Riley Wheeldon of Comox is teeing it up close to home this week as he competes at the 31st Bayview Place Island Savings Open at Uplands Golf Club in Victoria.
Wheeldon was sharp in Thursday’s first round, firing a five-under 65 to sit third overall and the top Canadian. U.S. golfers were ahead of Wheeldon, with Brock Mackenzie in first place at seven under 63 and Jake Sarnoff second at six-under 64.
Wheeldon, runner-up in the 2013 Order of Merit, finished third at the event last year. This year’s PGA Tour Canada event runs June 2-8 with a field of 156 taking part.
Wheeldon is a member of the inaugural The Five, the first five players to graduate from the PGA Tour Canada to the Web.com Tour. With all 50 cards to the PGA Tour now coming from the Web.com Tour, it’s possible for players to move on from PGA Tour Canada to the PGA Tour in just over one year’s time.
Before each PGA Tour Canada event, a panel of experts from across the country shares their picks for that week’s event. Three experts named Wheeldon as their pick, including Bryan Outram of Inside Golf, who said:
“I made a point of mentioning Riley Wheeldon last week before choosing eventual 2nd place finisher Eugene Wong. I’m going to mention Wheeldon again this week as he’s my pick. I particularly like the fact that Riley calls this tourney his ‘perennial favourite event’ on PGA Tour Canada’s schedule in his online blog. And the fact that he was 3rd here last year doesn’t hurt either.”
Victoria golfers are also featured in the field, led by 2012 runner-up Cory Renfrew. Other Victoria natives include two-time Canadian mid-amateur champion Kevin Carrigan, Uplands Club Champion Brock Olson, Olympic View Golf Club head professional Kevin Maxwell and former University of Victoria golf team member Mitch Evanecz, all of whom are playing on sponsor exemptions.
Stephen Gangluff won the event last year. This year’s purse is $150,000 with $27,000 going to the winner.
CHIP SHOTS Follow the tourney on the web at bpisopen.ca, on Facebook at Bayview Place Island Savings Open and on Twitter @BPISOpenGolf/ #BPISOpenGolf … the Bayview Place Island Savings Open was PGA Tour Canada’s inaugural event in 2013 … Renfrew has finished in the top 10 in each of his two starts here, including a tie for second in 2012 and a tie for eighth last year … past champions in the field include Gangluff (2013) and Brock Mackenzie (2010) … 32 Canadians are playing this week … Uplands is hosting the tournament for the 13th time and seventh straight since 2008 … the last Canadian to win the tournament is Craig Taylor in 2005 …