PGA TOUR Americas

Papineau’s dominant Sunday leads to first PGA TOUR Canada win

temp fix empty alt images for attachment
Etienne Papineau
1Étienne Papineau (Canada)64-65-69-64—262 (18-under)
T2George Kneiser (United States)62-66-70-69—267 (13-under)
T2Chris Korte (United States)64-65-74-64—267 (13-under)
T4Jared du Toit (Canada)63-70-70-65—268 (12-under)
T4Chris Francoeur (United States)63-68-71-66—268 (12-under)
T4Sam Choi (United States)66-67-66-69—268 (12-under)
T4Jason Hong (Australia)67-64-67-70—268 (12-under)
T8Hayden Shieh (United States)66-66-66-71—269 (11-under)
T8Cole Bradley (United States)64-70-67-68—269 (11-under)
T8Chase Sienkiewicz (United States)68-67-66-68—269 (11-under)

Papineau’s dominant Sunday leads to first PGA TOUR Canada win

VICTORIA, British Columbia—Canadian Étienne Papineau emerged from the pack to shoot a final-round 6-under 64 on Sunday to decisively win the Royal Beach Victoria Open and claim his first career PGA TOUR Canada victory.

Papineau, one of four tied for the lead after 54 holes, finished at 18-under 262 on the Uplands Golf Club. The victory vaulted Papineau into the early lead of the season-long Fortinet Cup standings.

Papineau won by five strokes over George Kneiser and Chris Korte, who finished tied for second, at 13-under 267, and by six shots over Jared du Toit, Chris Francoeur, Sam Choi and Jason Hong.

“It’s been a crazy week, an amazing week for me,” Papineau said. “I’m extremely excited, extremely pumped, and it’s a good start of the season for sure.”

Papineau, a native of Mercier, Quebec, was the favourite of the gallery all day. He finished with six birdies and no bogeys and matched his first-round 64. He became the first Quebec-born winner on PGA TOUR Canada since 2013.

Papineau took a two-shot lead when he made an eight-foot birdie on the 403-yard par-4 fifth hole to go to 12-under. A near chip-in on the seventh led to another birdie and was followed by birdies at No. 8 and No. 9. That flurry allowed him to make the turn in 30 and expand his lead to four shots. No one got closer than two shots the rest of the afternoon.

“I stuck to my gameplan all week,” Papineau said. “I shot 5-under on the front (nine), and it was a really good start. I had some really good tee shots, really good approach shots. As I said [Saturday], the putter was a little cold, but I said hopefully they will fall tomorrow and that’s what happened on the front nine.”

Papineau instructed his caddie to not let him look at the leaderboard all day, and he didn’t take a peek until the 16th hole. By that time the tournament was his to lose.

“You never know what can happen, but once I got up and down for par on 17, I knew I had a three- or four-shot lead,” Papineau said. “I just said hit it the fairway on 18—or just hit it anywhere on 18—and you should be fine. I looked at the leaderboard again before I putted and saw I was leading by four or five at that point. So, it kind of sunk in and a little bit of tears, I’m not going to lie, after I made my last putt.”

The victory marks a complete comeback from off-season surgery in December. Papineau tried to play again in March but struggled to regain his form. He took a few more weeks off to let his body completely heal and has played well since.

“Now I’m back,” Papineau said. “It’s been an amazing journey so far and hopefully it’s just the start of it.”

Kneiser, of Oconomowoc, Wisconsin, had a share of the lead after each of the first three rounds, but never got any traction Sunday. He had three bogeys and shot 69.

Korte, of Littleton, Colorado, matched Papineau’s 64 and climbed 12 spots in the standings. An eagle on the 12th hole sparked a second-nine 30.

“The eagle on 12 is really where the back nine got kick-started,” Korte said.

Du Toit, from Calgary, got the Canadian faithful roaring with an early 65. He was 4-under through seven holes when a bogey slowed his progress. He was still able to climb 10 spots and earn his second career top-five PGA TOUR Canada finish.

“I had a great start, which is exactly what you kind of want when you’re four or five back starting the day,” du Toit said. “I cooled off a little bit, and there are a couple holes that I would have like to have been in position to birdie, but I stuck it out and played a real solid round of golf. I’m quite happy with today for sure.”

Francoeur, of Newburyport, Massachusetts, finished strong with four birdies on his final seven holes to shoot 66.

Hong got to within two shots after a two-putt birdie on No. 12, but his charge ended with bogeys on three of the final six holes. The Australian closed with an even-par 70.

Choi, in his professional debut after finishing at Pepperdine University, finished with a disappointing double bogey to shoot 69.

Tied for eighth at 11-under 269 were Cole Bradley of Louisville, Kentucky, and Chase Sienkiewicz of Sacramento, California, who both shot 68, and Hayden Shieh of Fremont, California, who shot 71. Shieh was one of the four leaders entering the final round.

Fortinet Cup Standings

(Through Royal Beach Victoria Open)

1Étienne Papineau (Canada)500
T2George Kneiser (United States)245
T2Chris Korte (United States)245
T4Jared du Toit (Canada)109
T4Chris Francoeur (United States)109
T4Sam Choi (United States)109
T4Jason Hong (Australia)109
T8Hayden Shieh (United States)80
T8Cole Bradley (United States)80
T8Chase Sienkiewicz (United States)80

Eleven Canadians completed 72 holes, with Étienne Papineau winning the tournament and Jared du Toit earning a top-10 performance (tied for fourth).

1Étienne Papineau262 (18-under)
T4Jared du Toit268 (12-under)
T11Lawren Rowe270 (10-under)
T15Brendan Leonard272 (8-under)
T37Jeevan Sihota277 (3-under)
T37A.J. Ewart277 (3-under)
T37Brendan MacDougall277 (3-under)
T45Jimmy Jones278 (2-under)
T45Richard Jung278 (2-under)
T56Stuart Macdonald280 (even)
T56Henry Lee280 (even)