James Love parred the first playoff hole to defeat Lucas Lee and capture the $250,000 Canadian Tour Championship in St. Catherines, Ont., on Sunday.
It is the Calgary native’s first Canadian Tour title and considering he was thinking of quitting the game just two months ago, a validating victory.
Love and Lee finished the tournament at 11 under 269.
Jim Rutledge closed with a 66 to grab a share of third spot at 10-under 270 with James Hahn who had a final round 67, and Alan McLean who managed an even par 70.
Sharing sixth spot at nine under 271 were Wes Heffernan (69) and Scott Gibson (71).
Love, who seemed to be the player no one seemed to be watching until the end, bogeyed the fourth hole, but then scattered four birdies across the rest of his card.
Lee bogeyed the first hole, but then grinded out nine consecutive pars before trading a bogey and birdie at 11 and 12.
With Love already in the clubhouse, Lee birdied No. 16 to catch Love, but he gave it back at 17. Lee nailed his approach to three feet and sank the birdie putt to force a playoff.
Love found the light rough with his tee shot, while Lee split the fairway and had only 86 yards to the pin. Both players missed the green with their second shots.
Love missed pin high left, 25 feet from the hole, while Lee hit it over the green and faced a delicate downhill chip of 50 feet.
Running his chip 15 feet past the hole, Lee failed to convert and with Love within tap-in range, it was all over.
“I said 10 (under) at the start of the week and it was 11 under,” said Love. “Like every other day, I got off to a bad start with an early bogey at the fourth, but I wasn’t worried about it.
“The par saves at seven, eight, and nine were big because it settled me down, but I felt like I gave one away at 15. I hit it right in front of the green in two. but made an awful chip and made par.
“I thought my putt at 16 for eagle was going in, but it didn’t break where I expected it to,” he added.
What had been his nemesis hole all week turned out to be the winning one for Love. After barely missing his birdie putt that would have got him to 12 under, Love was forced to wait for over an hour before the playoff began.
“I missed the fairway by 30 yards at 18 all week, so I hit an iron off the tee in the playoff and put it in the light rough,” said Love. “I looked at my caddie and said, ‘I’ll take it.’”
“I’m a little emotional right now,” said Love, who earned $40,000 with the win.
“The first few months of this year were really tough. I wasn’t even sure if I could or would keep playing. My parents and a few close friends out here have been really supportive.
“You’re out on the road and not playing well and you wonder if this is what you should be doing.”
Immediately after winning, Love placed a call home and spoke with his parents. “There was a lot of yelling and celebrating back home,” he said.