Myles Creighton is happy to be back playing golf on the PGA Tour Latinoamerica, but he hopes it’s his last stop on his way up to a higher-tier tour.
Creighton, from Digby, N.S., is the top ranked Canadian golfer at this week’s Termas de Rio Hondo Invitational in Argentina, the first Latinoamerica event of 2023 and fourth of its season. The 27-year-old has been on the third-tier South American circuit for three seasons: 2020, 2022 and 2023.
“Hopefully not long, hopefully three more weeks. If you win three times you can get onto the Korn Ferry Tour,” said Creighton, who has also played on the PGA Tour China and PGA Tour Canada, the other feeder circuits for the PGA Tour. “I’m pretty well versed on playing these tours, but I’d like to know less about them, to be honest.
“They are great and they’re so good for us players to get competitive reps and play against good competition and learn how to travel. But ultimately, you want to get to the next level, which would be the Korn Ferry Tour and then onto the PGA Tour.”
Creighton is already in a great position to qualify for the second-tier Korn Ferry Tour. A tie for third at the 116 VISA Argentina Open on Dec. 4 has him tied for ninth in the Totalplay Cup standings, well above his final ranking of 30th on the 2022 list.
“That is massive,” said Creighton of already being in the top 10, adding that he had a slow start last year. “You put yourself behind the 8-ball when you do that so it’s nice to get off to a good start on these tours.
“You can just build off of that, try to improve on that every week, as opposed to having to climb out of the spot.”
Creighton will be joined by four other Canadians at the Rio Hondo Golf Club this week.
Joey Savoie of La Prairie, Que., Max Sekulic of Rycroft, Alta., Blair Bursey of Gander, N.L., and Brandon Lacasse of Châteauguay, Que., are also in the field. Savoie is 65th in the Totalplay Cup rankings and Sekulic is tied for 87th.
Savoie is in his rookie season on the Latinoamerica Tour and has found Creighton to be a helpful resource.
“It means the world, actually, because Myles has been here for three or four years,” said Savoie. “He knows every country, every hotel, almost every flight, where to eat that day.
“When I got my card that’s the first guy I talked to for like an hour or two, just to try to understand the schedule and understand how to deal with things.”
The two Canadians are grouped together for the first two rounds. Savoie said he’ll be following Creighton’s most important piece of advice: hiring a local caddy.
“Take the caddy, even if they don’t speak English. Use Google Translate or find a way to communicate what you need with them,” said Savoie. “They’re definitely a good investment to help you conserve energy and make sure you know the course.”
Creighton and Savoie both remarked on the heat in Argentina this week, with temperatures soaring as high as 41 degrees Celsius on Monday. Creighton said that the strategy will be to attack the course in the early rounds before the heat makes the greens firmer.
PGA TOUR — Nick Taylor of Abbotsford, B.C., is No. 24 on the FedEx Cup standings heading into the Valspar Championship at Innisbrook Resort’s Copperhead Course in Palm Harbor, Fla. He’s the highest ranked Canadian in the field, with Adam Hadwin, also from Abbotsford, sitting at 47th and Michael Gligic of Burlington, Ont., at 218th. Hadwin tied for seventh at the event last year and won it in 2017.
EPSON TOUR — Maude-Aimee Leblanc of Sherbrooke, Que., is the top-ranked Canadian in the field at this week’s Carlisle Arizona Women’s Golf Classic at Longbow Golf Club in Mesa, Ariz. Leblanc is on the LPGA Tour but playing in this week’s Epson Tour event. Hamilton’s Alena Sharp and Selena Costabile of Thornhill, Ont., are also in the field. They’re tied for 60th on the second-tier tour’s money list.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 15, 2023.
John Chidley-Hill, The Canadian Press