After a soggy start to the day and two weather delays totaling four hours, Ray Stewart of Abbotsford, B.C. emerged as the champion of the 2009 Canadian PGA Seniors’ Championship in Ottawa.
Stewart fired a ten-under-par 68, adding to his first round 70 and second round 68 for a three-day, 54-hole total of 206 to win by two shots over Ken Tarling of Sandford, Ont., and Norm Jarvis of Surrey, B.C. at the The Marshes Golf Club in Kanata, Ont.
The day began with threatening thunderstorms, resulting in a weather delay from 8:50 a.m. to 10:30 a.m., when play resumed.
Shortly afterwards, at 11:00 a.m., another weather delay was called due to lightning. The course held up through the storm and the field returned to play at 1:30 p.m. dodging pockets of rain and nearby rumbling thunder throughout the day.
“I really wasn’t affected by the rain delay,” said Stewart, 55, who teed off nearly four hours after his original time.
“It’s something that I have become used to on tour, so I am quite patient with these types of delays and I actually didn’t really warm up before I was off.”
Stewart is no stranger to competition. He was a former PGA Tour player in 1983, then from 1987 to 1993. He finished tied for 10th at the 1991 Canadian Open and tied for fourth at the 1990 Greater Milwaukee Open.
He is a two-time Canadian Tour champion in 1999 and in 1994, he captured the Dunhill Cup for Canada with teammates Dave Barr and Rick Gibson. Stewart also played on the Dunhill squad in 1995 and Canadian World Cup team in 1999.
Stewart advanced to the final stage of Champions Tour qualifying school in 2005, but failed t o attain exempt status.
“Today I played really solid, hitting every fairway and green,” said Stewart. “Greens were tough as they were quite wet and spongy from the rain, but I didn’t make any mistakes today.
“The birdies that I made were quite easy, I didn’t feel under pressure and I was very much in control of my ball-striking,” stated Stewart who claimed a $4000 first prize.
“It was definitely a fun battle out there today. Coming down the stretch, we were all still close right down to the last hole,” said Stewart, who is hoping to qualify for one of the nine spots for the Senior Open Championship at Sunningdale Golf Club, July 23-26 in London.
Jarvis looked like he was running away with a victory after nearly driving the green on the seventh hole and sinking a birdie putt to put him at nine-under-par for the tournament.
His fortunes turned on the par three eighth hole, when he hit his approach just right of the flag and spun it back into the water, causing him to double bogey, dropping him back to seven-under-par.
On the par five ninth hole, Stewart and Tarling carded birdies, launching themselves to eight-under-par at the turn.
Jarvis had a rough start on 10, bogeying the hole, but battled back, carding three birdies on 11, 12 and 14 to put him back to nine-under-par. Stewart birdied 11 and 14, placing him one stroke ahead of Jarvis at 10-under-par as the group parred the 15th, 16th and 17th holes.
On 18, Stewart and Tarling each saved par, while Jarvis bogeyed to finish the round.
“Having solid ball-striking ability out there gives me confidence heading into the qualifier for the British Senior Open,” said Stewart, who is heading to Celtic Manor in Wales to practice for the week before his qualifying round.
“I find out (Saturday night) what course I play for the qualifier and I’m hoping it’s nice and long for my sake as that is my strength.”
Stewart plans to attend Champions Tour Qualifying School this fall in the hope of landing one of five full exemptions for the 2010 season.
Norm Jarvis of Surrey, B.C. took advantage of ideal conditions in the second round of the 2009 Canadian PGA Seniors’ Championship in Ottawa and holds a one-stroke lead over Ken Tarling of Sandford, Ont.
Ray Stewart of Abbotsford, B.C. is two strokes back.
Jarvis registered 13 pars and five birdies at The Marshes Golf Club, posting a 67 to add to his first round 69 for a two-day total of eight-under 136.
Tarling posted a 66 to add to his first round 71 for a two-day total of 137 on a day with very little wind and receptive greens and fairways.
For Jarvis, it was all about a hot putter.
“The biggest difference for me was that I didn’t have any three-putts,” said Jarvis.
“After watching my fellow group member Serge Thivierge putt in the first round, I decided that I would copy his excellent form and switch my grip to cross-handed, which means I move my left hand lower on the club which shifts the weight and creates a smoother stroke, helping me with my short putts.
“There is nothing really wrong with my game, other than my putting that is on the mend, so there is no reason I can’t be in contention because I hit it straight. It’s just getting the ball in the hole that has been the problem lately when I three-putt the 20-footers that others birdie.”
“I try to reach ten-under-par, because generally, when I get out front early, I tend to play well in the last round because I know there won’t be many players that can catch me. When I reach ten-under, that’s when I know my game is coming together the way I want it to,” he said.
Meanwhile, Tarling carded the lowest round of the day.
“I was able to take advantage of the receptive course with my approach shots that didn’t spin nearly as much as yesterday, it was like throwing darts out there,” said Tarling.
“As long as you had the right yardage, you were able to stick the ball close to the hole,” added Tarling who tied for second in the Ontario PGA Senior Championship last week.
Thunderstorms are in the forecast for Saturday, which may change game plans.
“Personally, I love playing in the bad weather and I enjoy the challenge,” said Tarling. “Norm should be even more comfortable being from Vancouver playing in the rain.
“He is a competitive player and is only posting lower scores each day as he gets to know the course better and better, so it should be high-calibre competition.”
John Irwin of Summerside, PEI, won the Super Seniors’ Division (60 and older) by one shot over Barry Laphen of Ottawa, when he birdied the final hole of the day.
“I was just able to nip him by one by draining a three-foot putt,” said Irwin who wins $900.
Doug Sullivan of Indian Mountain, N.B., captured the Diamond Division (70 and older), posting a 75 on Friday to record a two-day 148.
“Let’s just say my putter wasn’t very hot today. I hit 37 shots and had 38 putts,” said Sullivan, who has been a runner up in the Diamond Division for the past two years to Don Renaud of Kanata, Ont.
“I drove 11 hours to play in the event, but the trip is always worth it. It was a fantastic venue for the event and I look forward to it every year.”
Sullivan is scheduled to compete in the Atlantic Zone Championship next week.
The shot of the day goes to Henri Chatelain of Lachute, Que., who drained his ninth career hole-in-one on the 17th hole at the Marshes.
“This course is a little long for me, so it was nice to get the hole-in-one because the rest of my round was no good,” said Chatelain, who used a five-wood for the ace.
“I am looking forward to playing in the Diamond Division next year as I am turning 70.”
The final pairing of Jarvis, Tarling and Stewart tees off at 10:50 a.m. For more information on scores and pairings, see the website, www.cpga.com.
Norm Jarvis leads the pack at the Canadian PGA Seniors’ Championship being played at The Marshes Golf Club in Kanata, Ont., an event rocked by the disqualification of three marquee players in Thursday’s first round.
Jarvis had a three-under 69 and holds a one-stroke lead over Ray Stewart, Craig Marseilles and Hocan Olsson going into Friday’s final round.
“I was never really into any trouble today,” said Jarvis, a former Champions Tour professional who had five birdies and two bogeys on the day.
“The golf course is in good condition and a bit wet, so if you keep your ball in the fairway, you are in good shape because you can take advantage of not rolling into the rough and can be a bit more aggressive with your shots.”
“The greens are a little soft with the recent rain and, at times, they can be a little tricky as they don’t break as much as they appear to, so I tend to miss high if I approach them with a firm stroke,” said Jarvis.
“It’s a strong field out there and one of the best Canadian senior fields I have seen in a while. This is my first year playing in the event and it is great to see some old faces,” said Jarvis.
In a bizarre turn of events, a past champion, the defending champion and a strong contender for the national title were disqualified after teeing it up on the improper deck.
Local favourite and 2006 champion Graham Gunn, defending champion Yvan Beauchemin and Champions Tour player Rod Spittle were disqualified after they played the fifth hole (their 14th of the day) from the wrong tees, only noticing their error after hitting their tee shots on the sixth hole.
“The group didn’t rectify the error of teeing off from the wrong deck before they moved to the next hole, so once they teed off from the next teeing ground, the ruling is they were disqualified,” stated senior rules official George Spare.
“Had they rectified the error before teeing off on the next teeing ground, they would have had a two-stroke penalty. It’s truly a disappointment that we lost three marquee players due to this unfortunate event.”
Gunn realized the error after the group teed off on the following hole. He then called the official for the appropriate ruling and then found out the entire group was disqualified.
In the Diamond Division (70 and over), Douglas Sullivan of Indian Mountain, N.B. fired a one-over-par 73 to lead by eight shots over defending champion Don Renaud of Kanata, Ont.
Past champion Ken Fulton of Port Hope, Ont., posted a one-over 73 and leads the Super Senior division by one stroke over Barry Laphen of Ottawa and John Irwin of Summerside, PEI.
For complete results, see the website, www.cpga.com.