Minkhorst and Flaro Earn Titles at Flagstick.com Players Tour Spring Open

Tournament Winner Bill Minkhorst with Dominik Boucher and PGA of Ottawa Executive-Director Carol Ann Baxter (Photo: Joe McLean, Flagstick.com)

The summer of discontent with Mother Nature continued at the Prescott Golf Club on Monday, June 1st. PGA of Canada – Ottawa Zone Golf Professionals playing their Spring Open on the Flagstick.com Players Tour sponsored by Boutiques Pro Golf Buying Group were greeted with a cold, bitter rain pounding down and northern winds wreaking havoc on the 1st tee.

In spite of the conditions, a full field of professional golfers was greeted at the first tee by BPG’s Dominik Boucher. The zone’s senior professionals were first off the tee followed by the younger group of professionals playing in the main division. Notably, two women professionals, Addi Nicole McLaren and Alison Timlin, joined the men in playing the event off the back tees. For the first time also, the Spring Open was used as the qualifier for the Zone’s Match Play ladders.

PGA of Ottawa Spring Open Senior Champion Bob Flaro with Carol Ann Baxter and Dominik Boucher (Photo: Joe McLean, Flagstick.com)

Senior Division

Bob Flaro led the senior professionals with an even-par round of 70 following closely by Dany Lacombe with his fine round of 72. Also picking up cheques in the PGA of Canada – Ottawa Zone’s first event were Hughes Fournier (74), John Watson (75) and Scott MacDonald along with Greg White tied with their scores of 76.

Flagstick caught up with the winner Bob Flaro and talked to him about his early season win.

“It was a tough day out there and the conditions were pretty difficult with rain and cold when we started out. I was tight and not swinging very well in the beginning, but I birdied the first hole so that really calmed things down. I knew it was going to be difficult and I said just be patient. I’ve been playing pretty good golf to start the season. This is actually my worst round this year. My driver wasn’t too good today but I got around and made a few putts. I could have been a couple better, but I’m happy. Today I got it done.

Considering course conditions in the Ottawa Valley, the Prescott Course is in terrific shape, the greens are consistent. They should be very happy, they’ve got a terrific product here.”

Main Division

It took a two-hole playoff to declare a winner in the main division as Jason McGrath and Bill Minkhorst both posted scores of even par 70 in the competition. In the end, host professional and defending Spring Open Champion Bill Minkhorst parred the second playoff hole to ensure his victory. It should be noted also that Bill has won the Spring Open three times in the past four years.

Also in the money for the Spring Open were Dan McNeely and Matt Peterson in a tie for third place with scores of 71. Two strokes back at 73 in a tie for fifth place were Lee Curry and Jon Stevenson followed by the seventh place trio of Jonathan Schaepper, Chris Learmonth and Marc-Andre Piette, each with scores of 74. Collecting the last cheques for the Spring Open with their scores of 75 were Tristan Holder, Gord Percy and Adam Miller.

Flagstick caught up with Bill Minkhorst and talked to him about his repeat win. I reminded Bill that earlier in the day I had asked him what he was going to shoot today. His response – “I’m either going to shoot 70 or 90.”

“I did say that. It was a good day. The conditions were tough to start off with and I tried to stay patient trying to hit fairways and greens. I hit the greens, not so much the fairways but that was the plan anyway. I knew that with the difficult day that anywhere around par was going to be in the mix and luckily enough my score of 70 put me in the playoff and I took her down on the second playoff hole.

I’ve played a fair bit this year. I’ve got two young kids, Jacob and Avery that enjoy golf. So when I’m tired at the end of the day and don’t really feel like getting out, they bring me back over here. I’ve been out a little bit for sure.”

Match Play Qualifiers

Following are the 1st round matches in both the main and senior divisions. Times will be set for the matches to be completed and finalists will play at the Royal Ottawa Golf Club in a yet to be determined date.

Main Division

Bill Minkhorst (1) versus Derek MacDonald (16); Matt Peterson (2) versus Andy Rajhathy (15); Dan McNeely (3) versus Marc Rouse (14); Lee Curry (4) versus Terry Cowan (13); Jon Stevenson (5) versus JC Beecroft (12); Chris Learmonth (6) versus Scott Mikkelsen (11) and Marc-Andre Piette (7) versus Dave McDonald (10).

Senior Division

Bob Flaro (1) versus Dave Kalil (8); John Watson (2) versus Colin Orr (7); Greg White (3) versus Steve Hall (6) and Graham Gunn (4) versus Chris Bernard (5).