Local course, Country Hills Golf Club, hosts PGA TOUR Canada’s last hurrah
By Matthew DeMille, Sports Editor
It was a weekend full of closure at the 2023 Fortinet Cup Championship — PGA TOUR Canada’s season-ending tournament.
For the participants, the top-60 ranked golfers in the 2023 PGA TOUR Canada field, the tournament was one last opportunity to move up the rankings or climb into the higher division, the Korn Ferry Tour.
The Korn Ferry Tour is the ultimate step professional golfers need to pass before they enter the top PGA TOUR lineup.
For the PGA TOUR Canada, the showdown marked the final ‘swan song’ of the tour. Starting next season, the Canadian golf tour is expected to merge with the PGA TOUR Latinoamérica to form a brand new, PGA TOUR Americas field.
There was a lot of pressure on Calgary course, Country Hills Golf Club, to provide a memorable send off for both the participants and the tour itself.
Yet, the club and its staff remained unfazed. After all, they’ve had experience hosting past PGA TOUR Canada tournaments.
“We’ve hosted the ATB Classic previously. I think six times. Which is an event on the same tour,” Brendan Collins said.
Collins, the club’s assistant general manager and memberships director, was pleased at how well his golf club managed the season-ending tournament, from the course’s condition to the warm hospitality towards the players and visitors.
“It’s a really cool thing to do. To know that we have a golf course that is capable of handling the caliber of golfers that are on this tour. These are top professionals and are usually on the upswing of their careers,” Collins said.
“It’s prideful to know that we can host an event of this level.”
Apparently, the visiting golfers couldn’t agree more.
“They love coming here because of the condition and the challenge that our golf course provides, and that’s a pretty awesome thing,” Collins admitted.
After the last golf ball was drained into the cup on Sunday afternoon, it was Trophy Club, Texas product, Hayden Springer who reigned supreme.
With a collective 22-under-par on the tournament, it wasn’t just a handful of trophies and a sporty cowboy hat that Springer was going home with. The newly minted, PGA TOUR Canada’s Player of the Year was southward bound with a full-time invitation to the 2024 Korn Ferry Tour and an extra $40,500 in hand.
It wasn’t just Springer who earned a spot in the Korn Ferry Tour, either.
The next four golfers behind Springer in the Fortinet Cup standings, Sam Choi, Davis Lamb, Yi Cao and, Canada’s own, Etienne Papineau, will also join the Korn Ferry Tour field on a conditional status next season.
The 2024 Korn Ferry Tour is expected to get under way in January 2024.
While the location of the 2024 Fortinet Cup Championship has yet to be announced, Collins and the Country Hills Golf Course are ready to take on whatever future tournament requests their vibrant links and well-trimmed greens.