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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

RBC Canadian Open best birthday gift for WSU-bound Jakob Chicoyne

Jakob Chicoyne is still a few months from playing for the Washington State University men’s golf team, but the grad student just teed it up at a PGA Tour event in his native Canada.

And he spent a few minutes chatting with Rory McIlroy.

“I was honestly a little more nervous to talk to him than standing on the first tee box in (Thursday’s) first round,” Chicoyne said.

Chicoyne couldn’t have scripted a better 23rd birthday Sunday, except for missing the cut at the RBC Canadian Open. His dad Ron carried his clubs. Family, close friends and his coach followed Chicoyne’s first two rounds at Hamilton Golf and Country Club.

“The Canadian Open has most definitely been a very good birthday,” said Chicoyne, shortly after shooting a 76 Friday on the challenging 7,084-yard, par-70 layout.

On May 16, Chicoyne shot 5 under, fueled by eight birdies in a nine-hole stretch, to advance through the first leg of RBC Canadian Open qualifying at Sirocco Golf Club, about 20 minutes from his home in Calgary.

There was a two-week gap before the final stage. He flew to Toronto for last week’s Monday qualifier at TPC Toronto, which will host the 2025 RBC Canadian Open.

Chicoyne earned one of the four spots in a field of 156, but there was nothing easy about it. He teed off at 8:20 a.m. and finished at 5 p.m. after a couple of rain delays. He shot a 1-under 69, but he didn’t know if that would be good enough because some players weren’t able to finish until Tuesday morning. Chicoyne and his dad booked another night at the hotel and learned Tuesday morning Chicoyne was in a 3-for-2 playoff for the final two spots.

On the par-5 18th, Chicoyne laced a 340-yard drive but opted to follow his two competitors in laying up because his wedge game has been “really good the last 2½ months.”

Wise decision. His wedge from 103 yards in windy conditions landed just beyond the hole and backed up to within 16 inches for a tap-in birdie.

“That was probably the best wedge shot of my life considering the pressure and everything going on,” he said. “Honestly I don’t remember hitting the putt, I kind of blacked out. I don’t remember seeing it go in. I just remember seeing my dad and the biggest bear hug and just knowing I’d accomplished a dream of mine since I was 12 years old.”

It was a special moment for the Chicoyne family. Ron has been a driving force in Jakob’s career. Another father-and-son storyline took center stage at the RBC Canadian Open when Scotland’s Robert MacIntyre won the tournament with his dad Dougie serving as caddie.

“My dad has been my rock when it comes to golf,” said Jakob, who began playing when he was 4 or 5 and broke a window at the family home with an errant shot. “Always been there for me, always been my caddie.”

Same goes for mom Jacquie, who was in the gallery along with Chicoyne’s coach Luke Workman, teaching pro at Glencoe, Jakob’s home course in Calgary.

As Jacquie, Jakob and Jakob’s best friend were eating lunch Friday, Jacquie suggested her son say hello to the pro sitting a couple tables away.

“My mother convinced me to talk to Rory,” Chicoyne said. “He was the most outstanding guy. He took time to talk to me and give me some advice that will stick with me for the rest of my life. We talked for about five minutes. I didn’t want to take up too much of his time because he had a tee time coming up.”

Chicoyne also sought advice from playing partners Rafael Campos and Pierceson Coody, who teamed with twin brother Parker to help Texas win the 2022 national championship. Coody tied for 35th while Campos didn’t make the cut.

“The course is unbelievably harder (than most) college courses. The pins were tucked right to the edge of the greens,” Chicoyne said. “I learned an unbelievable amount from this that I will be implementing a lot of things into my game. This has become one of the biggest motivating factors for me the next few years, doing everything I can to make it back to this stage.”

Washington State is a big part of Chicoyne’s plans. He originally attended Simon Fraser in Burnaby but sat out his first year due to surgeries and the COVID pandemic erased his second season.

Chicoyne played the last three seasons for Old Dominion, based in Norfolk, Virginia. He led the Monarchs with a 73.1 scoring average in 2022-23 and finished the recent season with three straight top 20s, including at the Sun Belt Conference championship.

Chicoyne’s path to Pullman was aided by former Cougars standout Max Sekulic, who grew up in Rycroft, Alberta, about a seven-hour drive north of Calgary. They’ve played a lot of golf together, though Sekulic is a few years older. Both are left-handers. Sekulic plays on the PGA Tour Americas.

“Max put in a good word and that facilitated the connection,” Chicoyne said.

Chicoyne has been to Pullman for U.S Open and U.S. Amateur qualifiers.

“I’m going into my year at Washington State with the expectation to better myself as a golfer and I want to be a leader,” he said.

He hopes his experience at WSU helps him down the road in professional golf.

“The biggest thing I’ll remember (from playing in the RBC Canadian Open) is that I have the capabilities to make it back to this stage later in my career,” Chicoyne said. “I know it’s most likely not going to be immediate, but it’s one of the things I’ve dreamed about.”

Jim Meehan can be reached at 509-459-5585 or at