Storylines: Canada Life Championship

Storylines – Canada Life Championship at Highland CC, London
From the Mackenzie Tour PGA TOUR Canada:

Highland CC. Photo: Jeffrey Reed/LondonOntarioGolf.com.

The Mackenzie Tour-PGA TOUR Canada heads to London this week for the Canada Life Championship – the final event of the Mackenzie Tour schedule in 2019.

The 55 players in the field have all earned their spots in this week’s event. There are no Monday Qualifiers. There are no sponsor exemptions. There are no alternates. Quite simply, this field is the best of the year.

Five players inside the top 60 on the Order of Merit are not teeing it up this week, including Doc Redman – who is playing on the PGA TOUR in 2019-20 after earning status via his spectacular run this summer – and Charlie Danielson, who made it to the Korn Ferry Tour Finals. Tain Lee, Jared Wolfe and Ryan Ruffels are also not playing this week in London.

While the 55 in the field have already secured Mackenzie Tour stats for 2020, there is still much to play for this week – and much to be decided.

Key Info

Dates: September 12-15
Course: Highland Country Club
Par/Yards: 70/6,584
Field: 58
2018 Champion: Danny Walker
Purse: $225,000/$40,500 winner’s prize
Format: 72-hole stroke play

Pendrith clinches Canada Life Canadian Player of the Year Honours

Taylor Pendrith. Photo: Mackenzie Tour PGA TOUR Canada.

There is one race that is already determined before a ball is in even in the air this week at the Canada Life Championship.

Taylor Pendrith of Richmond Hill, Ont. is the 2019 Canada Life Canadian Player of the Year.

Pendrith, who captured his second title of the year – in record setting fashion – at the Mackenzie Investments Open in Montreal (his 28-under total was the lowest, relative to par, in Mackenzie Tour history) also put the Canadian Player of the Year race out of reach.

The award and $25,000 prize, courtesy of Canada Life, will be presented this week at the Canada Life Championship.

It will be Pendrith’s second Canada Life Player of the Year award after claiming the Dan Halldorson Trophy in 2015. That year Pendrith finished third on the Order of Merit and earned Korn Ferry Tour status for the first time.

Pendrith picked up his sixth Canada Life Canadian Player of the Week award of the season last week as well – a feat unmatched in Mackenzie Tour history.

No.1 still up for grabs

2019 Order of Merit leader and 2016 Freedom 55 Financial Championship winner Paul Barjon returns to Highland Country Club Sept. 9-15. Photo: Jeffrey Reed/LondonOntarioGolf.com.

There hasn’t been a race this close for top spot on the Order of Merit in Mackenzie Tour history, and it all comes down to this week in London.

With Taylor Pendrith’s second victory of the season last week in Montreal, the top four players on the order of merit have a chance to finish No. 1 and earn full status on the Korn Ferry Tour for 2020.

This is also the first time in Mackenzie Tour history that more than two players have finished with more than $100,000 earned for the season (last year was the first time more than one player accomplished the feat when Tyler McCumber and George Cunningham reached the number).

Here’s how things stand right now:

1 Paul Barjon $125,738
2 Taylor Pendrith $120,259 (-$5,479)
3 Jake Knapp $119,620 (-$6,118)
4 Lorens Chan $112,210 (-$13,528)

Paul Barjon: Won the Bayview Place DCBank Open presented by Times Colonist and the Osprey Valley Open presented by Votorantim Cimentos CBM Aggregates, eight top-10 finishes, no missed cuts

Taylor Pendrith: Won the 1932byBateman Open and the Mackenzie Investments Open, six top-10 finishes, two missed cuts

Jake Knapp: Won the Canada Life Open and the GolfBC Championship, five top-10 finishes, three missed cuts

Lorens Chan: Won the HFX Pro-Am presented by Steele Jaguar, eight top-10 finishes (including four-in-a-row to start the season), no missed cuts.

There are multiple scenarios in play to determine who will finish No.1 on the Order of Merit:
•Pendrith has to finish no worse than 11th to pass Barjon
•Knapp has to finish no worse than 9th to pass Barjon
•Chan has to finish no worse than 3rd to pass Barjon

Top-10 to be determined in London

Canada Life Championship tournament chair Justin Wismer (left) and Highland CC ambassador and former head golf professional Mike Silver (right) with 2018 top-five Order of Merit finishers who graduate to Korn Ferry Tour. Photo: Jeffrey Reed/LondonOntarioGolf.com.

Not only is there a race to the top, there are also two more races still to unfold this week at the Canada Life Championship.

Golfers who finish sixth to 10th on the Order of Merit (along with second to fifth) earn a pass all the way to Final Stage of Korn Ferry Tour Q-School. Currently Alex Chiarella leads Patrick Fishburn by just $324 for the 10th spot.

The golfers from 6-10 on the Order of Merit include: Dawson Armstrong ($51,655), Greyson Sigg ($46,714), Derek Barron ($46,193), Ian Holt ($41,695), and Chiarella ($40,964). Jonathan Garrick, who finished T2 in London a year ago, is at No. 12 and just $1,409 behind the 10th spot.

Those who finish between 11th and 25th on the Order of Merit earn a spot in Second Stage of Korn Ferry Tour Q-School.

Hayden Shieh holds the 25th spot with $22,643 earned for the season. Yannick Paul is less than $1,000 behind him, while former PGA TOUR member Andrew Yun is less than $1,400 behind.

While the top of the leaderboard will determine a winner, many eyes will be on the other Order of Merit races comes Sunday.

The first step on the path to the PGA TOUR

The Mackenzie Tour represents the first step on the path to the PGA TOUR, with players competing to earn a promotion to the Korn Ferry Tour and then on to the game’s biggest stage. Heading into its seventh season, seven Mackenzie Tour alumni have won on the PGA TOUR, including Mackenzie Hughes, Nick Taylor, Tony Finau, Aaron Wise, Adam Long, Corey Conners and most recently, C.T. Pan.

Below is a breakdown of the performance benefits players will compete for this season:

Winner – Exempt for 2020 Korn Ferry Tour
2nd through 5th – Conditional status on 2020 Korn Ferry Tour, exempt to Final Stage of Korn Ferry Tour Q-School
6th through 10th – Exempt to Final Stage of Korn Ferry Tour Q-School
11th through 25th – Exempt to Second Stage of Korn Ferry Tour Q-School

Miscellaneous Notes
•Despite sitting in the fourth spot on the Order of Merit, Lorens Chan has the lowest scoring average on the Mackenzie Tour in 2019 at 67.61. The 25-year old has eight top 10s in 11 starts.
•Three Canadians are in the field in London. Along with Pendrith, James Allenby, currently 17th on the Order of Merit, and Riley Wheeldon currently 45th on the Order of Merit, are in the field.

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A leading Canadian communications professional. Corporate office www.JeffreyReedReporting.com established 1989.