Alabama native Scott Stevens fired four straight birdies, three on the same hole, to claim victory in this week’s season-opening event on the PGA Tour Canada.
Stevens began Sunday’s final round playing with co-leader Cooper Dossey at Uplands Golf Club. The pair started the day at the Royal Beach Victoria Open presented by Times Colonist, with a three-stroke lead. It didn’t last. Dossey got out to a slight advantage on Stevens, and the rest of the field, on the front nine.
With his recent pedigree, it seemed, despite the close battle, Dossey was likely to stay up top. In the last year, the two-time collegiate All-American from Baylor University has carded rounds of 58 and 59 in competition. In May, he also played the AT&T Byron Nelson, an event on the PGA Tour. But, when play resumed after a weather delay, Dossey followed a birdie on the 13th hole, which got him to -17, with back-to-back bogeys on the 14th and 15th holes.
So, after 72 holes, it was Stevens and hard-charging Jake Knapp, who were tied for the lead and headed toward a playoff.
Knapp, a former standout for UCLA golf, shot a closing round of 63 (-7) to post a 72-hole score of -16. He held the clubhouse lead as his closest competitors, Stevens and Dossey, played their last few holes. It looked like Knapp might win it in regulation, but Stevens was able to extend the event by making a birdie on the final hole to get to -16.
Dossey finished a single shot behind the leaders at -15, one stroke ahead of Montreal’s Joey Savoie whose final round 66 left him alone in fourth place, making Savoie the event’s top Canadian finisher.
“I tried to make a run,” said Savoie, who birdied holes seven, eight, and 10. “But after that, I was pretty much grinding to make par,” he said. Savoie was able to post one final birdie, on 17.
Savoie was on hole number 11 when standing water on the greens forced the stoppage in play.
Besides the rain, which replaced more scoreable conditions earlier in the day, the impact of the wind was felt on late starters in the final round as well.
“Today had probably the toughest conditions of the week,” said Savoie who was upbeat after his strong showing.
For his part, Dossey, who was playing his first event in Canada, also kept a positive attitude after the final round.
“If you had told me before the event, I would come in third, I’d be pretty happy,” Dossey said, “now it’s on to Edmonton and I will work to get it done there.”
Knapp and Stevens began the playoff golf on hole 18, which Stevens was again able to birdie, but it was not decisive, as Knapp matched the birdie with one of his own. The second playoff hole was also on 18, but both men continued proving their staying power, once again posting birdie, “three” on the 430-yard, par-four closing hole at Uplands.
It was Stevens’ birdie on the third playoff hole, his fourth in a row dating back to regulation, that finally settled the matter, as Knapp wasn’t able to match him this time at the 361-yard, 16th hole.
“It’s a dream come true,” said Stevens after the win.
Despite finishing runner-up, Knapp said of the playoff, “it was awesome. It was great.”
The PGA Tour Canada takes the week off as players look to qualify for other events. Montreal’s Savoie aims to play his way into this week’s RBC Canadian Open. Others, such as Michael Blair of Ancaster, Ontario, and Evan Katz from the Washington, DC area, will move on to US Open Sectional Qualifying.
After taking the opening-round lead, Blair, who had four rounds in the 60s at Uplands and finished the event tied for 10th, said he’d be catching the red-eye to play Monday’s US Open qualifying at RattleSnake Point Golf Club in Milton, Ontario.
After the pair of co-leaders, there are five golfers tied for third at -10, including Canadians Joey Savoie of Montreal, Will Bateman of Edmonton, and Chris Crisologo from Vancouver. Crisologo, a graduate of Simon Frasier, was the other golfer to fire a 64 on Saturday.
“If you have a chance to qualify for the RBC Canadian Open,” said Savoie, “you don’t mind being a bit tired.”
The PGA Tour Canada will resume play June 13-19th, with the ATB Classic, presented by Volvo Edmonton, at the Edmonton Petroleum Golf and Country.
Subscribe to 13th Man Sports to get email notifications when we post!