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VICTORIA, British Columbia—Scott Stevens had trouble with the 18th hole Saturday. Fortunately, that wasn’t the case for the former South Carolina Gamecock on Sunday at the Uplands Golf Club. Stevens won the Royal Beach Victoria Open presented by Times Colonist with some late heroics, edging Jake Knapp on the third playoff hole. Besides his first professional win, he earned 500 Fortinet Cup points and takes the early lead in the season-long points chase.
“It’s just a dream come true, really,” Stevens said. “I’ve been working my whole life to have this opportunity and to take advantage of it my first time out here is pretty awesome.”
A day earlier, Stevens concluded the third round with a double bogey on Upland’s closing hole.
Needing a birdie on No. 18 a day later to force a playoff with Knapp, a PGA TOUR Canada and Korn Ferry Tour veteran, Stevens came through. He then birdied the 18th two more times before winning the tournament and taking the first step toward winning the Fortinet Cup on No. 16, canning a five-foot putt on the third extra hole.
“I got a lot of confidence just from making the birdie putt in regulation,” Stevens said. “So, after that, I mean, I knew I was playing good and had a lot of confidence.”
The surge proved to be quite dramatic, beginning with a 15-foot putt for par on No. 16 in regulation. The birdie outburst soon followed as Stevens wound up prevailing in the season-opener.
“It was awesome. It was great,” Knapp generously said of the entertaining playoff. “I mean [Stevens] birdied 18 three times in a row and birdied 16, you can’t do much about that. It was well played by him. That’s just good golf.”
Redemption didn’t come easy as Stevens and others chased Cooper Dossey much of the final, rainy day. Stevens and Dossey entered the final round as co-leaders, three shots ahead of the field.
Dossey birdied two of the first holes to quickly improve to 15-under. Stevens struggled early on. Stevens had bogeys on the third and seventh holes. Although he climbed back to 13-under with a pair of birdies on the front nine, the gap with Dossey existed.
Meanwhile, Knapp and Canadian Joey Savoie joined Stevens at 13-under as the group closely pursuing Dossey entered the final stretch. Canadian Étienne Papineau also made a late charge, getting to 12-under with a 64. He tied for fifth overall. Dossey wound up in third. He had two birdies on the back nine before a pair of bogeys cost him the lead. He had a par on No. 18. Like Stevens, he needed a birdie to make the playoff.
“I had a chance, and that’s all you can ask for,” said Dossey, who noted he was unlucky on his tee shot with a cameraman clicking behind him. “Golf is the hardest sport to win. You lose a lot.”
Dossey reached the green from 140 yards out on his approach, with mud on the side of his ball.
“I did my best. I didn’t get to the hole on 18, which kind of sucks,” Dossey said. “But I had a good week and can’t come down on myself.”
Knapp moved into contention and eventually the lead with three birdies on the back nine. The UCLA product then had to wait for Dossey and Stevens to finish. Stevens, who had five birdies each day of the tournament, got hot when he needed to at the end—enough to counter the 63 by Knapp.
Savoie was the top Canadian. He finished fourth at 14-under.
Did you know PGA TOUR Canada and the players’ pursuit of the Fortinet Cup is taking next week off because of the PGA TOUR’s RBC Canadian Open? PGA TOUR Canada resumes June 16-19 in Alberta for the ATB Classic presented by Volvo Edmonton.
Canada’s Joey Savoie and Étienne Papineau made impressive advancements in the final round but came up short in their bids win at home in PGA TOUR Canada’s return to competition. Here’s how the 13 golfers who made the cut fared in 2022 opening tournament:
As the top Canadian finisher, finishing fourth overall, Joey Savoie was happy how he responded this year after not performing well at Uplands Golf Club in 2021. “I played in the tournament last year, and I did not play well,” Savoie said. “For me, that’s a bonus that I actually found a way to break par four times on this golf course.”
Brian Carlson jumped up 35 spots Sunday. He tied for 21st, matching Jake Knapp with a low score of 63 in the final round. Other big movers include Étienne Papineau. The native of St-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec, had a 64 and jumped up 23 spots, to tie for fifth with Nolan Ray. Matthew Kreutz (4-under) and Dalton Ward (2-under) registered the biggest drops of the day. They fell 24 spots on the leaderboard. Wil Bateman (7-under) and Joe Fryer (6-under) dropped 23 places, apiece.
Scott Stevens and Jake Knapp are leaving Victoria with a good chunk of cash and Fortinet Cup points (a season-long competition with the winner receiving $25,000). Stevens earned $36,000 and 500 points for winning, while Knapp received $21,600 and 300 points.
“It’s a nice bonus to get that money, but the ultimate is to make it onto the Korn Ferry (Tour) and then to the PGA TOUR. So, by winning (I’m) one step closer, and the bank account will like the check. But like I said, it’s playing for a lot more than just money out here.” — Scott Stevens
“I got to have a good day with Scott out there and got to cheer him on. He had a great, great putt on 18. (I was) really happy for him and hoped he would get it done in the playoff.” — Cooper Dossey on playing partner Scott Stevens
“Today was definitely a grind. You know, I did not have my best stuff.” — Joey Savoie
“On 16, unfortunately, I just didn’t get a good wedge shot and tried to make the chip, but it was a tough one from there.” — Jake Knapp
Fourth-Round Weather: Rain fell off and on most of the day under overcast conditions. High of 16, with wind NW at 12-17 kph
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