One Year Later, Marc Casullo Takes Control of the Victoriaville – Fenergic Canada Cup
Billy Houle and Several Other Québec Golfers are on his Trail!
Get the complete results – Victoriaville – Fenergic Canada Cup
Victoriaville (Centre-du-Québec) – An opening round of -7 allowed Marc Casullo to take the provisional lead in the overall standings of the 2023 Victoriaville – Fenergic Canada Cup, but also to chase away last year’s bad memories on this same course at Club de golf Victoriaville.
Just like he did in 2022, the Ontarian player started the tournament with a bang to rank at six under after twelve holes. If he couldn't keep up the pace a year ago, this time he closed the first round in fine style and recorded a card of 65.
"I didn't necessarily think that I would begin the round the same way again. But I knew that, if I did, I'd have to keep my foot on the gas pedal and not ruin my hard work!" said Casullo at the end of a day that included nine birdies.
"It was a good round overall. I started on the back nine, which is a bit more difficult, and things quickly took a positive turn. Every time I was on the green, I felt like I was ready to go for birdie. I made several good putts and that was one of the main reasons for my success today (Thursday)."
The 26-year-old will have several rivals in his rearview mirror when play resumes on Friday morning, starting with Billy Houle (Joliette) and Ontario's Ryan Curran, tied for second at -6 (66) after the first round.
"I came here with no expectations. Sometimes that's the key to having peace of mind, staying in the moment and being grateful to be able to take it one shot at a time," confided Houle, who almost withdrew from the tournament due to back pain earlier in the week.
"It's a four-day marathon, so I'll try not to get too worked up," continued the 40-year-old veteran with a laugh. “It was a good test, especially on the greens where the lines were very difficult to read. I still managed to make some good putts, then fight the wind, which was blowing quite strong at times. I'm very happy with my performance of the first day!”
Just behind, James Colin Davis (Windmill Heights) and Yohann Benson (Le Mirage) are currently tied for fourth at -5 (67), alongside American Austin Fox and Ontario's Brendan Leonard, winner of the event in 2018 and runner-up in 2021.
"I wouldn't say it was my best golf in terms of hitting the ball, but I did well with my putter and managed the course well,” Davis analyzed at the end of the day. “I'm very proud of my round and the goal will be to keep the momentum going tomorrow (Friday)."
Étienne Papineau (Pinegrove), Dom Lalonde (Saint-Anicet), Iannick Lamarre (Vallée du Richelieu), Mark Correa (Summerlea), and Émile Lebrun (Club Laval-sur-le-Lac) also stood out among the 65 or so Quebecers in action on the Central Québec fairways, all tied for eighth place at -4 (68).
Young Lebrun, aged only 16, took the early lead in the amateur division, where he has a one-stroke advance on his nearest rival, Ontario's Aiden Gavey (69).
"I did exactly what I needed to do today, especially on the par fives! I think my card could have been even better, but I missed a few putts for birdies. I also had a few tee shots issues on the last three holes, but I played cautiously and didn't get out of contention," explained Lebrun, who opted to skip the Canadian Junior Boys Championship to try his luck in Victoriaville.
"The calibre is excellent and it's a tournament I was really looking forward to. When I turn pro, it will be a good experience under my belt and I'm very happy with this first round!"
The 132 participants – 103 professionals and 29 amateurs – will be back on the tee early on Friday morning. At the end of the day, a cut to the top 70 and ties will be made in preparation for the weekend.
A total of $125,000, including $25,000 for the winner, will be awarded at the conclusion of the Victoriaville – Fenergic Canada Cup, the largest independent tournament for Canadian professional golfers from the tours associated with the event: Vancouver Golf Tour, Great Lakes Tour, Toronto Players Tour, East Coast Pro Tour, PGA of Québec, PGA of Canada, and Golf Québec.
Admission is free throughout the tournament for spectators who want to experience the unique atmosphere of this competition!
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