Fort McMurray, AB – Cory Renfrew of Victoria, BC earned his first Canadian Tour victory in thrilling fashion Sunday, defeating Matt Hill of Sarnia, ON in a four-hole playoff to capture the Syncrude Boreal Open presented by AECON.
Renfrew carded a course record 63 (-9) in the final round, then won the all-Canadian playoff on Canada Day by converting a five-foot birdie putt on the fourth extra hole.
“I knew birdie would have to win it,” said Renfrew, who carded nine birdies in his final round including five straight and on six of his first seven holes. “I was fortunate to come out on top.”
Renfrew’s birdie on the fourth extra hole came at the end of a thrilling playoff, during which neither player refused to make a mistake. After Hill birdied the final hole of regulation to force extra holes, both players made routine pars on the first two trips down the par-5 18th in sudden death.
Then, after Hill’s approach during the third playoff hole flew the green and clanged off the grandstands, the 23-year old Sarnia native made an outstanding up and down to match Renfrew’s par and force a fourth extra hole. Both players proceeded to hit brilliant approaches to within five feet, but only Renfrew was able to convert his, giving him the victory.
Cory Renfrew, playing here earlier this spring at the TC Open in Victoria, was victorious in Alberta over the weekend (Photo by Mark Yager – ISN)
“Seeing Matt hit one in there close, I figured it was time to bear down and hit one close too,” said Renfrew. “I figured we were going back for another hole. Matt’s a great player and it’s just unfortunate he missed his.”
The 26-year old earned $24,000 for the victory.
Renfrew’s blazing 63 in the final round represented the second time he claimed a course record for the week at the Fort McMurray Golf Club. He shot 64 (-8) on Friday, a score that was matched by two other players before his brilliant closing score on Sunday.
The victory provides a measure of revenge for Renfrew, who took a three-shot lead into the final round of the Times Colonist Island Savings Open in his hometown of Victoria in June. Renfrew carded a final-round 68 in that event only to lose out when winner Andrew Roque birdied his final seven holes for a 61 and three-shot win.
“I knew from my experience in Victoria I had to keep being aggressive, and I’m sure glad I did that,” said Renfrew.
While he was unable to secure victory, Hill’s earnings of $14,400 give him the ability to join the Canadian Tour as a member for the remainder of the 2012 season. As an affiliate member, Hill needed to earn the equivalent of 50th place on the 2011 Order of Merit to secure status, a number he has now exceeded by more than $8,000.
21-year old Nate McCoy of Des Moines, IA shot a one-under 71 to place solo third. McCoy was the leader after the first three rounds and took a one-shot lead over Hill heading into the final round.
Three shots back of McCoy at 11-under par were Roger Sloan of Merritt, BC and Daniel Im of Mirada, CA.
The Canadian Tour heads to Saskatoon, Saskatchewan this week for the Dakota Dunes Casino Open. Follow the Canadian Tour this summer, with the season culminating at the Canadian Tour Championship August 23-26 at the historic Scarboro Golf & Country Club in Toronto, ON, celebrating its centenary season.