A season of highs and lows is ending on a peak for Michael Gligic, who is heading back to the PGA Tour after regaining his card at the Korn Ferry Tour Finals.
The 32-year-old from Burlington, Ontario, didn’t finish high enough in the PGA Tour’s season standing to keep his full-time playing privileges by qualifying for the FedEx Cup playoffs. But he found redemption at the KFT Finals, a three-tournament series on the developmental circuit that awards the top 25 finishers a spot on the 2022-23 PGA Tour.
Gligic placed fourth at the second event of the finals, winning enough money to guarantee him a full fourth year on the top tour, before he tied for fifth Sunday at the season-ending Korn Ferry Tour Championship. It capped a season that began wonderfully in his personal life with the birth of his and wife Natasha’s first child, Charlotte Rae, but ebbed with a slow start on the course and then hit bottom with the death of his childhood friend and swing coach in the late spring.
The 14-year pro was getting ready to tee off in the first round of the RBC Canadian Open on home soil in June when he got word that Ryan Corbin had died suddenly the night before in Florida. Gligic played the front nine in tears before withdrawing.
“As much as I was looking forward to it, I was not in any condition to play,” he told the Hamilton Spectator. “Some things are more important than golf.”
Gligic took a break to grieve and played well upon his return, including a season-best tie for 10th place at the John Deere Classic. The late-season run, however, didn’t quite get him into the season standing’s top 125 to retain his full-time card. For the second year in a row, he had to regain it at the finals.
Gligic will join at least six other Canadians on the 2022-23 PGA Tour: Corey Conners, Mackenzie Hughes, Adam Hadwin, Taylor Pendrith, Adam Svensson and Nick Taylor. The season begins next week with the Fortinet Championship in Napa, California.
Canadians line up for Presidents Cup openings: The defection of Cameron Smith, Joaquin Niemann and several other top international players to LIV Golf has created opportunities for more Canadians to make it into the Presidents Cup.
Corey Conners is the lone Canadian to qualify automatically for the International side at the biennial team competition against the Americans. He’ll make his debut later this month, but he could be joined by one or more of compatriots Adam Hadwin, Mackenzie Hughes and Taylor Pendrith. All are within the top 20 of the International team standings and on the radar of captain Trevor Immelman, who will complete his 12-man roster on Sept. 6 with six discretionary picks.
Smith of Australia and Niemann of Chile took themselves off the International roster by joining LIV last week, while fellow defectors Marc Leishman of Australia and India’s Anirban Lahiri eliminated their chances of being captain’s picks. Louis Oosthuizen of South Africa and Abraham Ancer of Mexico had already joined LIV earlier in the summer.
The 14th Presidents Cup, to be played at Quail Hollow Club in Charlotte, North Carolina, begins Sept. 22.
Attendance record at CP Women’s Open: About 73,000 fans attended the recent CP Women’s Open, smashing the previous record by 18,000, Golf Canada confirmed last week. The national championship benefited immensely from the drawing power of Canadian superstar Brooke Henderson, who grew up not far from the host venue, Ottawa Hunt and Golf Club. Pent-up enthusiasm after a two-year hiatus because of the pandemic also brought out the crowds.
The previous attendance record was set in 2017, also at Ottawa Hunt, boding well for an eventual return to the classic course in the nation’s capital.
“There were record crowds this week so I think it would be a wise decision for them to bring it back here,” Henderson said after the final round.
Golf Town extends deal with Henderson: Golf Town has renewed its sponsorship of Brooke Henderson, extending the Canadian retailer’s five-year deal by three years. Golf Town also added Henderson’s sister and caddie, Brittany, to its list of brand ambassadors. Terms of the agreements weren’t disclosed.
Aces up his sleeve: Aaron Cockerill won a bonus for his recent hole-in-one on the DP World Tour, but not a typical prize such as a car. The Manitoban was awarded life insurance worth 30,000 Swiss francs (about $30,500) for the ace during the first round of the Omega European Masters in Switzerland, courtesy of event sponsor Vaudoise Assurances.
“My future children and my wife will be very happy about that,” the 30-year-old said with a smile.
Cockerill had an even stranger ace incident in his next start, last week’s Made in HimmerLand tournament in Denmark. He made another hole-in-one, this one on the par-3 16th hole during the first round of the DP World Tour event, but was disqualified for failing to sign his scorecard. He got caught up in the hoopla of his ace in the scorer’s tent and left without signing his card, a cause for being DQed. That same round included an 8 on the hole after he made the hole-in-one, at the par-4 17th.
Seeing double in Alberta: Fourteen-year-old Adele Sanford has been playing golf for less than a year but already has accomplished a feat many golfers strive their entire lives for – a hole-in-one. Actually, she’s done it twice. In the same round.
Sanford made two aces within a four-hole stretch at Canmore Golf and Curling Club in Alberta during its recent club championship.“The first hole-in-one I felt was kind of lucky,” she told Global News. “Then the second hole-in-one, I just proved myself.”The exceedingly rare double dip left her mother, Kim, in disbelief: “I thought, you don’t even know how to play golf. That’s impossible.”But it happened, as the club tweeted out: “For real.”
Batemen nears professional breakthrough: Ten years into his professional career but still just 28 years old, Wil Bateman is poised to finally break out of golf’s minor leagues. He is the top Canadian performer on the third-tier PGA Tour Canada this year and has all but locked up a promotion to the Korn Ferry Tour next season.
Bateman has one victory on the Canadian tour this year, at the ATB Classic in his hometown of Edmonton, and he narrowly missed picking up a second title of 2022 late last month at the CRMC Championship. He was the runner-up to American Jake Knapp, with whom he’s battling to be the tour’s No. 1 player this season.
The No. 1 after next week’s season-ending Fortinet Cup Championship earns a full-time Korn Ferry Tour card for 2023, and the next nine in the season standings are guaranteed status.
Bateman has played on PGA Tour Latinoamérica, PGA Tour Canada and South Africa’s Sunshine Tour, among other circuits, since turning pro in 2013 as a teenager after spending a year at San Diego State. He has had three Korn Ferry Tour starts and one on the PGA Tour in his career.
Sharp aims for 2023 LPGA card: Alena Sharp’s strong showing at the CP Women’s Open has earned her a spot in the final stage of the LPGA Tour’s qualifying school in late November, she says. The 41-year-old veteran tied for 17th place at the national championship for her second top 25 in five starts in 2022.
Sharp doesn’t have a full-time card this year but said she’ll “definitely” be able to bypass the Q-school’s second stage and go directly to the final stage, called Q-Series, as she attempts to regain full playing privileges for 2023. “That’s a huge thing,” she said after the CP Women’s Open.
At Q-Series, she would have a chance to win a card by finishing in the top 45, approximately, after the final stage’s 144 holes.
There’s always the possibility, too, that she won’t even need to go to Q-Series if she gets more starts this fall and climbs into the top 100 in the season standings. She stood at No. 121 heading into last week’s Dana Open in Ohio.
Top: Michael Gligic rebounds from tough season to regain his PGA Tour card in the Korn Ferry Tour Finals.