The top four seeds at the PGA Championship have all advanced, including Brian McCann of the Academy at BraeBen in Mississauga, Ont., Bryn Parry of Seymour Creek Golf Centre in Vancouver, Danny King of the Performance Academy at Magna in Aurora, Ont., and Brett Burgeson of the host Country Hills Golf Club in Calgary.
High winds, rain, cool conditions and the match play format put them to the test.
“It was really a tough grind out there today,” McCann said of his 3&2 win over Mark Strong (Vancouver Golf Club). “Match play is really stressful and when you throw in how tough this golf course is, you really get worn down.”
Reggie Millage (The ClubLink Academy at Glen Abbey) echoed McCann’s comments, saying the wind played tricks on an already tough Talon Course.
“It got windier and windier as the morning went on,” said Millage, who won his match 3&1 over Shingo Akizuki (Mayfair Lakes Golf & Country Club).
“It’s a difficult course, very fair, but the holes can play totally different, depending on the wind. The par fives can play short downwind and some of the par fours, you have trouble getting to into the wind, so it’s a test and you just have to take what it gives you,” he added.
Last year’s champion, Vincent Dumouchel (Vallee du Richelieu), won’t be taking home the title again this year. Calgary’s Adam Pederson (Cottonwood Golf and Country Club) beat Dumouchel 3&2.
“I knew I was an underdog going in, playing the defending champion,” said Pederson. “Vincent is a wonderful player, he struck the ball very well today and fortunately, I came out on top and I couldn’t be any happier right now.”
Pederson was just one of nine lower-seeded players to win their matches on Tuesday.
One of the major storylines heading into today’s first round, was the match between Country Hills’ head professional Brett Burgeson and Jacklynn Miller (North Bay Golf and Country Club), who is just second female to have ever played in the PGA Championship of Canada.
Even though Burgeson won the match 5&4, Miller said she was still pleased with her result.
“I had lots of fun and my goal was just to make it past the 10th hole, which sounds bad, but I really wanted to give him a good match,” Miller said. “Overall, it was an awesome experience and I’m privileged and honoured to be the second female to play against all of these guys.”
Burgeson on the other hand was just pleased to get through Tuesday.
“Yeah, I’m glad day one’s over. It’s such a hectic time trying to organize and get everything ready,” Burgeson said of his duties as host head professional leading up to this week’s championship. “But now that day one is over, I can move on and just try and play golf.”
The player who sits atop the PGA of Canada player rankings at the conclusion of this event will earn an exemption into next month’s RBC Canadian Open at Hamilton Golf and Country Club.
McCann holds a slim 11-point lead over King. However, Parry, Burgeson, Dave Levesque (Academie de Golf Performance – Club de Golf La Prairie) and Mike Belbin (Royal Mayfair Golf Club) all still have a shot at earning the exemption with a win this week in Calgary.
For complete results from Tuesday and a look ahead to Wednesday’s second round, click here.