SHERWOOD PARK, Alberta—Davis Lamb had to Monday qualify just to get into the field for this week’s ATB Classic. He had no idea that he was about to make history.
Lamb, of Bethesda, Maryland, shot a 2-under 70 Sunday to finish at 18-under 270 at Northern Bear Golf Course and become the first Monday qualifier to win on PGA TOUR Canada. After his first PGA TOUR-sanctioned win, Lamb is now exempt for the remainder of the season.
“It’s kind of surreal to be standing here right now,” Lamb said. “My game was in a good spot. I was ready to come up here and compete. But to start Monday morning, teeing off with kind of a play-well-or-go-home scenario, and to make it all the way to Sunday and be standing here … It’s pretty surreal.”
The Notre Dame graduate overcame two double bogeys on the front nine during a cool, windy day to beat Eric McCardle of Oak Harbor, Washington—another Monday qualifier—by two shots and Nicolo Galletti of Berkeley, California, by three.
“Today is about the hardest I’ve ever had to work on the golf course, so for it to pay off the way it did, it feels amazing,” Lamb said.
Lamb also moved into a tie for second place on the Fortinet Cup points list, 42 points behind leader Étienne Papineau.
Lamb shared the 54-hole lead with Eric Lilleboe after players completed the delayed third round Sunday morning. Dangerous weather conditions forced suspension of play Saturday and the fourth round’s weather didn’t really improve.
Lamb stumbled with his first double bogey of the day, on the par-5 sixth hole, and took another double on the par-4 ninth hole. But he somehow regained his momentum with an eagle at No. 10, a 540-yard par-5, and added three more birdies, the last coming on the par-3 17th that gave him a three-shot lead entering the 72nd hole.
“I doubled my sixth hole, hitting the ball in the trees, which you just can’t do out here, and then doubled No. 9 again,” Lamb said. “At that point I’m just hanging on for dear life. Luckily, I hit a good drive on 10, and I just told my caddie, ‘It’s time to hit a golf shot right now.’ And we did from 235 (yards) to about three feet, made eagle and from there we just played great coming in.”
Lamb said it was “easily the best golf shot I’ve hit in my entire life and to do it in that situation was amazing.”
The long birdie putt on the 17th hole certainly made it an easier finish for Lamb, who punctuated his win with an emphatic fist pump when the final putt dropped.
“It’s never done. I was still working hard,” Lamb said. “But to take a three-shot lead going into 18 was, in my mind, a can’t-lose scenario. I knew I was driving. I knew I could hit the green. So, to give myself a chance to win with a five-putt, it’s comfortable for me.”
McCardle had three birdies on the back nine but never got closer than a stroke. He shot 69 and finished at 15-under 273. Galletti also found himself in contention late in the round, recording his fifth birdie on No. 15, but a bogey on the 17th hole would see him finish with a 4-under 68 and in third.
Sudarshan Yellamarajuwas the low Canadian. He shot 66, the best round of the day, and finished fourth, at 13-under 275. He moved up 26 spots on the leaderboard the final day.
“I’m happy with the way I played today, especially under these conditions. I wouldn’t say anything clicked. I just feel like I did my job,” Yellamaraju said.
There was a four-way tie for fifth place, at 12-under 276—Canadian Noah Steele, Sam Choi of Malibu, California, Chase Sienkiewicz of Sacramento, California, and Australian Jack Trent.
Fortinet Cup Standings
(Through ATB Classic)
|1||Étienne Papineau (Canada)||542|
|T2||John Pak (United States)||500|
|T2||Davis Lamb (United States)||500|
|4||Chris Korte (United States)||490|
|5||Connor Howe (United States)||339|
|6||Sam Choi (United States)||328|
|7||George Kneiser (United States)||302|
|8||Eric McCardle (United States)||300|
|9||Nicolo Galletti (United States)||248|
|10||Chase Sienkiewicz (United States)||176|
Twenty-eight Canadians started this week at the ATB Classic. Ten made the cut, with Sudarshan Yellamaraju the low performer. Noah Steele was the only other player with a top-10 finish, a tie for fifth. Here are all the players’ results from those who played 72 holes:
|4||Sudarshan Yellamaraju||275 (13-under)|
|T5||Noah Steele||276 (12-under)|
|T13||Matthew Anderson||278 (10-under)|
|T16||A.J. Ewart||279 (9-under)|
|T30||Étienne Papineau||282 (6-under)|
|T40||Chris Crisologo||284 (4-under)|
|T47||Jared du Toit||286 (2-under)|
|T50||Aidan Goodfellow||287 (1-under)|
|T56||Jimmy Jones||289 (1-over)|
|62||Chris Wilson||294 (6-over)|
Davis Lamb’s victory means he is exempt on PGA TOUR Canada for the rest of the 2023 season and for the first six events of the 2024 PGA TOUR Americas season. Lamb said he had received more than 100 congratulatory texts shortly after his win. “It’s going to be a while to get through all of those. I’ve a got an incredible support system behind me,” he said.
Canadian Sudarshan Yellamaraju, who lives in Toronto, finished with his third top 10 in 11 PGA TOUR Canada starts. He had missed the cut in the first two events.
Fortinet Cup points leader Etienne Papineau closed with a 2-over 74 and tied for 30th. Papineau remains in first place in the race for the $25,000 bonus prize that goes to the overall winner. The Quebec resident won the season-opening Royal Beach Victoria Open and has made the cut in each of the last two tournaments. John Pak missed the cut this week and is tied for second with DavisLamb.
Eric Lilleboe was tied for the fourth-round lead but skied to a 77 and wound up tied for ninth at 11-under. His triple bogey on the 13th hole, a 200-yard par-3, combined with Davis Lamb’s birdie, was a four-shot swing that gave Lamb the lead for keeps.
PGA TOUR Canada does not have a tournament next week. The circuit moves east on July 13-16 for the Quebec Open powered by Videotron Business.
“I’ve never been in a position in a tournament like this to win. I’d say I proved to myself that I can make the shots I need to. But this week there was different kind of pressure.” – Davis Lamb
“There were times I found myself getting ahead of myself, whether in a good way or bad way. Coming down those last four or five holes, I was thinking about what it’s going to be like to win and all that. I had to snap myself back into it. But once that ball hit the green (at 18), I gave my caddie a huge fist bump. And it was just a lot of exhaling on the way up there.” – Davis Lamb
“I’ve played in 40 to 50-kilometer wind like this, even colder than this. Experience helps a little bit, but it’s not something that’s new. At the end of the day, you’ve got to play the shot in front of you no matter what the conditions are. Even if you’ve played it before or not, you’ve just got to do it.” – Sudarshan Yellamaraju
Final-Round Weather: Mostly cloudy and cool. High of 15. Wind variable at 35-45 kph, with gusts to 51 kph.