COURTENAY, British Columbia—It was a popular win as Jimmy Jones held it together just enough to walk away with medalist honors at Crown Isle Resort, shooting an even-par round of 72 Friday to capture the top spot at the sixth and final 2023 PGA TOUR Canada Qualifying Tournament.
Jones—who lists Lake Cowichan, British Columbia, as home and is the son of the late LPGA Canadian great Dawn Coe-Jones—had a strong following all week, just two hours from his mom’s hometown.
It was just as an attractive runner-up finish for Max Sear, who hails from the provincial capital of Victoria, where the opening tournament—the Royal Beach Victoria Open—begins play this coming week as PGA TOUR Canada’s ninth and final season gets underway.
Sear, a member of Royal Colwood in Victoria, had family and friends on hand to witness his play as he tied for second with U.S. player Carr Vernon, a stroke behind Jones’ leading pace.
Jones and Sear started the day in the top two spots, respectively—with Jones holding a two-stroke lead—and managed to hang on for the gallery that followed. The winner had rounds of 72-63-68-72, finishing at 13-under, while Sear suffered a double bogey on his final hole for a 1-under 71 to fall one shot short of forcing a playoff.
Vernon birdied his last two holes to catch Sear with his round of 69.
With the win, Jones earns full playing privileges for the year, eligible for every open tournament. It was an emotion triumph, he admitted.
“The nerves were real. Exciting nerves, too. This win is going to bring me to tears,” he said, his eyes starting to mist up. “This one is for Mom. She was up there, cheering me on, and it means a lot to me, especially with all the support here.
“It feels, like we said [Thursday], like a home game. You want to perform for everybody in the crowd. But there were a lot of emotions and thoughts out there. Everyone knows golf, though, you have to keep it simple, and that was the goal.”
It was a cautious start as Jones had to hit a provisional drive on the first tee, but he luckily found the errant first tee shot. He had three birdies and three bogeys on the day and gutted things out, which the fans appreciated at tournament’s end.
“I signed a bunch of autographs today, more than I ever have, which is pretty cool and makes you feel good. It’s so special to have my boy Mark (Valliere, his caddie) with me and my godmother, Kelly, was here watching,” said Jones.
“It was Family Part Two up here, and it’s something I will always wear on my sleeve, and I hope to come back here as many times as I can,” said the Tampa-born Jones, who won with the tattoo DCJ (his mom’s initials) and a Maple Leaf freshly stamped on his right wrist.
Jones was also glad he pulled off the win and had Sear there right behind to make it a Vancouver Island affair.
“We had a fun day. We were chatting a lot, and I’ve known Carr, too, from playing college, so it was a good grouping,” Jones said.
As for Sear, it was a bit of a struggle all day, but his putter saved him just enough, until the final hole when he missed an eight-footer for bogey that would have forced a playoff with Jones.
“I didn’t have my best stuff. I struggled all day, hitting wipey cuts again. I just managed it with a good couple of up and downs before I completely puked on myself on the last hole,” he said. “I slipped on the drive (on 18); chipped it out; hit another bad shot; bad chip and missed the putt and missed by one.
“It is what it is. I’d rather do it now than when there’s a purse on the line, I guess,” Sear said, still glad to have played in the final grouping. “I had never played with Jimmy before, so it was nice to connect. Any time you can feel like it’s a home game and play well makes it that much sweeter.”
Several others made their charges to earn exemptions through the first half of the season, including Canadian amateur Matthew Anderson, who just turned pro, finishing fourth after his final-round 66 propelled him 11 spots.
Tyson Dinsmore’s 67 left him fifth, while Kyle Vance made the biggest leap, with his 8-under 64 that left him tied for sixth with fellow U.S. player Daniel Wetterich and Canadian Raoul Ménard, who both shot 69s.
A four-player playoff featuring Canadians A.J. Ewart and Jake Lane and U.S. players Hagen Fell and Dylan Healey produced the last two exemption spots for the first half of the season with Lane making a par on the third extra hole to advance and Healey making birdie on the fifth playoff hole to secure the final spot.
Ewart and Fell, along with 18 others, picked up conditional playing status.
Did you know that 2022 PGA TOUR Canada Fortinet Cup winner Wil Bateman earned the right to start in the field at the PGA TOUR’s Canadian Open in Ontario this week and turned in a scintillating, 6-under 66 Friday to move into a tie for 23rd after two rounds at Oakdale Golf and Country Club? The 66 moved him up 84 spots on the leaderboard after an opening 74.
How the Tournament Worked
PGA TOUR Canada, along with PGA TOUR Latinoamérica, are international PGA TOUR-sanctioned tours that provide access to the Korn Ferry Tour and are part of the pathway to the PGA TOUR. Since its inception in 2013, PGA TOUR Canada has held 34 Qualifying Tournaments across the U.S. and Canada. This event was the final of six 2023 PGA TOUR Canada Qualifiers scheduled in advance of the 2023 season. Each qualifier was a 72-hole, no-cut event, with playoffs, if necessary, for the medalist position and for the 10th and final position available.
One-hundred-seventeen players started the tournament Tuesday, with 114 completing all 72 holes. Below is a breakdown of the various PGA TOUR Canada memberships earned this week.
|MedalistJimmy Jones||Exempt membership for the 2023 season|
|2nd through 9th (no ties)Max SearCarr Vernona-Matthew AndersonTyson DinsmoreKyle VanceDaniel WetterichRaoul MénardJake LaneDylan Healey||Exempt through the reshuffle, which will occur approximately halfway through the season|
|10th through 30th (plus ties)Hagen Fella-A.J. EwartLawren RoweÉtienne BraultRyan WallenTy CampbellMarc-Olivier PlasseBrendan LeonardIlirian ZalliCallum McNeillTexas HarperAustin MorrisonAJ ArmstrongNoah SteeleJD FernandezMarc CasulloAndrew HarrisonHayden WebbZiggy NathuAlex China-Eric WesselJeevan SihotaAustin Fox||Conditional membership|
- There were 15 amateurs playing at Crown Isle Resort. The top finisher was Matthew Anderson of Mississauga, Ontario, who was fourth after rounds of 70-69-72-66 – 277. He, of course, turns pro with the result. Here are the three players who earned status this week:
|4||a-Matthew Anderson (Canada)||70-69-72-66—277 (-11)|
|T9||A.J. Ewart (Canada)||71-70-69-70—280 (-8)|
|T24||Eric Wessel (United States)||70-70-73-72—285 (-3)|
Etienne Brault of Mercier, Quebec, ran into a nice stretch of holes midway through his final round. A birdie on No. 8 was followed by par on 9 before he birdied the 10th hole and eagled the par-4 11th with a rare deuce on the hole that plays 401 yards. It was the third eagle on the hole for the week and second on the day as Hagen Fell also turned the trick Friday after Ty Campbell completed the feat in the second round.
Callum McNeill, who shot a course record 60 on day two and was in position for a finish that would lead to exempt status, struggled to a 75 and fell 11 places into a tie for 14th. The Scotsman started the day four shots back of winner Jimmy Jones. McNeill will have conditional status this season.
Crown Isle had been good to Jimmy Jones and Max Sear. Sear finished fourth here last year and Jones tied for seventh.
Matthew Anderson, of Mississauga, Ontario, got on a heater in the much-cooler temperatures Friday, weather that also featured some light rain throughout the day. Anderson finished with seven birdies and a bogey for an impeccable round of 6-under 66. “It feels good. I definitely expected to be sitting in this position, with status, but it’s actually nice to have done it. Having to go out and shoot a good round when I needed it was cool as well,” he said.
Kyle Vance made a big leap of his own via a spectacular 8-under 64 that moved him up 27 places into the tie for sixth and status through the first half of the season. “I had to make it happen. It was definitely there. I had a great practice round. The second round killed me,” Vance said of his 77. “I felt like I was stumbling. The next round I figured it out and shot minus-5 and then minus-8 to finish. We were checking the leaderboard. I knew I needed two more (birdies) and went birdie-birdie to finish. I really needed it.”
It’s amazing what can transpire when your give-a-darn factor drops. Take Aidan Goodfellow for example. The Parksville, British Columbia, resident got over the disappointment of shooting his way out of a top-10 spot Thursday. With the stress gone, he turned in an 8-under 64 in the final round, adding to his 71-78-77 start. The 64 moved him up 27 positions on the leaderboard, but still left him at 55th overall.
Will Stewart from the United States kept a nice, clean scoresheet on his final round, with three birdies on each side and no bogeys to be seen for a 7-under 65. It was a nice bounce-back from his 77 Thursday. The 65 pushed him up 32 spots on the leaderboard to a tie for 40th, but he ultimately fell short of getting his card.
“It was a rough winter. I needed surgery on my hip and couldn’t play for about three months, but the people behind me stuck with me and this is for them. A little fight back to show what I have in me.” – Kyle Vance
“A lot less than you think. It was a lot of trust in my game that was the main reasoning. That putter got going. I gave myself some chances and took advantage of them.” – Noah Steele speaking about the difference in his play the last two days (rounds of 70 and 65) following opening scores of 74-75. His tie for 24th left him with conditional status.
“I’m thrilled. There was a lot of behind-the-scenes work to get me to this stage.” – Noah Steele