Peterborough – Brooklin resident Tyler McDannold captured the Investors Group Ontario Men’s Mid-Amateur Championship title on Wednesday (June 19) at Peterborough Golf and Country Club, topping the field of Ontario’s best amateur golfers age 25 and over.
McDannold turned out a steady performance through all three days of competition at the Stanley Thompson-designed course, earning his first Mid-Amateur crown by a two-stroke margin. The Brampton Golf Club member posted rounds of 70-69-71 to close out the tournament with a total score of 210, three-under par.
Wednesday’s final round got under way with McDannold trailing first and second round leader Michael Rutgers by a single stroke, setting the stage for a tight race to the finish. McDannold came on strong out of the gate, firing a string of birdies to get the day started.
“I just wanted to come out and get a good start, luckily I birdied three of my first four and that got me going,” explained McDannold.
The 30-year-old grabbed hold of the lead on the 2nd hole and didn’t relinquish it through to the end of the day, although he didn’t post any more birdies after the 4th hole. McDannold held on to a single stroke advantage before Rutgers bogeyed the 12th hole, doubled the 14th and missed his par putt on 15 to fall four strokes back with three holes left to play.
McDannold wasn’t able to cruise to victory however, as Rutgers mounted a recovery effort down the stretch.
“(Rutgers) birdied 16 and then I didn’t hit a very good drive on 17, but he hit it right in the middle of the fairway then made a nice little two putt birdie,” explained McDannold.
“It definitely closed the gap and got me thinking a little bit. He gave me a couple on 14 so I guess it was only fair that he got a couple back,” he said.
Despite Rutgers’ rally to the finish, he wasn’t able to recover the two-shot deficit and finished with runner-up honours as both golfers rolled in putts for par in front of the gallery at the 18th hole.
McDannold’s win marks his second major provincial victory, he also captured the Ontario Men’s Match Play title in 2005.
Rutgers picked up the silver medal, finishing at one-under with a three day total score of 212 (68-70-74), while Stoney Creek’s Darren Shaw carded a solid final round 68 to move into third place overall and earn the bronze medal. Shaw’s three day total 213 (71-74-68) also put him into first place in the Mid-Master (age 40 and over) division.
Two golfers tied for fourth place at 215 (+2), Jonathan Dunlap of Toronto and Brent McClung of Burlington, while Pickering’s Mark Brewer finished alone in sixth place.
The event also serves as a qualifier for the Canadian Men’s Mid-Amateur Championship, set to take place September 3-6 at Blackhawk Golf Club in Spruce Grove, Alberta. The top 36 players from this week will qualify for the national championship and McDannold, Rutgers and Shaw will comprise Team Ontario in the inter-provincial team competition at the event. The winner of the national championship will also earn an exemption into the 2014 RBC Canadian Open.
The Investors Group Ontario Men’s Mid-Amateur championship is a 54-hole competition featuring Ontario’s best golfers age 25 and older that have gained entry into the event through one of seven qualifying tournaments or through an exemption. Competitors age 40 and over also compete for the Ontario Men’s Mid-Master division trophy. Contested annually since 1993, past champions of the event include Ontario Golf Hall of Fame member Stu Hamilton and Kelly Roberts, and Dave Bunker, Graham Hill and Drew Symons.