PGA TOUR Canada – Sahl leads Dakota Dunes Open presented by SaskTel by two
Dakota Dunes Open pres. by SaskTel – First Round Leaderboard
1. Danny Sahl – 63 (-9)
T-2 .John Ellis – 64 (-8)
T-2. Brady Stockton – 64 (-8)
T-2. Matt Hoffman – 64 (-8)
T-5. Seven tied at – 65 (-7)
(July 4, 2013 – Saskatoon, SK) – On a day when birdies came in bunches, Danny Sahl went the lowest of anyone at the Dakota Dunes Open presented by SaskTel, firing a 9-under 63 at Dakota Dunes Golf Links to lead by one over Matt Hoffman, Brady Stockton and John Ellis.
With his brother Darren caddying for him and his father Dean in the gallery, Sahl, who was born in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, carded nine birdies and zero bogeys on the way to his lowest round in his nine seasons on PGA TOUR Canada.
“I think I missed maybe one green on a fringe, and other than that I was pretty solid all day,” said Sahl. “I’m very comfortable out here. I was born here in Saskatchewan and I’m a prairie boy.”
The 33-year old Sahl has spent most of 2013 caddieing for Mike Weir on the PGA TOUR, and said the experience of being around the 2003 Masters champion has given him new perspective on his PGA TOUR Canada season.
“It’s been a great experience for me working for Mike,” said Sahl. “It’s been a lot of help to me and my game, and hopefully I’ve been a help to him as well. We get along great. For me it’s a nice little break to come out here and play well on PGA TOUR Canada.”
Sahl has had past success at Dakota Dunes, finishing solo 3rd in 2011 and tied for 5th in 2010, but said there’s plenty of work to be done if he wants to stay in contention.
“This golf course you’ve got to make birdies to keep in the hunt come Sunday,” said Sahl. “If the wind blows, that’s the course’s only defence, otherwise guys can shoot really low out here.”
Hoffman’s experience pays off:
An 8-under 64 tied Matt Hoffman for second with and put him in a familiar position; Hoffman was solo second after a 66 in the first round in 2012. Though he fell to a 75 in the second round last year, the 26-year old said the experience has put him in a better position to succeed this time around.
“I think the more you put yourself in that position, the better you handle yourself,” said Hoffman. “I think sometimes I’ve looked ahead and got nervous, but today I did really good job of staying in the moment. Today, I was just thinking ‘next hole, next shot,’ and that’s the reason I finished at 8-under.”
Ellis has eyes on Web.com Tour in 2014:
Also at 65 was three-time PGA TOUR Canada winner John Ellis, who hit all 18 greens on the way to a bogey-free 64. Ellis, who won the Order of Merit in 2008, said he’s acutely aware of the five Web.com Tour cards available at the end of the season, and that every shot could make a difference for The Five who move up at season’s end.
“I told somebody coming down the stretch in Victoria, I was in 14th or 15th place and even though you’re always trying to improve your position, it really meant something,” said Ellis. “Every little shot could be important. A tap-in, a little one- or two-footer could be the difference.”
Dakota Dunes No Match for Birdie Barrage:
While Independence Day celebrations took place south of the border, all the fireworks in Saskatoon came on the golf course at Dakota Dunes.
With unusually calm winds and soft, smooth greens greeting the players for the first round of the Dakota Dunes Open presented by SaskTel, birdies came by the bucket on Thursday, as 116 players finished under par for the day.
Last year at Dakota Dunes, a first round 68 would have been good enough for eighth. This year? That number puts players inside the cut line by a single shot.
“There wasn’t a breath of wind, and that’s what really makes this golf course,” said Kyle Kallan, who was one of seven players to shoot 7-under 65. “If the golf course stays like this, the winning score is going to be 20-something under for sure.”
“The greens are so perfect, when the wind’s like this you know you’re going to have chances to make putts,” said Brock Mackenzie, who had a 65 of his own. “You try not to make any mistakes because you know you’re going to make some birdies here and there.”
– The current cutline sat at 4-under par through one round, with 58 players shooting 68 or better. The lowest cut in PGA TOUR Canada history is 6-under at the 2008 ATB Financial Classic.
– PGA TOUR Canada announced Thursday that the ATB Financial Classic presented by TELUS would be re-scheduled for August 6-9 at Country Hills Golf Club in Calgary. The tournament had been cancelled due to flooding in the Calgary area in June.
– NEC Series – PGA TOUR Latinoamerica member Jorge Fernandez-Valdes made his PGA TOUR Canada debut with a 3-under 69. The 20-year old sits second on the Latinoamerica Order of Merit and became the Tour’s youngest ever winner at the Mundo Maya Open this Spring.
– There were exactly 20 players at 6-under par or better.
For more information contact:
PGA TOUR Canada