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PGA Tour Canada Manitoba Open Winnipeg Jets Mark Scheifele

WINNIPEG, Manitoba—Winnipeg Jets assistant captain Mark Scheifele, a two-time NHL All-Star with 230 career goals to his name, also enjoys swinging other sticks. He is the honorary chair of this week’s PGA TOUR Canada event and is competing in the CentrePort Canada Rail Park Manitoba Open via a sponsor’s waiver.

Scheifele has already done this. As a 10-handicap player in 2018, the former Jets first-round pick shot rounds 86 and 87, also on a sponsor’s exemption. As he prepares for his second appearance in the tournament, Scheifele told NHL.com he has “definitely improved a lot” since then.

Even so, there is a level of anxiety.

“I will definitely still be nervous. I’ll probably pass out on the first tee again and spray a right one,” Scheifele told NHL.com. “It will be one of those really fun experiences that I can do again.”

His PGA TOUR Canada debut, he credits, served as motivation.

“Since playing in this tournament and seeing how good these guys are, I’ve had a new love and appreciation for the game,” said Scheifele, who raved during of a press conference on the good form of the Southwood Golf and Country Club. He also praised the club for preparing to host the tournament. Compounding issues were the 1.5 inches of rain that fell from Monday evening through Tuesday morning. By mid-morning Tuesday, however, the course had cleared out and there was no evidence of the severe thunderstorm that passed through the area.

After taking a scheduled break last week, PGA TOUR Canada is back for its final game of the season. There are just three regular season events left before the Fortinet Cup Championship September 15-18 in Kitchener, Ont.

Across six tournaments (bad weather forced the cancellation of the Elk Ridge Open), there are no two-time winners. As such, the Fortinet Cup leaderboard is tight and full of stories.

For starters, points leader Danny Walker failed to qualify two weeks ago in Quebec City. How will the Osprey Valley Open champion react as those chasing him close the gap? Walker will play the first two rounds of the CentrePoint Canada Rail Point Manitoba Open with two Frenchmen, Guillaume Fanonnel and Alex Fuchs. Another question concerns the head-to-head winners of the last two tournaments. Quebec Open champion Ryan Gerard has the hottest hand, leading after every round on his way to victory. It’s something Noah Goodwin did the week before in Tottenham, Ontario. Goodwin pulled out of the Quebec Open due to injury after one round and is on the court this week ready for action.

Due to the 500 points awarded for first places, the top six ranked golfers have all prevailed in one event and are within 200 points of Walker’s 720 total points. Wil Bateman (ATB Classic), Brian Carlson (Prince Edward Island Open) and Scott Stevens (Royal Beach Victoria Open) place second, third and fifth respectively. Gerard is fourth and Goodwin is sixth. Of the top 50 players on the Fortinet Cup leaderboard, only Joey Vrzich (#34) is absent this week.

The Fortinet Cup points winner receives $25,000 (Canadian). Additionally, Korn Ferry Tour 2023 membership is also up for grabs for the top five finishers. The overall champion wins the Fortinet Cup as the Tour’s Player of the Year and will be exempt from the 2023 RBC Canadian Open on the PGA TOUR.

The CentrePort Canada Rail Park Manitoba Open begins Thursday and ends Sunday.