May 26th, 2024

Canadian pair on top of PGA Americas Tour after back-to-back wins in Latin America

By John Chidley-Hill, The Canadian Press on May 1, 2024.

Stuart Macdonald, of Canada, tees off on the second hole during the third round of the Mexico Open golf tournament in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, Saturday, Feb. 24, 2024. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Fernando Llano

Back-to-back wins by Canadians have added a bit of maple flavour to the top of the PGA Tour Americas points list.

Vancouver’s Stuart Macdonald shot a 1-under 71 to finish 17-under overall for a two-stroke victory at the Diners Club Peru Open on Sunday and rocket up to third on the Fortinet Cup standings. He’s 83 points back of No. 1 Matt Anderson of Hamilton, who won the 69th ECP Brazil Open on April 21.

“When you get a win, and you get 500 points, it’s a lot,” Macdonald told The Canadian Press. “You separate yourself from the rest of the guys.

“If you get two wins, that’s even better, you’re really going to separate yourself.”

Separating oneself from the pack is important with two events left in the Latin America swing of the Americas Tour. The two golfers at the top of the points list earn berths on the second-tier Korn Ferry Tour, a step up from the Americas circuit.

“I don’t think I really need to do too much differently,” said Macdonald, who did not miss a cut on the PGA Tour Latinoamerica last season, which has since merged with PGA Tour Canada. “I just need to continue to put in the work on the golf course, on the range, just keep on trying to get better.”

Anderson helped keep himself atop the Americas standings when he tied for 18th at the Los Inkas Golf Club last week.

“Didn’t play my best, but I kind of hung in there and hit some awesome shots coming down the stretch, which was great,” Anderson told reporters after Sunday’s final round in Lima, Peru. “I hit an awesome shot on 16 and I even gave myself a look on 17, which is a super tough par 3.”

There are seven Canadian players in the top 60 of the Fortinet Cup standings to secure exempt status for the North American swing of the circuit. Joey Savoie (18th) of La Prairie, Que., Victoria’s Lawren Rowe (35th), Thomas Giroux (39th) of Georgetown, Ont., Victoria’s Jeevan Sihota (47th) and Jimmy Jones (50th), the son of Canadian Golf Hall of Famer Dawn Coe-Jones, also above that exemption line.

All of them will be back in action this week at the KIA Open at Quito Tenis y Golf Club in Ecuador.

PGA TOUR – Mackenzie Hughes of Dundas, Ont., is the top-ranked Canadian at the CJ Cup Byron Nelson, sitting 57th in the FedEx Cup standings heading into this week’s event. He shared a heartfelt memorial to former caddie Bill Bath on social media on Tuesday. Bath, from Oshawa, Ont., had caddied for Hughes on the Mackenzie Tour and then again at the 2017 RBC Canadian Open. Hughes will be joined at TPC Craig Ranch in McKinney Texas, on Thursday by Taylor Pendrith (90th) of Richmond Hill, Ont., Ben Silverman (109th) of Thornhill, Ont., and Rogers Sloan (193rd) of Merritt, B.C.

CHAMPIONS TOUR – Calgary’s Stephen Ames will be back in action at the Insperity Invitational. He’s atop the Schwab Cup standings after winning the Mitsubishi Electric Classic last week. He will be joined by No. 49 Mike Weir of Brights Grove, Ont., at The Woodlands Country Club in The Woodlands, Texas.

DP WORLD TOUR – Aaron Cockerill of Stony Mountain, Man., is the lone Canadian in the field at this week’s Volvo China Open. He’s 18th on the Race to Dubai Rankings heading into play at Hidden Grace Golf Club in Shenzhen, China.

EPSON TOUR – Hamilton’s Alena Sharp leads the Canadian contingent into the Casino del Sol Golf Classic. Sharp will be joined at Sewailo Golf Club in Tucson, Ariz., by Selena Costabile of Thornhill, Ont., Vancouver’s Tiffany Kohn and Kate Johnston of Ayr, Ont. Sharp is ranked 30th on the second-tier tour’s Race for the Card money list, while the other three Canadians are not yet ranked.

NCAA – University of Michigan women’s golf senior Monet Chun, from Richmond Hill, Ont., was named the Big Ten conference’s Golfer of the Year on Tuesday, as well as a member All-Big Ten first team. Chun, who was named the 2024 Mary Fossum Award recipient on April 25, earned her second first-team honour after her selection in 2021 while winning the Big Ten’s Freshman of the Year award.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 1, 2024.

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