Matt Hill of Bright’s Grove, Ont., outlasted former PGA Tour member Will Strickler of Dallas in a playoff to become the first Canadian-born winner of the Dakota Dunes Casino Open in Saskatoon on Sunday.
Hill, a former NCAA individual champion and the 2009 Jack Nicklaus award winner, had a birdie on fourth extra hole to clinch his first victory as a professional and take home $24,000.
“It truly feels great to get my first win here,” said Hill.
“I was proud of myself today for hanging in there and I all I kept telling myself was give yourself a chance,” he added.
Hill’s win came just one week after losing in another four-hole playoff to Victoria’s Cory Renfrew at the Syncrude Boreal Open in Fort McMurray, Alta.
With the victory, Hill climbs to the top of the Order of Merit with $43,300 in earnings.
That leaves him one step closer to claiming one of two exemptions into the RBC Canadian Open through the Order of Merit, following next week’s Players Cup in Winnipeg. For more on that, click here.
“I would obviously love to play in the Open, but right now it’s not something I’m overly concerned with. I’m going to enjoy this victory tonight and get back to work next week in Winnipeg,” he said.
Hill is the third straight Canadian to win on tour. Michael Gligic of Burlington, Ont. claimed the ATB Financial Classic two weeks ago in Edmonton before Renfrew won in Fort McMurray last week.
It was also the third consecutive week in which a tournament has been decided in a playoff. Hill, 24, joins a list of winners this season who are all 26 years old or younger.
Hill had a chance to win in regulation after hitting a wedge to 12 feet on the par five 18th hole.
The North Carolina State graduate missed his putt and went into the sudden-death playoff with Strickler, who lipped out an eagle putt on the final hole. Both finished at 19 under par.
In the playoff, Hill and Strickler halved the first two holes with pars and the third with birdies.
Hill then two-putted for birdie on the fourth, while Strickler needed to get up and down from a waste bunker behind the 18th green.
Strickler’s approach landed seven feet from the hole, but he once again lipped out, giving Hill his first victory.
Hill also moves to the top of the Canadian Rookie of the Year race. Hiehas a $6,960 lead over Renfrew, who missed the cut in Saskatoon.
Rounding out the top five are Nick Taylor of Abbotsford, B.C., Wilson Bateman and Steve Lecuyer, both from Edmonton.
For a complete leaderboard, click here.