Brennan Smith Repeats Victory and Wins The 10th Flagstick Open Amateur Championship

Brennan Smith (Photo: Scott MacLeod)

On an eventful weekend, weather-wise, Brennan Smith prevailed to win the 10th Flagstick Open Amateur Championship presented by TaylorMade Golf Canada and adidas Canada at the eQuinelle Golf Club in Kemptville, Ontario.

Day one of the championship on May 21 was interrupted by an intense storm that not only disrupted play but caused severe damage around the National Capital Region. High winds, rain, and lightning strikes resulted in extensive tree damage and power outages.

Fortunately, the eQuinelle Golf Course was largely unscathed but players were pulled from the golf course for just over an hour and half until the weather cleared and the course was made safe.

With a concerted effort by players and officials, day one was able to be completed as the sun set.

Three players shared the lead after eighteen holes, including 2021 champion Brennan Smith. Joining Smith at four under par was Jared Coyle, and Peter Beneteau. Beneteau took full advantage of the calm conditions that arrived after the storm to birdie five of six holes while Coyle was also riding a hot putter.

The final round began for the group in intense rain and the pursuit of the championship turned more into an attempt to make the fewest errors.

Ultimately that fell to defending champion Brennan Smith of the Amherstview Golf Club near Kingston, who added a 73 to his opening 68 to earn a second consecutive title by two shots over Jared Coyle of the Carleton Golf & Yacht Club.

“I love the golf course here so anytime I come here I feel like I have a chance,” said Smith who recently won the men’s opening day event at his home club in a playoff.

Be that as it may, Smith was a little unprepared as the final round began. While he was confident in his abilities, he had packed no pants and no sweaters to help him stave off the unexpected cool and wet weather that plagued the final round. “Luckily, I found a baggy pair of rain pants and a very, very thin sweater that was crammed into the bottom of my golf bag. It was not ideal.”

Be that as it may, Smith kept his game warm enough to cruise to a nice lead through the opening eight holes of the final round before a double bogey on the 9th hole closed the gap between him and his nearest pursuers. He “held on” as he says and was able to get the win of which he is most proud.

He now becomes only the second back-to-back winner of the tournament and the third to win two titles, joining prolific amateur tournament winner Robert Mustard and now pro and PGA TOUR Canada winner Noah Steele.

Smith can now set his eyes on win number three, a feat he knows is a hefty one, but one is a step closer to.

“Those guys are special players so to be in their company is pretty cool for me. I just love tournament golf, so I am just happy to be here and have a chance to win.”

Coyle asserts that his game was solid all weekend but some troubles out of the gate and a late bobble kept him from being able to surpass the leader. “Today was a grind with the weather. Got off to a rough start and I just kind of hung in there until a late double,” said the A Division winner and 2nd place overall finisher. “I just a few putts that I left on the edge with the greens running a bit slower today with the rain.”

Jonah O’Connor Wins B Division

It took an extra playoff hole but Renfrew, Ontario’s Jonah O’Connor persevered to win the B Division at the Flagstick Open.

O’Connor only needed a simple two-putt to slip past Paul Ridyard of the Hylands Golf Club whose five-foot par attempt on the 37th hole.

“It was nice, especially with a rainy day like today, a fast playoff,” exclaimed O’Connor, who is no stranger to victory having been part of the winning squad at the 2021 RBC Scramble at Cabot Links.

“I drove the ball really well, but I just couldn’t get the irons and wedges figured out,” he mentioned about his play over the 36 holes. “Leaving 35 footers for par doesn’t do much for your scoring but on day one I managed to catch fire and made a couple birdies and an eagle to claw my way to even par and today was just a pure struggle,” he mentioned of his 2nd round 78.

“It’s honestly unreal,” said O’Connor when asked what it mean to win his division. “This tournament is so well run and there are so many good players out here. I mean, B Flight starts at a one handicap so you’re playing against a lot of great players and a lot of college kids so winning is pretty special.”

Prot Takes C Division

Another Renfrew golfer, this one a late entry into the field, top C Division this year at eQuinelle.

Jaeger Prot did not even have the tournament on his radar this year but ended up hoisting a trophy and taking home a nice bonus prize.

“I can’t complain,” Prot told us after earning a division win. “I was supposed to be in Banff for the summer but for some reasons I had to come home and luckily Jeff (tournament director, Jeff Bauder) was able to get me into the tournament.”

Prot had identical scores of 76 on each day, enough to surpass Bryan Sheperd by four shots, and while it was not his best, it was adequate for success.

“Honestly, I’m not mad with the weather and the wind, it was pretty average all the way around, but today, thankfully, I was able to make some putts and make up for some poor iron play. The driver was on and the putter was on and it was nice to see some putts rolling in.”

He added. ”It’s a fun weekend. It’s nice to come down here with the guys, the trophy is just a nice extra.”

Robson Prevails in D

“A big win indeed, especially in that weather,” said an excited Flagstick Open D Division winner, Ken Robson of the Hylands Golf Club. “We didn’t know what to expect, it was really bad yesterday, but we all got through it, and got through it again today. The course was in great shape; it took the rain really good. We had a ball out there. We were shaking and shivering, multi-layers on, but what the heck, that’s golf.”

Robson, who turned in scores of 83 and 85 over the weekend, says strategic play made all the difference in surpassing Daniel Bisson by a single shot. “Every once in awhile I got and laid up, played for bogey. Things like that is what did it for me today.

“It fabulous,” shared Robson when asked what winning the title meant to him. “This is the third time I’ve played and I’ve won prizes each time; this is really special.”

“It was unfortunate that play was interrupted on day one but given the circumstances at other golf courses local, we made out okay,” said Flagstick Open Tournament Director Jeff Bauder of Flagstick. “Despite some rain and cooler temperatures on the final day, we were able to successfully host our 10th Flagstick Open. Congratulations to Brennan on defending the title and joining our list of two-time champions.”

“Once again, we appreciate all the players for making the trip to come and play from near or far. We want to thank all the sponsors – TaylorMade Golf Canada and adidas Canada for their support. I also want to thank all our rules officials, volunteers, and staff for their efforts in once again making this a notable championship on the tournament schedule.”

He added, “eQuinelle did an incredible job as the tournament host for the tenth time. The staff were remarkable in getting the dinner completed on Saturday night and persevering under trying circumstances. Thank you to Rick Milks (GM), Scott McInroy (Head Professional), Chris Vollett (Superintendent), and all their TMSI teams for taking care of us.”

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