA Tour Canada’s regular-season schedule this week, with the first round set to tee off on Thursday.

The 72-hole championship, to be played at the historic Uplands Golf Club in British Columbia, is the first of 11 events scheduled for the tour’s regular season. The par-70 track tips out at just under 6500 yards.

The last time this event was played, in 2019, it was won by Paul Barjon, a Texas Christian University golf alum. The French-born Barjon carded a score of 19-under par for the event’s four rounds, besting Doc Redman of North Carolina by one stroke.

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This season marks the tour’s inaugural Fortinet Cup. Each week, top players will earn points toward the Cup. The Fortinet Cup Championship will be played in mid-September in Kitchener, Ontario. The top player, who wins the cup, will be awarded a full exemption on the Korn Ferry Tour, with the top-ten players receiving some Korn Ferry Tour status for 2023.

The Korn Ferry Tour is one step below the PGA Tour, for baseball fans unfamiliar with professional golf’s structure, the Korn Ferry Tour is the “triple-A” level of professional golf.

Riley Wheeldon, a professional competitor from BC medaled at the only PGA Tour Canada Q-School event played in Canada this summer.  By winning the event at Crown Isle Resort and Golf Club, in Courtenay, BC Wheeldon gained fully-exempt status on the PGA Tour Canada this season.

Riley Wheeldon

The former University of Louisville golfer is in the field for the Royal Beach Victoria Open Presented by Times Colonist and figures to be in the mix. Other than his win at Q-School, Wheeldon had another professional victory, on the Outlaw Tour.

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A relative newcomer to the professional ranks, Evan Katz qualified for the tour with a top-10 finish in a Qualifying School event this March at the Mission Inn Resort and Club in Florida, one of six such PGA Tour Canada Q-School events held in the States this spring. Katz, who just turned pro in 2021, already has a top-20 finish to his credit on PGA Tour Latinoamerica.

“This is the first event I’ve played in Canada since I played in the North America Cup when I was 14-years old, in Toronto,” replied Katz to an inquiry regarding his participation in this weekend’s tournament, his debut regular-season competition on the PGA Tour Canada.  

While Katz has a reputation for staying focused on the task at hand, he acknowledged his long-term goals, “I’m playing this tour because it is a pathway to the PGA.”

The Duke University alum had a distinguished collegiate, amateur and junior golf career, qualifying for PGA Tour Canada status on his first attempt. It’s been nearly a thousand days since the last regular play on the tour.

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This season’s schedule will see events played in seven provinces, and one event scheduled to be played in Minnesota. The latter will mark the first time the tour has played a regular-season event outside Canada.

Continuing coverage of the Royal Beach Victoria Open presented by Times Colonist will be available at 13th Man Sports throughout this weekend’s tournament.


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