BRAINERD, Minnesota — Go figure. The first official PGA TOUR Canada event to be played in the United States got an even more international start. After a round of play at the CRMC Championship presented by Gertens, Germany’s Alexander Herrmann sets the tone. He shot a 9-under 61 on Cragun’s Legacy courses to take a one-stroke lead after 18 holes.

The 27-year-old from Munich, who played college golf at Georgia State, had seven birdies and an eagle to shoot in front of the field. Things were going so well that Hermann almost shot a 59. He bugged his last hole (#9).

“I didn’t even know that if I had birdied it would have been a 59,” Herrmann said. “I had no idea about it. That makes it a bit more boring.

On his final hole, Herrmann added that he was playing against the wind and was just a bit too aggressive. In retrospect, he wished he had used a 2 iron instead of a 3 wood on the hole.

“It was a mistake,” admitted Herrmann. “But it’s something I can learn from and be better at next time; try to be more patient and disciplined. There is always something to learn, even though I played a good game today.

Although Herrmann describes his play this season as OK, he didn’t get the results he was hoping for. He missed the cut three times in Canada, including last week’s CentrePort Canada Rail Park Manitoba Open, and finished only tied for 40th in the other four tournaments he played over the weekend. .

Following Thursday’s good start, Herrmann noted his desire for consistency.

“I’m just trying to be very consistent in those last two events and play solid golf,” he said. “The rest will take care of itself.”

Conner Godsey and Taylor Funk are one stroke behind Herrmann, at 8-under 62. Godsey, who played this season on the Korn Ferry Tour, credited his iron game for giving him plenty of opportunities. Funk, who shot a 28 on the back nine, admits these are probably his best nine holes of his career.

“I don’t even think I broke 30 in nine holes,” Funk said after his round. “I mean, obviously it’s a little easier being a par-35, but shooting 7 under in nine holes is pretty amazing.”

Third place is shared by unrelated Fortinet Cup points leader Wil Bateman, Gavin Hall, Joe Highsmith, Thomas Walsh, Brett White and Peyton White. They are all under 7 years old. Bateman said the greens at Cragun’s Resort are “perfect” and continued to credit his good putting, something he’s enjoyed all season.

“I’m not getting too far ahead. I know there’s still a lot of golf to play this week,” Bateman explained. “So, I’ll just keep hitting my lines and see what happens.”

Peyton White, who started on the back nine, birdied five before hitting long putts on numbers 4, 5 and 6 to solidify his place in contention.

“Doing three in a row like that, you’re like ‘Holy Cow, I feel hot,'” said White, who started the year on the Korn Ferry Tour.

Play resumes Friday at 7:30 a.m. and ends Sunday. The winner receives 500 Fortinet Cup points and $36,000.

Did you know Alexander Herrmann finished first at the PGA TOUR Canada Qualifying Tournament in Weston, Florida, the first of seven qualifying tournaments hosted by the Tour prior to this season? Herrmann edged Wocheng Ye by five strokes to earn an invite to every tournament in 2022.

Key information

How the Canadians fared
There are 29 Canadians playing this week, 19 of whom scored below par in the first round. from Edmonton William Bateman leads the Canadian contingent, at 7 cents.

pos.

Player

Score

T4

William Bateman

31-32—63 (7-minus)

T10

Michael Blair

31-33—64 (6-less)

T10

Joey Savoie

33-34—64 (6-less)

T15

Myles Creighton

34-31—65 (5-less)

T15

Chris Crisologo

32-33—65 (5-minus)

T15

Jared du Toit

33-32—65 (5-minus)

T26

Riley Wheeldon

33-33—66 (4-minus)

T40

Hugo Bernard

35-34—67 (3-less)

T40

Jeevan Sihota

33-34—67 (3-under)

T55

Bryce Barker

35-33—68 (2-under)

T55

Stuart MacDonald

35-33—68 (2-under)

T55

Etienne Papineau

37-31—68 (2 under)

T55

Jamie Sadlowski

35-33—68 (2-under)

T55

Noah Steele

33-35—68 (2-under)

T76

cougar collins

37-32—69 (1-under)

T76

Travis Fredborg

35-34—69 (1-under)

T76

Tony Gil

34-35—69 (1-under)

T76

Andrew Harrisson

34-35—69 (1-under)

T76

Brendan Leonard

36-33—69 (1-under)

T102

Blair Bursey

36-34—70 (even)

T102

Henry Lee

37-33—70 (even)

T102

Lawren Rowe

36-34—70 (even)

T102

Sudarshan Yellamaraju

36-34—70 (even)

Fortinet Cup standings

(Via CentrePort Canada Rail Park Manitoba Open)

Rank

Player

Points

First round tournament Pos.

1

Wil Bateman (Canada)

731

T4

2

Danny Walker (USA)

720

T76

3

Brian Carlson (USA)

663

T135

4

Scott Stevens (USA)

626

T15

5

Ian Holt (USA)

620

T40

6

Ryan Gerard (USA)

597

T15

seven

Parker Coody (USA)

555

T40

8

Noah Goodwin (USA)

520

T40

9

Jake Knapp (USA)

514

T10

ten

Thomas Walsh (USA)

508

T4

by Alexandre Hermann Opening Round 61 was the lowest score this season on PGA TOUR Canada. Taylor Funk‘s 28 on the back nine – five birdies and an eagle – tied the best nine-hole score this year. The other 28 this season came courtesy of James Allenby in the second round on the back nine at TPC Toronto in Osprey Valley. parker Coody (less than 10 years old), Dany Walker (9-minus) and Eric Lilleboe (under 8) all shot 62 seconds earlier this season.

Know Godsey recently completed his Korn Ferry Tour season, finishing 103rd on the points list. This is his first start on the PGA TOUR Canada since August 2015. That season he appeared in eight tournaments and made one cut. In 2021-22, Godsey played on PGA TOUR Latinoamerica, won the Open Banco del Pacifico in Quito, Ecuador, and finished third on the points list to earn playing privileges on the Korn Ferry Tour.

In his last five rounds, Gabin Hall is a handset under 25. He was 18 under last week and 7 under to start this tournament. That streak of good play came after Hall missed back-to-back cuts before his third-place tie last week in Winnipeg.

Fortinet Cup Points Leader William Bateman holds a narrow 11-point lead over Danny Walker as PGA TOUR Canada enters its final three tournaments of the season. The Canadian took the lead last week. “Playing with the points lead is interesting,” Bateman said. “Obviously you’re confident and you know what you’re doing is working. But at the same time, there’s this added pressure that you’re first.

With his first round 63, Will batman kept his under-par streak alive. He is currently at 10 in a row, starting with the final round of the Sotheby’s International Realty Canada Ontario Open. Bateman’s lowest score this season was 65, which he did three other times (second round at the Royal Beach Victoria Open and in the first and last rounds of his victory at the ATB Classic presented by Volvo Edmonton.

Bret Blanc birdied eight in Thursday’s first round and finished 7 under on the day. The former East Michigan standout thanks one of his roommates for offering a little help with his putt. White joked that he should buy Michael Blair having dinner. “I was looking for something. I had been hitting the ball so well for so long and the putts just didn’t go in,” White said. “Putting is funny like that. Just a little tip and all of a sudden the ball goes in. Blair advised White to shift his gaze to the ball a little more and tilt his head a little more.

All in all, it was a very good round for Monday’s qualifying. Brendon Doyle led the way, at 5 cents. He is tied for 15th. Alex Kline and Jordan Niebrugge were only a stroke back, at 4 under (tied at 26th). Devin Morley (2 under, tied at 55th) and Travis Fredborg (1 under, tied at 76th) also shot under par. Joseph Juszczyk finished even, while Evan Long (1-plus) and hobbyist Viraj Garewal were both at 1 on the day.

Quotable

“It’s a good start. But there’s still a lot of golf to play. So you never know. — Alexander Hermann

“I’m playing well and mentally I’m in a good space. But I focus on [Friday]. I just want to hit that first tee shot into the fairway on the #1 and then go from there. —Wil Bateman

“This is my first time in the state. The weather is nice. I live in Jacksonville, Florida, so it’s nice to get some shelter from the heat. —Conner Godsey

“The rain definitely helped him to be a bit softer. The greens were really firm for the practice rounds. But you were sort of able to control the ball right where you landed it, within five to 10 feet. So, yes, it was good. —Bret White

First round weather forecast: High of 77 partly sunny and warm. Wind variable from the north at 3-7 mph.