Riley Wheeldon is back in the swing of things.
The Comox golfer scorched Bear Mountain Resort with a course record 6-under 64 on May 31 to win the RBC Canadian Open Regional Qualifier in Victoria.
It was the first of three RBC Canadian Open Regional Qualifiers, as local and international talent competed for the chance to move on to the RBC Canadian Open Final Qualifier at Heron Point Golf Links in Ancaster, Ont., on July 18. The Canadian Open (a PGA Tour event) goes July 18-24 at Glen Abbey in Oakville, Ont.
“I had two lackadaisical bogeys in the middle of the round, but other than that I played very well,” the 25-year-old told Golf Canada. “I do know four or five of the guys from today whom I’ve been playing with around B.C., so with so few spots available, there wasn’t much margin for error.”
Wheeldon recorded eight birdies, including five on the back nine, to secure the win. “It was fairly calm out and the course was in great condition. It’s just nice to know I’m one round away in a couple months from being in our biggest tournament of the year.”
Seann Harlingten of West Vancouver, B.C., and Dillon Rust of Edmond, Okla., finished T2 after matching 65s; Rust went bogey-free and collected five birdies. Ian (Jae Hoon) Kim of Surrey, B.C., was the lone amateur to make the cut with a 4-under 66 showing.
The trio of Ben Taylor (Baton Rouge, La.), Ryan Burgess (Dallas, Texas), and Brad Clapp (Chilliwack, B.C.) finished with shares of fifth at 2-under and will join Wheeldon, Harlingten, Rust and Kim at Final Qualifying.
In total, there are three regional qualifying events. If there are 100 or more players in the field, the low qualifier receives an exemption directly into the 2015 RBC Canadian Open. Otherwise, the top 15 per cent of finishers at each qualifier become eligible to compete at the final qualifying event.
A minimum of four players from the 18-hole stroke play final qualifier will gain entry into the Canadian Open field.
There are two more RBC Canadian Open Regional Qualifiers to be played: June 6 at Club de golf de la Vallée du Richelieu, Sainte-Julie, Que. and June 20 at King’s Forest Golf Club, Hamilton, Ont.
Additional information regarding the RBC Canadian Open Regional Qualifier in British Columbia can be found here.
Wheeldon shot rounds of 33 and 31 to finish one stroke up on Harlingen (32-33). Other Comox Valley golfers in the Regional Qualifier at Bear Mountain tourney (who failed to advance) included Victor Choi (76) of Courtenay and Jesse Moussa (80) of Courtenay.
CHIP INS Wheeldon, who is back in action this week at the May 30-June 5 Island Savings Open in Victoria, has been playing well on the Vancouver Golf Tour…he recently won the Battle at the Bear at Bear Mountain (his home course) and the Pagoda Ridge/Royalwood Open…on May 30 the Glacier Greens duo of head professional Bill Kelly and club champion Terran Berger finished third at the 2016 PGA of BC Tournament of Champions at the Okanagan Golf Course…they shot a 63 to finish three strokes off the pace…