Brault rockets to the first-round lead in Kelowna

Sep 26, 2021

 

Brault rockets to the first-round lead in Kelowna

KELOWNA, British Columbia—Etienne Brault enjoyed a mistake-free round to kick off the GolfBC Championship, the first of two stops on the BC Golf Swing to finish the 2021 Mackenzie Tour – PGA TOUR Canada season. The Mercier, Quebec, native collected six birdies en route to a 6-under round of 65, good for a one-shot lead over a trio of golfers; Will Barnett, Yi Cao and Sang Lee.

“I putted great today,” said Brault. “It’s good because that’s been my weakness this year. I’ve been hitting the ball great and wedging it OK, and putting, not so great. Today it was good to flip it around.”

There is still plenty of golf to be played this week at Gallagher’s Canyon, but Brault clearly has his eyes on the prize.

“My goal at the start of the season wasn’t to get my card for next year, it was to get a win,” said Brault who is currently 19th on the points list. “I’m still looking forward to it. I had a good first round, three more to go. If I play like I did today, I’m going to have a pretty good chance.”

Australia’s Barnett, who now makes his home in Coquitlam, British Columbia, continued his strong play after tying for third at last week’s ATB Financial Classic in Calgary. His 5-under round of 66 included a stretch of seven straight 3s, beginning at No. 11. He posted a back-nine score of 29.

“Yeah, the back nine was pretty special,” said Barnett. “Unfortunately, I actually missed a four-footer for birdie on No. 10, which would have given me eight 3s in a row, but I’ll take seven any day.”

Delta, British Columbia’s Cao, who won the summer series’ Points list in 2020, is also one shot back after the first round. His scorecard included seven birdies.

“It was a great start and a great tee time,” said Cao of his 8:05 a.m., tee time, played in mostly calm conditions. “I can’t really ask for more.”

Lee, of Calgary, finished his round late in the afternoon, and despite the tight, tree-lined fairways, he decided to attack the golf course, finishing his bogey-free round with five birdies.

“I was hitting driver on a lot of holes where guys would maybe not,” said Lee. “I just feel like given the situation of how the points are pretty top-heavy, I’m not really worried about anything besides getting inside the top five and winning the tournament.”

Cambridge, Ontario’s, Brendan Leonard, currently second on the points list, sits alone in fifth place, with a 4-under round of 67.

Key Information

  • Twenty-seven players shot under par in the opening round, with 16 firing rounds in the 60s.
  • Eight players are tied for sixth, at 3-under, including four from British Columbia: Callum Davison, Steven Lecuyer, Illirian Zalli and Cole Wilson.
  • Current points leader, amateur Noah Steele of Kingston, Ontario, is tied for 59th, opening with a 3-over 74.
  • Twelve players are within three shots of the lead.
  • Officials suspended play due to darkness with six players set to finish their first rounds Thursday morning.
  • At No. 6 on the Points List, Blair Bursey is not in the field this week. Instead, he’s playing in the Korn Ferry Tour’s first-stage Qualifying Tournament in St. George, Utah. The top-21 players at the conclusion of 72 holes will advance to the second stage. Through 36 holes, Bursey is tied for 12th after rounds of 68-65 have him at 8-under, six shots behind leader Evan Knight.
  • The top-five players on the final Points List will earn 2022 PGA TOUR Canada membership. First place on the Points List will receive fully exempt status for the 2022 PGA TOUR Canada season, while those in the second-through-fifth positions will earn exempt status up until the first reshuffle based on player performance.

Quotable

“I actually didn’t feel too great with my ball-striking. I missed a lot of greens compared to what I do normally, but I got it up-and-down, putted it great, and every time I hit a good tee shot, I had a wedge in and I put it close.” –Etienne Brault

“It’s beautiful. The entire Kelowna area, it’s definitely my favourite place in Canada. There’s no doubt about it.” –Etienne Brault  

 “It was perfect conditions out there for scoring today. The greens were fairly receptive, they were quick and rolling well.” –Will Barnett

 “The Canada Life Series gave me a great opportunity to prove to myself that I can still compete, and that I can still win tournaments. It gave me a lot of confidence.” –Yi Cao on being the points leader for the 2020 Canada Life Series

 “I like Gallagher’s Canyon. A lot of the holes suit my eye well as long as the wind is not going against my shot-shape.” –Sang Lee

 First-Round Weather:

Cool and partly cloudy in the morning with periods of light rain. Mostly sunny in the afternoon. High of 18. Wind SW at 11 kph. Gusts in the afternoon reached 37 kph.

 

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