Langley, British Columbia’s Adam Cornelson fired a 9-under 63 on Thursday at Wildfire Golf Club to take the first round lead at The Wildfire Invitational presented by PC Financial.
The 26-year old carded seven birdies and an eagle to card his lowest career round on PGA TOUR Canada in 37 starts, and led by one shot over Andover, Massachusetts’ Evan Harmeling. At 97th on the Order of Merit with three events to go, Cornelson said he was coming to Wildfire in search of a spark, and certainly found one on Thursday.
“We’re all making a push for the end of the season, and every dollar counts on this TOUR,” said Cornelson, who has five career top-25 finishes. “It’s been a long summer for me, and I was happy to get a good one in the books. I just kind of slowly got rolling and took it one shot at a time.”
After re-securing his exempt status at the British Columbia Qualifying Tournament earlier this year, the University of New Orleans grad had high hopes for his 2014 season, but hasn’t been as sharp as he would have liked through nine events, with just three made cuts on the campaign.
“Everything felt good for my game and I just wasn’t scoring. I just had no expectations and went out and played, and some putts went in,” Cornelson explained as the catalyst for his stellar opening round.
One shot back with an 8-under 64, Harmeling finds himself in a similar position to Cornelson, sitting 126th on the Order of Merit with two events left to get inside the top-60 and qualify for the TOUR Championship of Canada presented by Freedom 55 Financial. The 26-year old put his round into perspective, noting that he was in solo second after one round at the Syncrude Boreal Open presented by AECON before finishing T53, and was simply focused on continuing his solid play into the weekend.
“I’ve had some low rounds, so I’m not getting too excited after this one because of that. I definitely want to finish strong,” Harmeling said. “I started feeling it there at the end. I hit one pretty close at the end and I putted it well all day, so it was nice to finish it off well.”
DAHMEN FINDS HIS STRIDE WITH EXTRA MOTIVATION
After missing his first cut of the 2014 season and failing to make the weekend for the first time in 16 starts on PGA TOUR Canada last week at The Great Waterway Classic, Order of Merit leader Joel Dahmen said it was easy to re-focus and get motivated for this week at Wildfire.
“It was really weird not to play the weekend. It was frustrating,” Dahmen said. “I didn’t play bad, but I didn’t play great. There was a lot of motivation, actually, for this week.”
It showed on Thursday, as Dahmen briefly reached 7-under par before settling for a 6-under 66 to share fifth spot through 18 holes.
“I think I saw the finish line last week and that’s probably why I slipped up a little bit. There was definitely a bit of a re-focus this week,” said Dahmen, who added that the tranquil, cottage country-type setting this week has put him in a good place mentally. “We’ve done a lot of fishing out here this week, and it’s been great for me. That’s the best time to think, and just to get away for a bit has been great.”
SHIN BUILDING OFF FIRST YEAR PRO EXPERIENCE
It was just over a year ago this week when Justin Shin embarked on his journey as a professional golfer, making a start on a sponsor’s exemption at The Great Waterway Classic in 2013. After one year in the books, the 22-year old said he’s pleased with the experience in year one, and is trying to make the most of what’s left of 2014.
“It’s been a really good experience for me,” said Shin, who made seven starts and had four top-30 finishes on the Web.com Tour while making two starts on PGA TOUR Canada. “It was great to play both the Web and here. It seems like I’m getting better and better each week, and when I played bad I was definitely learning from that.”
At 105th on the Order of Merit on PGA TOUR Canada, Shin knows there’s still time to make an impact north of the border in 2014, and got that goal started off on the right foot with a 6-under 66 in round one at Wildfire.
“The whole round was solid today. I made a lot of putts. I actually hit it really well, so I had a lot of close shots and some 4- or 5-footers for birdie chances,” Shin said.
- Weather: 21 degrees Celsius. Partly cloudy. Winds NW 18 km/h.
- Cornelson’s first round lead is his first time atop the leaderboard after any round on PGA TOUR Canada.
- Cornelson’s 63 matched the first round 63s carded by Hugo Leon and Kyle Stough in round one last year, which were the competitive course record. Wildfire Golf Club played as a par-71 in 2013 and as a par-72 for this season on a re-arranged layout.
- Evan Harmeling won the Massachusetts Open in 2013, then donated the entire $15,000 winner’s check to the One Boston Fund following the Boston Marathon bombings.
- Brock Mackenzie opened with a 6-under 66 in round one and improved his TOUR-best 1st round scoring average to 66.67 in nine starts.
- The first round leader or co-leader has gone on to win twice on PGA TOUR Canada this season.
- Baddeck, Nova Scotia’s Peter Campbell opened with a 7-under 65 for the second consecutive week.
- Kitchener, Ontario’s Chris Hemmerich, who opened his pro career with a T5 finish at The Great Waterway Classic, shot a 6-under 66 to share fifth spot.
- Last week’s The Great Waterway Classic champion David Bradshaw took the early lead at 7-under for his first 10 holes before settling for a 4-under 68.
- The teams of Evan Harmeling/Ed Burns and T.J. Bordeaux/Mike Kelly led the pro-am portion of the competition after one round.
Source: PGA TOUR