Brendan Leonard outlasts Li Sheman in playoff, earns a spot in the 2022 RBC Canadian Open
Brendan Leonard poses with the RBC Canadian Open flag moments after winning a four-hole playoff at the RBC Canadian Open Regional Qualifier at TPC Toronto at Osprey Valley on May 19, 2022.
CALEDON, Ont. – Before the pandemic started, Brendan Leonard was ready to call it quits on golf. Missed cuts and failed attempts at Q-school and the Mackenzie Tour lead the 30-year-old to lean towards pursuing a career in teaching. Now, some two and a half years later, he finds himself preparing to play in the 2022 RBC Canadian Open.
A two-foot putt for par on the fourth playoff hole booked the Cambridge, Ont. native’s ticket to the RBC Canadian Open at St George’s Golf & Country Club on June 6-12, after a marathon-like battle with David Li Sheman.
Twenty others, excluding Li Sheman, also earned spots at the Final Qualifier on June 6 at Oakdale Golf and Country Club. Among the group are Michael Gonko, who finished at 5 under, and Ben MacLean, Chris Wilson, Phil Arci and Victor Ciesielski, who each carded rounds of 4-under-par 68.
A frost delay pushed back tee times on Wednesday morning and darkness suspended play in the evening, but 25 hours, 1 minute and 24 seconds after the originally planned start time, a champion was crowned at the RBC Canadian Open Regional Qualifier (Ontario) at TPC Toronto at Osprey Valley in Caledon, Ont.
Leonard and Sheman, both owners of rounds of 6-under-par 66 on Wednesday, teed off on the first playoff hole with little daylight to spare, but neither were willing to give in. A pair of birdies on the first playoff hole, coupled with two pars on the second was all the shine the setting sun had to offer.
A look back into the sunset, a nod and a handshake wrapped up play on Wednesday as the player’s agreed it was too dark to continue.
“It was nerve wracking waiting around, that’s probably the worst part,” said Leonard, whose alarm clock was set for 4 a.m. Thursday morning. “Going into today, I told myself, ‘You’re the best player in the field, let’s just try and get it done.”
Get it done, he did.
On Wednesday morning, the players returned to the tee on No. 18 and went toe-to-toe.
On the first playoff hole of the day – and third of the tournament – Li Sheman’s approach shot found the water, forcing the Aurora, Ont., native to drop. The penalty stroke did not seem to faze him, however, as he was able to regather himself and get up-and-down to save par.
On the ensuing playoff hole, it was Leonard’s composure that sealed the deal for him. A perfectly executed tee shot and layup left him with a short chip and a nervy two-foot putt for par to win, and he made no mistake. At first, a subtle fist pump and a sigh of relief was all the reaction to show for it, but there was no holding back the smile that lit up Leonard’s face moments later.
“I’ve been dreaming of this since I picked up a club at age 14,” he said. “I’ve always wanted to play in the [RBC] Canadian Open, so I’m happy to now have the chance to do it.”
Leonard’s patience has been tested, not only on Wednesday and Thursday this week, but everyday since the 30-year-old dedicated his life to golf. Safe to say now, the patience has paid off.
“I was kind of struggling [before the pandemic] but a few people told me to just keep going and I’ve played really well the past two years, so now I’m feeling pretty good about my game,” said Leonard.
“I get up, practice, play and go back and do the same thing seven days a week,” added Leonard, who is a PGA of Canada professional at Whistle Bear Golf Club in Cambridge, Ont.
It was all or nothing for the former University of Detroit Mercy Titan coming into Wednesday’s round. Earning a spot in the RBC Canadian Open Final Qualifier on June 6 meant little to nothing for Leonard, who will be competing in the U.S. Open Final Qualifier that same day, so he knew he had to win to get in.
Despite making consecutive birdies on hole Nos. 8, 9, 10 and 11, it wasn’t until a 45-foot putt for birdie on No. 16 that Leonard – who admittedly looked at the leaderboard prior to his round – thought he had a legitimate chance at winning the qualifier.
“I wanted to get to 7 under. Obviously, that didn’t happen, but I still got the job done,” he said. “I’ve had a few good years lately, but I think this one takes the cake,” added Leonard, alluding to Thursday’s win being the best moment in his golf career.
Leonard says he’s never played at St George’s Golf and Country Club before but plans on visiting before teeing it up the week of June 6-12. As for his goal for that week, it’s simple:
“Every tournament I play, I try to win, so I am going to take it hole-by-hole and try to birdie as many as I can.”
Leonard says he’s got many phone calls to make, but the first went out to his parents.
“They’re my biggest supporters; they’ve done a lot for me [and] helped me out a lot so they’re going to be pretty happy,” he laughed.
Despite being six days shy of his 31st birthday, Leonard plans on celebrating early.
“We’re going to have fun tonight,” he joked, with a wry smile.
The 18-hole qualifier at TPC Toronto was the third of four regional qualifiers taking place across the country. The fourth, and final, regional qualifier is scheduled for Monday, May 30at Mickelson National Golf Club in Calgary, Alta, rounding up the field for the Final Qualifier.
Barker wins, eight others through at the RBC Canadian Open Regional Qualifier in B.C.
Meadow Gardens Golf Club in Pitt Meadows, B.C., on May 17, 2022 for the RBC Canadian Open Regional Qualifier.
PITT MEADOWS, B.C. – It took six holes for Bryce Barker to get settled in at Meadow Gardens Golf Club in Pitt Meadows, B.C., but once he found his groove, there was no looking back.
After making a bogey on hole 6, the Vernon, B.C. native shifted gears into the fast lane as he recorded three birdies in his final 12 holes to finish at 2-under par on Tuesday at the RBC Canadian Open Regional Qualifier in British Columbia.
As there were less than 100 competitors at the Regional Qualifier, Barker did not gain a direct exemption into the 2022 RBC Canadian Open, but will be vying for a spot in the tournament at the Final Qualifier.
Joining Barker at Oakdale Golf & Country Club on June 6 are Tanvir Kahlon (Langley, B.C.); Owen Kim (Oakville, Ont.); Sang Lee (Calgary, Alta); Nigel Sinnott (Abbotsford, B.C); Gunner Wiebe (Phoenix, Az); Brendan Dillon (Port Moody, B.C.); Scott Kerr (Vancouver, B.C.); and Tony Gil (Delta, B.C.).
Kahlon and Kim tackled the 7,041-yard layout with a pair of 1-under par rounds of 71, while Lee came in alone in fourth with a respectable round of even par.
Sinnott and Wiebe carded scores of 1-over 71, good enough for a T5 finish; and Dillon, Gil and Kerr – who birdied hole 18 – made it on the number at 2-over par.
The 18-hole qualifier at Meadow Gardens was the second of four regional qualifiers taking place across the country. The next qualifier goes tomorrow (Wednesday, May 18) at TPC Toronto at Osprey Valley (North Course) in Caledon, Ont., where one of 144 players will be granted direct entry into the 2022 RBC Canadian Open at St. George’s Golf & Country Club. The final regional qualifier is scheduled for May 30at Mickelson National Golf Club in Calgary, Alta.
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Tip of the cap
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Excitement builds ahead of RBC Canadian Open return
John Chidley-Hill/ Canadian Press
TORONTO – Corey Conners is ready to hear the roar of Canadian golf fans for the first time in three years.
Conners, from Listowel, Ont., is currently the top-ranked Canadian in the field at this summer’s RBC Canadian Open. The national men’s golf championship has been cancelled the past two years because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but will return on June 6-12 at St. George’s Golf and Country Club in Toronto.
“I think the Canadian fans travel as well as anyone. I feel a lot of Canadian love week in and week out,” said Conners, who is No. 32 on the FedExCup rankings. “But to have the crowd made up of pretty much all Canadians is going to be amazing.
A full Canadian contingent will join Conners at the only PGA Tour event north of the border. Former PGA Tour winners Mackenzie Hughes of Dundas, Ont., as well as Adam Hadwin and Nick Taylor, both from Abbotsford, B.C., have already signed on.
Taylor Pendrith of Richmond Hill, Ont., Adam Svensson of Surrey, B.C., Michael Gligic of Burlington, Ont., and Roger Sloan of Merritt, B.C., are also set to compete. Aaron Cockerill of Stony Mountain, Man., currently ranked No. 32 on the European-based DP World Tour, has been given a tournament exemption to compete at the PGA Tour event.
“It’s going to certainly be a lot of fans out there cheering us on,” said Conners, who noted that the tournament will be in Toronto for the first time in 12 years since St. George’s also hosted the event in 2010. “I think there’s going to be a lot of cool things for people to do away from the golf course.
“You know, we’re there to take care of business but you can explore the sights in Toronto. I think a lot a lot of people and families that travelled there with the players will be excited about that.”
LIV Golf, a new men’s professional golf tour that hopes to rival the PGA Tour, will hold its first-ever tournament the same week as the Canadian Open at the Centurion Golf Club outside of London, England.
Canadian Open tournament director Bryan Crawford said that the LIV event did not make it any more difficult to assemble a competitive field.
“We’re very fortunate to have a great home-field advantage with all of our Canadians that people come out to see and can win a tournament any given week,” said Crawford, noting that this year’s field is just as strong as the 2019 edition at Hamilton Golf and Country Club. “We’ve been able to attract the very best players in the world.”
World No. 4 Cameron Smith, No. 18 Matt Fitzpatrick, and No. 19 Tony Finau, were added to the event’s field on Monday.
They’re joining an already stacked field that includes defending Canadian Open champion and world No. 7 Rory McIlroy, world No. 1 and reigning Masters champion Scottie Scheffler and world No. 11 Dustin Johnson.
Mary DePaoli, executive vice-president and chief marketing officer of title sponsor RBC, said that more player announcements were to come in the weeks before the Canadian Open.
“I am very confident when I say this: any global golf fan who tunes into the weekend of June 9 through 12 to watch great golf is going to be watching the RBC Canadian Open that weekend,” said DePaoli.
The RBCxMusic concert series and The Rink feature hole, two staples of the Canadian Open weekend, will return in 2022. Flo Rida and Maroon 5 will perform after the second and third rounds at nearby Richview Collegiate Institute. The Rink, a featured hole that includes hockey boards around the tee box, will be at No. 16 at St. Georges.
“I think it’s a really cool feature, sort of a Canadian hockey reference and I think your fans will be excited, the players, I think, are going to like it,” said Conners. “I think the atmosphere there is really cool.
“It’s something a little extra special about the event and hopefully I get some good shots on the Rink.”
Adamonis, Gordon, among 11 that advance at RBC Canadian Open Regional Qualifier in Quebec
Blainville, Que. – Brad Adamonis’ T-1 finish at the RBC Canadian Open Regional Qualifier wasn’t the only no. 1 the Cumberland, Rhode Island, native posted on Monday.
A hole-in-one on the 175-yard, par 3 10th hole at Club de Golf Le Blainvillier in Blainville, Que., highlighted Adamonis’ round of a 2-under-par 69, as he and 10 others advanced to the Final Qualifier taking place on June 6, at Oakdale Golf & Country Club in Toronto, Ont.
Kevin Gordon, of Whitby, Ont., also carded a 2-under-par 69, matching the low score of the day in a starting field that featured 84 players.
Since there were less than 100 competitors at the Quebec regional event, there was no playoff needed to determine an outright winner, who otherwise would have received an exemption directly into the 2022 RBC Canadian Open.
Adamonis, a one-time winner on the Korn Ferry Tour, walked up to the tee on 18 needing only a par to secure the low qualifier honours, but a bogey on his final hole of the day opened the door for Gordon who subsequently capitalized on the opportunity.
Gordon, in his own right, was firing on all cylinders in the early stages of his round, holing two birdies and an eagle to start, but fought the course down the stretch with a pair of bogeys on the back nine, to finish tied atop the leaderboard.
Brandon Lacasse was one of two Quebec natives, alongside Team Canada Young Pro Squad member Hugo Bernard, to qualify out of his home province on Monday. After back-to-back bogeys on the front nine, Lacasse battled back, firing a 2-under 33 on his final nine holes of the day, to finish at even par on the round.
“After the front nine, I knew I needed to go low coming in to have a chance, so I’m proud of the way I turned things around today,” said the 24-year-old, Lacasse. “For now, the focus is on the tournaments in front of me, but I’m excited to play in the Monday Qualifier in June,” he added.
The breakdown of the Quebec qualifier goes as follows: seven players from Ontario, one from Quebec, one from British Columbia, and two based out of the United States.
Étienne Brault, who qualified for the RBC Canadian Open through the Quebec qualifier and then the Final Monday Qualifier in 2019, missed today’s cut by one stroke.
The 18-hole qualifier at Le Blainvillier was the first of four regional qualifiers taking place across the country. The second qualifier takes place at Meadow Gardens Golf Club in Pitt Meadows, B.C. on Tuesday, May 17 and the third regional qualifier is at TPC Toronto at Osprey Valley (North Course) in Caledon, Ont. on Wednesday, May 18. For the first time, a fourth regional qualifier will take place in Calgary, Alta. at Mickelson National Golf Club on Monday, May 30.
A minimum of four players from the 18-hole stroke play Final Qualifier on June 6 will gain entry into the RBC Canadian Open field.
World no. 4 Cam Smith joins field for 2022 RBC Canadian Open
Keyur Khamar/PGA TOUR via Getty Images
One of the hottest golfers on the planet is sure to be a fan-favourite at St. George’s Golf and Country Club in Toronto as world no. 4 Cameron Smith will compete in the 2022 RBC Canadian Open.
Competing in his third RBC Canadian Open, the 28-year-old Aussie is having a stellar season with five top-10 finishes including victories at The Players Championship and the Sentry Tournament of Champions in addition to a T3 finish at the Masters. Currently ranked no. 3 on the 2022 FedEx Cup, Smith is a 5-time winner on the PGA TOUR.
“I’ve heard how much positive momentum there is for the return of the RBC Canadian Open. I’m actually pretty excited to get back to Canada for the first time since 2017 and keen to play St. George’s, which I hear is one of the top courses in the country,” said Smith. “Similar to back home in Australia, Canada’s golf fans seem really passionate and I’m looking forward to heading up Toronto in June to compete in their National Open.”
Internationally, Smith is a two-time winner of the Australian PGA Championship, was a member of the International Team at the 2019 President’s Cup and competed for Australia at the 2020 Olympic Games.
Smith joins a strong field that includes defending champion and world no. 7 Rory McIlroy, world no. 1 and reigning Masters champion Scottie Scheffler, and world no. 11 Dustin Johnson along with other members of Team RBC.
After a two-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the RBC Canadian Open is set to return June 6-12 with an exciting field expected at St. George’s Golf and Country Club this summer. Nearby Islington Golf Club will serve as the official practice facility for the championship.
A full Canadian contingent will also celebrate the return of the RBC Canadian Open led by world no. 32 Corey Conners, past PGA TOUR winners Mackenzie Hughes, Adam Hadwin and Nick Taylor as well as fellow PGA TOUR members Taylor Pendrith, Adam Svensson, Michael Gligic and Roger Sloan.
Winnipeg native Aaron Cockerill, currently ranked no. 32 on the DP World Tour, has been given a tournament exemption to compete in the 2022 RBC Canadian Open. Additional Canadian player exemptions will be named in the coming weeks.
Johnsonville becomes Official Sausage Partner of Golf Canada
Golf Canada is proud to announce a new partnership with Johnsonville that will see the company become the Official Sausage Partner of Golf Canada and its two signature events – the RBC Canadian Open and the CP Women’s Open.
The partnership positions Johnsonville as the exclusive supplier of sausage products – including their signature bratwurst – at Canada’s National Open Golf Championships beginning in 2022.
Spectators at the RBC Canadian Open and CP Women’s Open will also enjoy sampling new and sensational flavours from one of North America’s leading sausage brands at the Johnsonville Trailer within the Recipe Unlimited Fare Way food and beverage experience.
“We are very pleased to welcome Johnsonville’s globally renowned products as the Official Sausage Partner of the RBC Canadian Open and CP Women’s Open,” said John Sibley, Chief Commercial Officer of Golf Canada. “Golf fans will be treated to a premium food and sampling experience, and we look forward to this partnership enhancing the summer-fun festival vibe across our two flagship properties.”
Johnsonville has remained committed to excellence since its inception in 1945. For the 77-year-old organization, partnering with the National Sport Federation is an opportunity to showcase their signature products to an engaged golf audience at two of Canada’s premier sporting events.
“Our brand has always been one to bring family and friends together around good food and good times – at backyard barbeques and sporting events of all kind. We’re proud to bring golf fans our delicious Johnsonville bratwurst at Golf Canada events and serve as the official sausage of the CP Women’s Open and RBC Canadian Open” said Brad Martin, Managing Director of Johnsonville Canada.
The 2022 RBC Canadian Open will be held June 6-12 at St. George’s Golf & Country Club in Toronto, Ont. with nearby Islington Golf Club as the official practice facility. The CP Women’s Open will be contested August 22-28 at Ottawa Hunt & Golf Club in Ottawa, Ont.
Sleeman Breweries named Official Beer Partner of Golf Canada, the RBC Canadian Open & CP Women’s Open
(April 21, 2022) – Canada’s National Open Golf Championships will welcome a new beer partner as Golf Canada has selected Sleeman Breweries and their premium portfolio of beers, led by Sleeman Clear 2.0, as the Official Beer of Golf Canada, the RBC Canadian Open and the CP Women’s Open.
Through the partnership, Sleeman Clear 2.0, the fastest growing light beer in Canada, will be the flagship beer sold at Golf Canada’s two National Open Golf Championships. The iconic beer brand will also engage spectators with fun activations including a custom beer patio at both events as well as an exclusive dedicated VIP viewing area during the RBCxMusic Concert Series at the RBC Canadian Open featuring Flo Rida (June 10) and Maroon 5 (June 11).
“Watching world-class golf and enjoying a premium cold beer is a perfect compliment to celebrate summer festival season. We are thrilled to offer Canadian golf fans an outstanding, premium better-for-you beer in Sleeman 2.0 at the RBC Canadian Open and the CP Women’s Open” said John Sibley, Chief Commercial Officer at Golf Canada. “Sleeman’s quality craftsmanship and proud Canadian identity are well aligned to deliver energy and brewing excellence to Golf Canada’s two signature events.”
As the third largest brewery in Canada, the Guelph, Ont. based Sleeman will work with Golf Canada to host an extraordinary Canadian golf audience with its portfolio of premium-brewed beer, led by Sleeman Clear 2.0.
“We are very excited about the partnership between Sleeman Clear 2.0 and Golf Canada. It aligns so well with our shared Canadian heritage, commitment to excellence and the active lifestyle of Clear 2.0 drinkers,” said Dana Brochu, Director or Marketing at Sleeman Breweries. With its refreshing taste, low carbs and low calories, Sleeman Clear 2.0 is the perfect beer to help Canadian golf fans “2.0” their experience this summer at these two premier sporting events.”
As the National Sport Federation, Golf Canada will conduct the RBC Canadian Open June 6-12, 2022 at St. George’s Golf & Country Club in Toronto Ont. with nearby Islington Golf Club as the official practice facility. The CP Women’s Open, takes place August 22-28, 2022 at Ottawa Hunt & Golf Club in Ottawa, Ont.
TORONTO, April 4, 2022 — RBC is pleased to announce the return of the RBCxMusic Concert Series at the 2022 RBC Canadian Open, featuring headlining performances by three-time Grammy Award-winning pop rock band Maroon 5 and hip-hop icon Flo Rida.
RBC, along with its partners Live Nation Canada and Golf Canada, looks forward to the return of the RBCxMusic Concert Series. Building on the success of the inaugural event held in 2019, which saw sold out performances from headliners Florida Georgia Line and The Glorious Sons, this year’s tournament once again promises an unforgettable experience for golf and music fans alike. The concert series, which was first introduced to attract new, younger fans to the sport of golf, is a celebration of the return of live music in Canada.
The concerts will take place near the iconic St. George’s Golf and Country Club on the athletic field of Toronto’s Richview Collegiate Institute and will feature performances on both the Friday and Saturday evenings of tournament week.
Canadians will have the opportunity to see Flo Rida live in concert at the RBC Canadian Open on Friday, June 10, 2022.
“I can’t wait to return to Toronto this year,” said Flo Rida. “I love performing for my Canadian fans and I’m excited to kick off the summer with them.”
In addition, Maroon 5 will close the Concert Series with a headlining performance on Saturday, June 11, 2022.
“We are excited to announce the return of the RBCxMusic Concert Series, and we look forward to welcoming world-renowned artists Maroon 5 and Flo Rida to Canada,” said Mary DePaoli, Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer, RBC. “We introduced the concert series in 2019, with the idea to create an unforgettable fan experience for golf and music fans alike. The result was our most successful RBC Canadian Open to date and we are eager to build on that early momentum with the return of the tournament this year.”
“We are thrilled to be bringing even more live music back to Canadians in 2022,” said Wayne Zronik, President Live Nation Canada. “RBC has been a committed partner to us, and it’s great to work together again on the Concert Series while supporting the growth of music in Canada through its program First Up with RBCxMusic, dedicated to helping emerging artists with performance, mentorship and networking opportunities.”
“Golf Canada is thrilled that RBC will continue to integrate the RBCxMusic platform within the RBC Canadian Open, offering fans the unique opportunity to see both world class golf and world class music at Canada’s National Championship,” said Golf Canada Chief Commercial Officer John Sibley. “The Concert Series was an overwhelming success in 2019 and will once again attract new fans to experience the energy and excitement of the RBC Canadian Open.”
In addition to must-see music performances, fans can expect exciting spectator experiences, including a dedicated food and beverage area—the Recipe Unlimited Fare Way, and the return of The Rink on the 16th hole, awarded 2018 best-in-class element by the PGA TOUR.
Exclusively for RBC clients and new for 2022, an allotment of RBCxMusic Tickets are now available for purchase on Ticketmaster. With the purchase of every RBCxMusic Ticket, RBC clients will receive a $10 Concert Cash® code, redeemable towards a future concert ticket purchase.
RBCxMusic Tickets are only available for Friday, June 10 and Saturday, June 11 of the RBC Canadian Open. Tickets are available to the general public for purchase on RBCCanadianOpen.com. Tickets for Friday and Saturday are $90 (plus tax and service charges). The event is General Admission / All Ages. Tickets are all-inclusive: your tournament day pass is your concert ticket.
World No. 1 Scottie Scheffler to make RBC Canadian Open debut in 2022
AUSTIN, TEXAS - MARCH 27: Scottie Scheffler of the United States poses with the Walter Hagen Cup after defeating Kevin Kisner of the United States 4&3 in their finals match to win the World Golf Championships-Dell Technologies Match Play at Austin Country Club on March 27, 2022 in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Scottie Scheffler, whose hot run of golf through the early part of 2022 has earned him the No.1 spot in the Official World Golf Ranking, will make his RBC Canadian Open debut this summer.
The 25-year-old captured the World Golf Championships-Dell Technologies Match Play with a 4 & 3 win over Kevin Kisner in the finale. His first WGC title was his third PGA Tour victory in his last five starts.
After his WGC triumph, Scheffler became the 25th man to reach No. 1 since the Official World Golf Ranking debuted in 1986.
A celebrated amateur and college star at the University of Texas, Scheffler broke through for his first Tour win at the WM Phoenix Open in February before winning the Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by Mastercard in early March.
It took Scheffler 92 starts to get to No.1. Only Tiger Woods (21 starts) and fellow Texan Jordan Spieth (77 starts) needed fewer starts as a professional to ascend to the top of golf’s ranking.
He is the sixth-youngest player to reach the top spot in the history of the ranking and couldn’t have drawn up a better start to his professional career.
Scheffler turned pro in the summer of 2018 and earned Korn Ferry Tour Player of the Year honours the next year thanks to two victories. Eighteen months ago, he was named PGA Tour Rookie of the Year.
He was also part of the United States’ winning Ryder Cup team last fall. He earned his spot on the team by finishing in the top 20 in each of the four majors in 2021, and inside the top 10 in three of the four.
And now Canadian golf fans will have the opportunity to cheer him on in person this summer.
After a two-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic the RBC Canadian Open is set to return June 6-12 with Scheffler a part of an exciting field expected at St. George’s Golf and Country Club this summer.More field announcements are set for the coming weeks, along with the return of the RBCxMusic Concert Series on both Friday and Saturday nights.