Saint Jean-sur-Richelieu, Que. (August 25, 2006, RCGA) – Kris Wasylowich of Lethbridge, Alta., cruised through the final round claiming a seven-stroke victory at the Canadian Mid-Amateur Championship conducted by the Royal Canadian Golf Association (RCGA) on Friday.
Wasylowich eased through a final round carding a 74 to finish the week at 281, seven-under par. The 26 year-old was never tested on the final day with his closest competitor Graham Cooke of Hudson, Que. fading early.
“I’m not sure how I got that big of a lead,” said Wasylowich. “I tried to put pressure on them early and make them go after the pin. Once I got that lead, I didn’t change my game, but started to have a little more fun.”
Wasylowich opened the day with a three-stroke advantage on Cooke who shot a disappointing 78 to finish in a tie for second place with two others at 288. Dave Bunker of Woodbridge, Ont. and Dave Fuller of Raleigh, N.C., USA also tied for second.
To add to his frustrating day, Cooke, a seven-time Canadian Mid-Amateur Champion, was a part of a three-way playoff in the Mid-Master over-40 category which included Bunker and Fuller. Bunker, 41, won the extra-hole battle by making par on the 18th hole while Cooke and Fuller bogeyed.
“I’m very honoured to be the first person with his name on this trophy,” said Bunker. I’m very lucky to win against two really good competitors and even more so in a playoff. It a very special win for me.”
This was the first year the Mid-Master category was awarded after the RCGA made modifications to the championship’s format to increase the event’s overall competitiveness. Among the changes were lowering the age requirement from 40 to 25 years of age and changing the event from stroke and match-play to a 72-hole stroke play event.
The change allows the Canadian Mid-Amateur Championship format structure to mirror that of other national governing bodies including the United States Golf Association (USGA) and Royal and Ancient (R&A).
With the Canadian mid-amateur victory, Wasylowich earned his first national title in what could be his last tournament as an amateur.
“I have no idea what I’m going to do right now. I need to take a week and spend some time thinking about all that. I’ve been working towards [turning pro] for a long time, but I need to make sure I’m ready to make a commitment to that lifestyle. It might happen now and it might not.”
If Wasylowich does not turn pro he will get another chance to claim the country’s biggest amateur prize next year by following the RCGA’s Pathway to Champions. The mid-amateur title earns him an exemption into the 2007 Canadian Men’s Amateur Championship held at Riverside Golf & Country Club in Saskatoon, Sask., from August 10 – 17. Last week, Wasylowich was a co-medalist at the men’s amateur and lost to eventual champion Richard Scott in the second round of match-play.
On Wednesday the RCGA crowned the Mid-Amateur inter-provincial team champion with Alberta shooting a team total of 434 to collect its second ever title. Team Alberta finished with an 11-stroke lead over Québec who finished second at 445. Ontario rounded out the top three finishing a mere one stroke back of Québec at 446.
NOTES: 41 was the average age of competitors this week… 42 players over the age of 40 made the cut... Graham Cooke has earned nine national titles (7 mid-amateur, 2 senior) to date. One more will tie him with Nick Weslock for most Canadian titles by a male golfer … During the third round Greg Koster of Courtenay, B.C. fired an eight-under par 64 equalling the course record set 37 years ago by Tommy Aaron at the 1969 Canadian Open…Pinegrove Country Club has hosted the Canadian Open twice (1964, 1969)… Two hole-in-ones were recorded this week - Glenn Robinson of Lower Sackville, N.S. used a five-iron during the first round to ace the 191-yard, par-3, eighth hole while Scott Kennedy registered an ace on the par-3, 169-yard, sixth hole in the third round.
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