Thirty-two holes into the Flagstick.com Players Tour Championship presented Titleist/FootJoy, Graham Gunn of the Orleans, Ontario-based Advantage Golf School (at White Sands Golf) thought he had thrown away his chance for a six title.
Trailing Ottawa Hunt Cub’s Brad Smith by three strokes to begin the day, Gunn made an early charge on Tuesday, August 20th at the Carleton Golf & Yacht Club to reach four under par (for the day and total) through eleven holes. Unknowingly that had put the former European Senior Tour member in the lead but he was well aware that he was in the mix. That made his bogey on hole number 12 and one to follow on the very short par five, 14th, deflating, to say the least.
“That was disappointing to do that but I still has 15, 16, 17, and 18,” Gunn related afterwards. He responded like a champion. “I got blessed when I birdied 16 again; that was two days in a row.”
That birdie boosted Gunn back to three under par, ultimately putting him at a 139 total at the scoring table. It was there he waited to see if anybody would beat his total, just as Bob Flaro had done earlier in the day.
Flaro, who opened with a four over par 75, had the round of the championship on day two. The former Zone Champion blitzed the Carleton Golf & Yacht Club in just 65 strokes. His 140 total earned him second place alone.
John Kelly (70-72) of Hylands GC and Jonathan Schaepper (69-73) of Mountain Creek GC shared third place while round one leader Brad Smith (68-75) of Ottawa Hunt and Chris Barber (69-74) tied for 5th.
Once it was confirmed that he had won a record 6th title (no other player has won more than four), a relieved Gunn shared what the victory meant for him, especially as a pro for more than forty years.
“Six is great,” said the always humble champion. “It’s always nice to play well. For a lot of us who compete, it’s like a drug, you just want to keep playing. As long as I’m competitive I’ll keep playing. I’m not ready to stop playing and I’m not ready to move up to the front tees yet.”
With so much past playing experience and as the former Head Professional at Carleton, Gunn said that even though he was three shots behind after the first round he still felt he was a legitimate contender. “I said to my wife when I went home last night that you can’t win the first day but you just don’t want the guys to get too far ahead. Three shots you can make up there somewhere. You just need to get the putter going and the greens were perfect.”
Gunn concluded, to no surprise, “The outcome was good; I’m very happy.”
In the Senior Division two players shared the win. Dave Kalil of the Ottawa Hunt & Golf Club (73-76) matched totals with Malcom Trickey of the Cataraqui Golf & Country Club (71-78).
|Graham Gunn||White Sands||71-68-139|
|Bob Flaro||PGA of Ottawa||75-65-140|
|Jonathan Schaepper||Mountain Creek||69-73-142|
|Chris Barber||The Landings||69-74-143|
|Brad Smith||Ottawa Hunt||68-75-143|
|Chris Learmonth||Deep River||73-72-145|
|Ryan Ellis||Royal Ottawa||76-70-146|
|Marc Foucault||Kingsway Park||73-75-148|
|Marc Rouse||Royal Ottawa||78-74-152|
|Joe Dubinski||19th Tee||74-78-152|
|Sean Joyce||The Marshes||77-76-153|
|Andy Rajhathy||Executive Golf||73-80-153|
|Ben Goheen||Ottawa Hunt||76-78-154|
|Dan McNeely||Smith Falls||76-78-154|
|Darrell Buchanan||The Meadows||80-75-155|