Two players were having lunch after the second round of the PGA Tour Canada event in Ottawa on Friday when they noticed that Justin Doeden was listed at 3 under on the leaderboard. One of the players had played with Doeden and had watched him make a 7 on the par-5 home hole to finish 1 under, a shot off what would become the cut line. The players notified the rules officials of their concern, assuming it was a live scoring issue (not unusual on a developmental grind). The officials pulled Doeden's card and noticed that the 7 he made on 18 had been erased and replaced with a 5.
Doeden, a 28-year-old who played collegiately at Minnesota, turned pro in 2018 and has played one PGA Tour and one Korn Ferry event. He has spent most of his career on the Canadian Tour, having played 43 events there, and has two third-place finishes. Before Ottawa, Doeden had played two events this year, missing the cut in both. He also played the LatinoAmerican Tour this season, losing in a playoff at the Tour Championship and finishing 16th in points.
Doeden opened the event in Ottawa with a 3-under 68 and sat comfortably inside the cut line. In the second round, though, he made just one birdie and one bogey and sat even for the day through 17 holes. It appeared he needed a par at the last to secure his spot for the weekend.
The 18th hole at Eagle Creek Golf Club is a 593-yard par-5 with water all the way down the left side. According to sources, the walking scorer and the two players in the group confirmed that Doeden went for the green in two but hit it in the water fronting the green. After taking a drop, he hit his fourth into the front bunker and missed from about 7 feet for bogey. He tapped in for 7.
The double bogey left Doeden at 1 under and outside the cut line. He had played in the morning, and when he finished, it looked like the cut would be at 3 under.
At scoring, the player who kept Doeden's card confirmed his scores and signed it. Doeden then asked for the card, saying he wanted to double-check some things. Not thinking anything of it, the player handed the card to Doeden and left the scoring area. When he gave it to Doeden, the 18th hole showed a 7.
Upon seeing Doeden’s adjusted score, at 3 under, the two players approached rules officials. According to sources and tournament operators, the scorecard was pulled, showing an erasure had been made and a 5 had been recorded for the last hole. The officials then asked Doeden, and he said he had made a 5. The rules officials confirmed with the walking scorer and the players in the group that he had made a 7.
According to tournament operators, while the investigation was ongoing, Doeden contacted the rules officials and withdrew.
He was listed on the leaderboard as having WD’d with a 3-under total, the 5 at 18 still on the card. He did not respond to a request for comment.
Now here’s the kicker: On PGA Tour Canada, the top 60 and ties make the cut. Had Doeden remained on the leaderboard at 3 under, 13 players would have been T-61 and outside the cut line. So if the matter hadn’t been brought to the rules officials and Doeden was allowed to stay in at 3 under, he would have knocked out those 13 players.
"He could have affected my career," one player who finished at 2 under said of Doeden.