Aaron Goldberg was forced to make some last-minute changes to his travel itinerary Sunday night.
The Californian, who will turn 25 later this week, gave himself an early birthday present in the form of a Toronto-bound flight for this week’s RBC Canadian Open following his first Canadian Tour title Sunday at the $300,000 Players Cup in Winnipeg.
Starting the day three shots off the lead, Goldberg posted a five-under 66 at Pine Ridge Golf Club to finish the tournament at 11-under 273 and edge Victoria’s Jim Rutledge (66) by one shot. Mike Grob (68) finished alone in third at nine under, one shot better than Rob Grube (68).
Danny Sahl of Sherwood Park, Alb. (71) tied for fifth, four shots behind Goldberg.
Also earning berths in this week’s Open at St. George’s Golf and Country Club thanks to their standing on the Order of Merit are Rutledge, Grube, Brock Mackenzie, Will Wilcox and Adam Hadwin of Abbotsford, B.C.
Instead of catching a flight to San Diego, Goldberg will now travel to Toronto. He already had a Toronto flight booked, just in case because he was in position to be inside the top five on the money list whether he won or not, which called for a back-up plan.
The catch was that he wasn’t going to make that flight Sunday night. Instead of heading to the airport, Goldberg was standing on the 18th green, accepting the Players Cup championship trophy.
“I had a flight at 7:30 (Sunday night), but that’s not going to happen,” said Goldberg just before the trophy presentation
The Winnipeg triumph not only gave Goldberg the automatic free pass into the Canadian Open, but the $48,000 payday lifted him into top spot on the Canadian Tour Order of Merit.
It had been an impressive rookie season for Goldberg before he even stepped to the tee on Sunday. Heading into this week, he had three top-10s in four starts, including a runner-up at the Times Colonist Open in Victoria.
“I don’t think it’s really sunk in yet,” admitted Goldberg. “I’ve been close this year, so this one feels pretty special.
“I gave myself plenty of chances and a few dropped in for me,” said Goldberg, who admitted glancing at the leaderboards as he made his way around the back nine at Pine Ridge.
“I was looking to see where I stood. A lot of guys don’t like to, but I want to know where I am. I didn’t know it was Jim playing that well. I was looking at the numbers, not the names,” he said.