Etienne Papineau is in the home stretch.
There are two events left on the PGA Tour Canada schedule and Papineau sits third in the Fortinet Cup standings, the top-ranked Canadian on the third-tier tour.
If he can hold on to his spot, he’ll be promoted to the Korn Ferry Tour. If Papineau can move up to the top spot, he’ll also earn an exemption into the RBC Canadian Open.
“It’s part of my goals to move up,” Papineau said Wednesday from Brainerd, Minn. “Obviously, I want to get to the PGA Tour, but if I can get on the Korn Ferry Tour next year, that will be a definitely a big step up.
“I’ve been working for that for a long time. It would definitely mean a lot and it would be definitely a big step in my career.”
Papineau, from Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Que., is one of several Canadians in the field for this week’s CRMC Championship at Craguns Legacy Course in Minnesota.
Vancouver’s Stuart Macdonald is fourth on the PGA Tour Canada’s standings and also in a strong position to advance his career.
The tour’s season wraps up next week at the Fortinet Cup Championship on the Talons course at Calgary’s Country Hills Golf Club.
Papineau has earned 944 points this season, thanks to two top-10 finishes including a win at the Royal Beach Victoria Open on June 18.
He’s 266 points behind American Sam Choi, the overall points leader on the PGA Tour Canada.
“I think just being really consistent over the summer has been great for me,” said Papineau. “I think that’s why I’ve had good performances.
“We’re just trying to keep it going.”
Surprisingly, Papineau also credits a couple of off-season injuries for his success. He took several months off to heal his foot and his knee before returning to play in March.
He said that the forced rest was helpful for him with the grind of a professional golf season.
“I think that helped me reset back to zero and start all over again,” said Papineau, who works with Golf Canada’s men’s coach Derek Ingram and University of Montreal coach Pierre Dugas. “When I got back to it, we created a good game plan with my coaches, and I’ve been following it.”
GRANT THORNTON INVITAITONAL – Canada’s Brooke Henderson and Corey Conners will be partners at the Grant Thornton Invitational, a unique event that will have players from the LPGA and PGA Tours compete together in a co-sanctioned tournament for equal prize money of US$4 million. They both represented Canada at the Tokyo Olympics in 2021. The Grant Thornton Invitational is Dec. 4-10 in Naples, Fla.
LPGA TOUR – Henderson, from Smiths Falls, Ont., and Maddie Szeryk of London, Ont., are in the field at this week’s Portland Classic. Henderson tied for 13th at the CPKC Women’s Open in Vancouver on Sunday to move her up to eighth in the LPGA Tour’s rankings. Szeryk missed the cut in Vancouver, dropping to 91st in the standings.