Matthew Anderson (Golf Ontario photo)
Windy conditions greeted the 63 remaining players in the Ontario Men’s Amateur on Thursday. It remainder of the field was competitive field, but in the end, Matthew Anderson came out on top at OslerBrook G&CC in Collingwood, Ontario.
Anderson entered the day trailing his former Team Ontario coach Charles Fitzsimmons after a hard-fought battle between the two in the third round. Trailing by one at the start of the day, Anderson played with composure that not many 19-year-olds have. He started the day off with steady play, never hitting into the rough and never overstepping his abilities in an attempt to take the lead. Instead, he let the game come to him.
The front nine started as a very close race between the two competitors. Both sat at even through the first four holes until Anderson birdied 5 at the same time Fitzsimmons scored a bogey. Anderson would continue to roll and birdie 7 while Fitzsimmons would post another bogey, dropping him four strokes behind Anderson through seven holes.
Just when it was looking like Anderson’s championship, Anderson went on a four-hole bogey streak, allowing Fitzsimmons to tie, and later take the lead. The young player seemed rattled and couldn’t get any of his shots to fall. Nonetheless, even in adversity, Anderson dialed in and focused and returned to his natural state of calm play.
The last four holes proved to be as close of a race as possible. Both competitors were lights out down the final stretch of the tournament and there wasn’t a sure sign of a winner at any point. Anderson birdied the 16th hole to tie them up at 5 under, and then birdied 16 to take the lead. The two both had par on 17, and then finally took to the eighteenth hole.
Anderson hit his tee shot into the bushes on the side of the fairway, and Fitzsimmons used the opportunity to play it safe to set himself up for the rest of the hole. Fitzsimmons then launched a shot onto the lip of the bunker at the same time Anderson miraculously hit it out of the bushes onto the fairway. Both chipped onto the green 15-20 feet away from the hole, and Fitzsimmons then almost stole the hole with an outstanding putt that ends up lipping the cup. It was at that moment, that Anderson knew all he had to do was tap in an easy putt for par to win it all.
The former Team Ontario student bent over the hole to pick up his ball as the crowd cheered on the new champion. Fitzsimmons high fived him and congratulated him on his achievement.
“Maybe I taught you too well,” he joked.
Anderson finished the tournament with a total score of 6-under (278), only one stroke ahead of Fitzsimmons.
“It was a lot of fun playing against Charles,” said Anderson. “I’ve known him for a long time so we all felt comfortable going up against each other.”
Anderson also commented on how he kept himself so poised after his rough stretch.
“I just tried to tell myself that I was fine. I was still only one behind and I couldn’t change the past, so I had to focus on the future and move on from there.”
Following closely behind the two leaders was Ty Celone (Public Player). Celon had an outstanding showing over the four rounds. Having to battle tough competition like Noah Steele (Cataraqui G&CC), and Daniel George (The Summit G&CC), Celone didn’t have an easy path to the bronze medal placement. The former Team Ontario player finished the week with a total score of 1-under (283).
ABOUT THE Ontario Amateur
72 hole stroke play championship with a cut
36 holes. Non-exempt players must pre-qualify. Must
be a Golf Ontario member.
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