Gerard continues to hold a slim lead in Québec

BLAINVILLE, Québec – Québec Open leader Ryan Gerard is approaching PGA TOUR Canada with a very definite end goal in mind.

Like others, he’s determined to get to golf’s highest level. The former University of North Carolina star is making strides to do so in his fourth tournament as a professional. He shot a 68 in the second round Friday to maintain his lead, a one-shot advantage over fellow American Thomas Walsh at Club de Golf Le Blainvillier.

Gerard, at 11-under, holds the slim lead on Walsh, who caught fire with nine birdies Friday, including six consecutively at one point.

There’s a logjam at third, with Bryce Hendrix, Jeffrey Kang, Joey Savoie and Travis Trace all checking in at 9-under. Monday qualifier Chris Crawford is all alone in seventh, at 8-under. Five others are just one more shot back, setting the scene for what should be a tight finish.

“Anytime you are in the weekend—in contention—it’s fun,” Hendrix said. “So, you’ve got to go earn it and keep your head in it.”

It’s been a slow start to Hendrix’s season. After finishing second at the Dothan, Alabama, Qualifying Tournament, to earn his playing privileges, he’s only made one cut in his four starts—a tie for 45th at the ATB Classic presented by Volvo Edmonton. He’s currently 116th on the Fortinet Cup standings.

Earlier in the week, Gerard noted the importance of PGA TOUR Canada, giving him a place to play this summer and providing experience. Participating in well-run events against solid competition, he said, comes before the Korn Ferry Tour Qualifying Tournament and what he hopes is an eventual spot on that Tour in 2023.

The 23-year-old, who also led by one shot after 18 holes, tripled his advantage late in the second day. He had birdies on Nos. 4, 6, 8, 10 and 11. However, he finished with a bogey on 18 to close a round where things tightened down the stretch.

Québec fans cheered Savoie on as Canada’s best performer through two rounds. Savoie lives in the province and was born in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu.

“It was fun to have more friends and family around and more fans out there coming to watch,” Savoie said. “It was good. It was really nice and it will only continue to grow over the weekend.”

Savoie, who shot a 67 Friday, acknowledged the support helped get him going. He wound up with four birdies and an eagle. A “good stretch of golf,” Savoie said of his back-nine birdies on the 11th, 12th and 13th holes.

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