Brian Decker – PGA Tour Canada
July 7, 2013, Saskatoon, SK (ISN) – Wil Collins of Rapid City, South Dakota shot a final round 66 Sunday at Dakota Dunes Golf Links to claim the Dakota Dunes Open presented by SaskTel. Collins finished a 21-under par, one shot ahead of Canadians Nick Taylor and Ryan Yip as well as American John Ellis.
The 34-year old Collins captured his first PGA TOUR Canada win, having been a member since 2006, and moved to a tie atop the Order of Merit with Times Colonist Island Savings Open winner Stephen Gangluff at $27,000. Collins and Gangluff currently share the top spot of The Five, who will receive Web.com Tour cards for 2014.
1. Wil Collins – 66 (-21)
T-2. Nick Taylor – 71 (-20)
T-2. John Ellis – 71 (-20)
T-2. Ryan Yip – 71 (-20)
T-5. Josh Creel – 68 (-18)
T-5. Jaco Ahlers – 72 (-18)
T-5. Dan Buchner – 69 (-18)
“It means a lot. We’re all out here for the same reason, we want to get one of those cards,” said Collins, who played on the PGA TOUR in 2009. “There aren’t many nights when I don’t go to sleep frustrated and I want to get back out there. The Web.com Tour is obviously the main path to the PGA TOUR and that’s what I’m after, so this is huge.”
Collins’ victory came on a back-and-forth day that saw him emerge from a tightly-packed leaderboard. Nick Taylor of Abbotsford, British Columbia took a one stroke lead into the final round but was quickly caught by Collins’ playing partner Ellis, who made six birdies on the front nine to take the lead.
Collins and Ellis came to the 72nd hole tied for the lead at 21-under par, but Ellis’ approach came up short of the green and led to a bogey. Collins’ approach found the middle of the green and a two-putt par gave him the clubhouse lead. Playing in the group behind, Taylor found the putting surface but missed a 35-foot birdie putt for the tie, giving Collins the victory.
“It hasn’t really sunk in yet. I’ve been playing out here since 2006 and I’ve never got a win,” said Collins, who said he was glad his first victory came at a time when it could potentially propel him to the Web.com Tour. “This win couldn’t have come at a better time. It’s huge to win early. Obviously I still have a lot of work to do with seven events left, but it feels good.”
Rounding out the top-10 were South Africa’s Jaco Ahlers, Monday qualifier Josh Creel of Cheyenne, Wyoming and Dan Buchner of Seal Beach, California at 18-under par in a tie for fifth, South Africa’s Doug McGuigan and Clarkston, Washington’s Joel Dahmen at 17-under in a tie for eighth and Hilton Head, South Carolina’s Chris Epperson at 15-under in 10th spot.
Taylor, Yip share Freedom 55 Financial Canadian Player of the Week honours:
Along with a career-best PGA TOUR Canada finish, Nick Taylor’s tie for second gave him co-honours as Freedom 55 Financial Canadian Player of the Week along with Calgary’s Ryan Yip. Both players finished at 20-under par, with Taylor sharing the lead for much of the day and Yip making a Sunday charge with eight birdies and two bogeys in a round of 66.
Each week, the low Canadian on the leaderboard will receive the honour and a $1,500 cash prize, with Taylor and Yip splitting the prize this week. The low Canadian on the Order of Merit at season’s end will receive at $10,000 cash prize.
The Five update:
Collins and Gangluff share the top spot on the Order of Merit, both posting a win and a missed cut in the season’s first two events. The top five are as follows:
T-1. Wil Collins – $27,000.00
T-1. Stephen Gangluff – $27,000.00
3. Tyler Aldridge – $17,109.64
4. Nick Taylor – $17,106.25
5. John Ellis – $13,525.00
– Four players shot in the 60s all four rounds at Dakota Dunes – John Ellis (64-69-68-67, -20, T-2), Dan Buchner (67-67-67-69, -18, T-5), Josh Creel (68-65-69-68, -18, T-5) and Matt Richardson (68-69-69-69, -13, T-15).
– Joel Dahmen posted his second straight top-10 at Dakota Dunes, firing a final round 68 to finish tied for eighth at 17-under par. Dahmen finished T-3 last year, one shot back of a playoff.
– Chris Epperson posted his second straight top-10 to start his rookie season on PGA TOUR Canada, finishing 10th at 15-under. Epperson finished tied for eighth at the Times Colonist Island Savings Open (and was also T-4 at the 2013 Qualifying Tournament)
– Wil Collins’ win is his first professional win since a victory at the 2012 New Mexico Open
– Six players shared the round of the day with a 6-under par 66 – Wil Collins, Ryan Yip, Brady Schnell, Chris DeForest, Andre Metzger Jr. and Will Strickler.
– Click here for photos from the final round