The emotion on the face of Hugo Leon was highly visible as he birdied the 71st hole of The Great Waterway Classic. The Chilean gave an intense first pump as he watched his 10 foot putt find the bottom of the cup with the knowledge that it put him one up on the clubhouse leader, Brandon Harkins, who had posted -21. Harkins boosted past the field on Sunday at Upper Canada Golf Course with a record-tying 62.
The 6th PGA TOUR Canada event of 2013 could not have a more magnetic champion as Leon thrilled the crowds throughout the final round and over the entire week in Morrisburg. His emotional celebrations of each successful shot were met with applause from a fan base that seem to grow with each passing round.
Starting the day one stroke back of Sean Shahi, Leon not only had to surpass his playing companion over the last 18 holes but a surging field, including Harkins, who were taking great advantage of the soft course and little wind to protect it.
After slipping his par putt in on 18 to secure his second PGA TOUR Canada victory a still pumped up Leon shared his thoughts on the day and the week where he recorded rounds of 68, 64 and a pair of 67’s. The final round was blemish free, including 5 birdies, three of them on the last six holes.
“I played really good at the end and I played really good the end part of the course all week. Every day I brought it home under par, well under par actually. So I knew if I (could) get to 17 within striking distance I was going to have a shot.”
Leon gave a lot of credit for the win not to his closing birdies but to a few putts early on. “I made a couple great putts earlier in the round. I didn’t make as many but the ones I made were crucial,” he said noting par saves on the difficult 460-yard, 4th and the par-five, 11th.
The save on the 11th was key as Leon knew that if he missed it would have put him three back of the lead at the that point with seven holes to play, a position he did not want to be in. “Out of the seven there’s three or four that are brutally hard, and dangerous more than anything. That gave me the space that I could play safe, keep it on the fairway, and just move it around knowing that I trusted my game was going to come through for me.”
And came through it did as Leon reached 20 under par with a deuce on the 13th hole before making the critical birdies on the 16th and 17th holes to seal the deal.
For the victory Leon won $27,000 of the $150,000 purse. It also helped him climb into fourth place on the 2013 PGA TOUR Canada Money list. The Top Five at the end of the season will earn status on the WEB.COM Tour for 2014.
PGA TOUR Canada heads to the Peterborough area this week with the playing of the Wildfire Invitational presented by PC Financial at the Wildfire Golf Club on Stoney Lake.