EUGENE WONG WINS CANADIAN TOUR CHAMPIONSHIP IN HISTORIC FASHION
(August 26, 2012 - Toronto, ON) - With a walk-off shot for the ages, Eugene Wong of North Vancouver, BC holed his approach from the fairway on the 72nd hole to win the Canadian Tour Championship by a single shot over Meridian, ID's Joe Panzeri.
Using a nine iron from 133 yards, Wong two-hopped the shot into the hole, giving the 21-year old his first professional victory in one of the most memorable finishes in Canadian Tour history, if not all of professional golf.
"There's a funny story to that shot," confessed Wong. "My caddie and I were walking up the fairway, and he said 'it would be nice to hole it right now, wouldn't it? I said 'yeah, it would.'"
Wong, the 2010 Jack Nicklaus Award winner as the NCAA's top player, earned $16,000 for the win and a two-year exemption on the Canadian Tour. He finished at 14-under par total, a stroke ahead of Panzeri, the 2011 International Rookie of the Year.
"My confidence is really high now. I know I can compete with the pros and I'm happy to get my first win, so there's one milestone down," added Wong, who will compete in the Vancouver Golf Tour's, Vancouver Open next week before the final Canadian Tour event of the season the week following.
Playing in his third Canadian Tour event as a professional, Wong got off to a fast start with a chip in eagle on the first hole. That eagle propelled him into the early lead over Panzeri, who began the day a shot back of Wong at nine-under.
"I got myself to the top of the leaderboard and hit solid shots coming in," said Panzeri.
The lead, however, didn't last long as an untimely bogey on the fifth hole coupled with Panzeri's third birdie of the day on six put Wong in a tie at 11-under. Panzeri would go on to birdie eight to grab the outright lead at 12-under before a bogey on nine put him back into a tie with Wong at 11-under.
As the day progressed it looked more and more like Panzeri would walk away with the victory as the 2011 Dakota Dunes champ moved to 14-under par, three clear of the field. Panzeri would go on to bogey the par 4 13th hole, moving him to 13-under where he finished the tournament.
"I made a sliding four-footer that I thought was to win the golf tournament. You can't control when something like that happens," said the classy Panzeri.
Wong, knowing that he needed to get to 13-under to have any chance at a win, made a clutch birdie on 16, choosing to lay up on the reachable 283-yard par 4. He would go on to post par on 17 and a perfect drive on 18 set the 2012 PAC-12 Player of the Year up for the walk off eagle, a shot that will certainly become a cornerstone to the centenary celebration at the 100 year old Scarboro Golf & Country Club.
The round of the day belonged to Clarksville, WA native Joel Dahmen, who matched the official course record with an 8-under 63. Dahmen managed to get around the A.W. Tillinghast layout with just 20 putts and finished the tournament tied for 16th.
Ryan Williams of Vancouver, BC also had a round to remember: following a disappointing five-over opening nine, Williams went on a tear, posting seven birdies on his inward nine to post 28.
With their top-10 showings, open qualifiers David Markle and Carlos Sainz Jr. earned spots into the final event of the year at The Great Waterway Classic.