SPRUCE GROVE, Alberta — It was a homecoming made all the more special by the outcome. Sunday, Edmonton native Wil Bateman prevailed in a three-way playoff with Joe Highsmith and Jorge Villar to win the ATB Classic presented by Volvo Edmonton. The trio were knotted at 19-under after 72 holes.
The victory, which came on a spectacular eagle chip shot on the second extra hole, at No. 18, was on familiar turf. Bateman played a lot of golf at the Edmonton Petroleum Golf and Country Club from ages 6-12. He noted he was comfortable at the course and spent the week just five minutes away.
Indeed. There was no place like home for the 28-year former San Diego State star. He became the first Canadian to win a PGA TOUR Canada event in his hometown and the first Canadian to win on PGA TOUR Canada since Taylor Pendrith, in 2019. For the win, Bateman earned 500 Fortinet Cup points and $40,500.
“This event has always been special, and I’ve really wanted to knock this one off for a really long time. And I felt going into this week I was playing some of the best golf of my life,” Bateman said. “I really did a great job of staying in the moment this week, especially with everything that was going outside of the course.
|Pos.||Player||Scores||Fortinet Cup Pos.|
|T1||Wil Bateman (Canada)||65-67-68-65—265 (19-under)||1|
|T1||Joe Highsmith (U.S.)||66-67-66-66—265 (19-under)||T4|
|T1||Jorge Villar (Mexico)||67-66-66-66—265 (19-under)||T4|
|T4||Trent Phillips (U.S.)||67-66-67-68—268 (16-under)||12|
|T4||Rhett Rasmussen (U.S.)||64-67-71-66—268 (16-under)||11|
|6||Dalton Ward (U.S.)||67-68-66-68—269 (15-under)||16|
|T7||Chris Crisologo (Canada)||70-66-66-68—270 (14-under)||T7|
|T7||J.T. Griffin (U.S.)||70-66-68-66—270 (14-under)||T21|
|T7||Jonathan Hardee (U.S.)||67-66-66-71—270 (14-under)||T21|
|T7||Jake Scott (U.S.)||67-68-69-66—270 (14-under)||10|
|T7||Danny Walker (U.S.)||66-65-68-71—270 (14-under)||19|
“Just to come out on top is special,” he added.
Although things were tight before the round began, the competition intensified when Highsmith and Villar teed off in the early afternoon. At the time, there was an eight-way tie for first, at 14-under, and 20 others within four shots of the lead on the packed leaderboard.
Villar, though, came out swinging and swinging well. He birdied the first two holes and four of his opening six to seize control of the lead. However, Bateman pulled even after the turn by getting birdies on the 11th and 12th holes to go to 18-under, as well.
It didn’t stay that way for long. Villar also birdied No. 11 to regain an advantage. And that, too, lacked staying power. On No. 12, Villar’s streak of 56 consecutive holes without a bogey came to an end.
Meanwhile, Bateman birdied No. 15 to cap a two-stroke swing and move into sole possession of the lead, at 19-under. Shortly thereafter, Highsmith joined Villar at 18-under with a chip-shot make for birdie on No. 14.
Bateman then parred the final three holes and had to wait for the contenders to finish, missing a birdie putt on No. 18. Drama ensued down the stretch as Highsmith wound up in a bunker on No. 17 and took a bogey. “It was really the first time I had played all day not protective. I felt like most of the day I was a little nervy, trying not to mess up,” Highsmith observed. “Once I bogeyed 17 and saw Wil had finished at 19(-under), I decided there was no point in holding back anymore.”
Highsmith bounced back with an eagle on No. 18, a putt he had to have to get into the playoff. “It was pretty sick to convert that putt. Then Jorge made that putt, too. It was a pretty crazy finish,” said the former Pepperdine star about Villar joining the overtime session with his last-hole birdie.
The playoff began with all three recording birdies on the first go-around at No. 18. Highsmith came up just short with his eagle attempt.
In the end, though, Bateman made his hometown happy on the second playoff hole by knocking in a chip for the memorable finish.
This is Bateman’s first victory since he won on PGA TOUR Latinoamérica. In October 2015, Bateman captured the Hyundai-BBVA Chile Open at Los Leones Golf Club in Santiago. He defeated Rafael Campos by a stroke for the title, making a birdie on the 72nd hole to avoid a playoff with Campos.
PGA TOUR Canada’s third tournament of the year is set for this coming week in Saskatchewan. The Elk Ridge Open begins Thursday with Bateman atop the Fortinet Cup standings, 31 points ahead of second-place Scott Stevens, winner of the season-opening tournament in Victoria.
Did you know the last time there was a three-man playoff in a PGA TOUR Canada event was on June 24, 2018 when T.T. Crouch topped Chris Williams and Zach Wright at the Lethbridge Paradise Canyon Open?
There’s a new leader atop the Fortinet Cup standings. Wil Bateman leads the chase for the $25,000 bonus and Player of the Year honor as the points leader. The competition continues through all 11 tournaments. The ATB Classic was the second stop. Bateman tied for 26th in the season-opening Royal Beach Victoria Open. His performance upped his Fortinet Cup point total to 531, surpassing previous leader Scott Stevens. After winning in Victoria, Stevens failed to make the cut.