Brad Clapp of Chilliwack, B.C., eagled the 72nd hole for a final round, five-under 67 at Loyalist Golf and Country Club in Bath, Ont., on Sunday to win the Great Waterway Classic and earn his first Mackenzie Tour–PGA Tour Canada victory.
Clapp, who was born in nearby Trenton and raised for the first 10 years of his life in southeastern Ontario, won by four shots over Toronto’s Albin Choi, Charlie Bull of England and Americans Seath Lauer, Ryan Brehm, Ben Geyer and Chase Marinell.
“It still hasn’t sunk in yet. It’s a little surreal, knowing how good this tour is and knowing how good you have to play four days in a row. It’s a huge accomplishment,” said Clapp, who moves to seventh on the Order of Merit with three events to go.
Clapp began the day with a two-stroke lead and started out with eight consecutive pars to fall behind Lauer, who posted the clubhouse lead with an eagle at the last for a 19-under total.
Clapp admitted that the pressure of the lead got to him starting out, but that a patient approach helped him through the toughest spots of the day.
“I think there was a little bit of nerves on the first few holes for sure. I just couldn’t make the putts that I was the first couple of days. I just tried to stay calm. I knew I had more holes to play than anyone else out there, even if they were ahead of me,” said Clapp, who was cheered by a large following.
“I didn’t realize I had that many people that knew me out here still. There was always someone saying, ‘Come on Brad, let’s do this.’ It was nice to have as much of a home crowd as you could. It was a little surreal,” said Clapp, who birdied the ninth and 10th holes to get his round going.
“I was hitting good shots. It just got to the point where I just had to focus on putting and get out of my own way and make my read and trust it. Those birdies were huge just to get myself in contention,” he said.
Choi, who began the week at No. 5 on the Order of Merit, made the day’s biggest charge with six birdies in eight holes in the middle of his round to reach 20-under.
Clapp, however, took the lead for good with a birdie at the 15th to reach 21 under.
Although Choi’s three-putt bogey at the last hole gave Clapp a two-stroke advantage, the eventual champion said he didn’t know where he stood until he approached the green after making his seven iron approach at the last to inside five feet for eagle.
“I knew I needed birdie. I saw Albin was charging and saw him at 20 under with the 18th to go. He made eagle there yesterday, so I knew that was possible. I just wanted to keep my foot on the gas pedal,” said Clapp.
Clapp was also named Freedom 55 Financial Canadian Player of the Week, which earned him a $2,500 prize.
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