London ON – The community of London, Ontario was host to the Great Lakes Tour London Championship held at Tarandowah Golfers Club on May 19-20, 2016. The London Championship is the second of four 36 hole Championships on the current schedule and serves as a Major offering an increase in Order of Merit Points.
Tarandowah Golfers Club in the small town of Avon ON just southeast of London played host to Championship and the par 70 Martin Hawtree design was a test for all competitors. The links style course was playing fast and firm and simply made each player strategize on every shot.
After Round 1 of the Championship Robbie Greenwell of Georgetown ON and Stephane Dubois of Brantford ON, both fired one under par 69 to share the lead over and handful of players at even par 70. Included in the pack at even par was Ed Maunder of Oakville ON, 2015 Great Lakes Tour Champion Brian Churchill-Smith and Wes Gates from Novi, Michigan. Local favourites Mitch Sutton of London ON and former European Tour Member Alan McLean posted a one over par 71 where both remained a threat heading into the final round.
Friday began under beautiful conditions with very little breeze and bright sunshine. The drama was setting up long before the first tee shot was struck as there were 18 players within four shots of the lead. With the unpredictability of Tarandowah, it was still a wide open tournament.
Drew Nesbitt from Oro-Medonte ON moved up the leaderboard early as he made eagle on the par five 9th hole to post an outward score of 4 under par 31. He would get it to 5 under on his round after he birdied the difficult 11th. However, three straight bogies on holes 12, 13, 14 would eventually end the miraculous comeback. Nesbitt would post a 3 under par 67 and sit in the clubhouse at even par.
Also posting even par to join Nesbitt was 2015 RBC Canadian Open participant Richard Jung from Toronto ON. His round of 4 under par 66 was low score of the tournament which was highlighted by 5 birdies and just a lone bogey on the 10th hole. Jung and Nesbitt would ultimately finish one stroke off the leaders.
As the day progressed it seemed many players had a chance to run with the lead. But, in the end it came down to five players. Mitch Sutton, playing two groups ahead of the final group, came to the final hole with a share of the lead at 2 under par. He couldn’t quite finish the deal and resulted in a round ending bogey and clubhouse lead at 1 under par for the tournament. The other players in the mix were Ed Maunder, Stephane Dubois, Wes Gates and Robbie Greenwell. Each player, with the exception of Gates, had a chance on the final hole to post 2 under and win the tournament.
Ed Maunder had 20 feet for birdie on the 18th and was aggressive with the first putt leaving himself a tricky five footer for par. He would make the comeback and tie Sutton for the clubhouse lead.
Robbie Greenwell, playing with Dubois and Gates in the final group, hit his approach on eighteen just long leaving a difficult downhill chip shot. His chip was near perfection as it trickled down the hill and was left hanging on the edge. He too would tap in and sit with Maunder and Sutton at 1 under par.
Next up was Dubois from 45 feet and a chance to win the tournament. He missed on the low side and left himself six feet to post 1 under par. Wes Gates had a slick 20 foot right to left breaking putt for birdie which would get him into the clubhouse and join the leaders at 1 under par. His putt was centre cut and with a fist pump he knew that there would be at least a four man playoff. Dubois could make it a five man playoff, but his six footer lipped out and he would settle for a tournament total of even par.
The playoff began on the first hole with Greenwell, Gates and Sutton all in the left fescue while Maunder was in the centre of the fairway. All four players would hit the green with their approach shots. Maunder and Gates would both two putt for par. Mitch Sutton had fifteen feet for his birdie and calmly stood up and rolled it in. The pressure would turn to Greenwell from approximately ten feet to force a second hole. His putt would slide past the right edge resulting in Mitch Sutton taking home the title.
Sutton received $3,000 for the victory and 600 points towards the Order of Merit. This was Sutton’s first event of the season and moves him to 2nd place on the Order of Merit. Michael Gligic remains the leader after collecting 72.33 points at Tarandowah for a total of 1055.67 points. The leader of the Order of Merit as of June 23, 2016 will receive an exemption into the RBC Canadian Open Final Qualifying July 18th at Heron Point Golf Links in Alberton ON.
After the event Mitch Sutton will be heading out to British Columbia for the first three events on the Mackenzie Tour schedule. Sutton has received a sponsor’s exemption into next week’s Freedom 55 Financial Open at Point Grey G&CC in Vancouver. He hopes to get into the next two Western events via Monday Qualifiers. Michael Gligic will also be making the trip out west, as his full exempt status will earn him spots to each of the first three events.
The next event on the Great Lakes Tour schedule is Thursday June 2nd at Batteaux Creek Golf Club in Collingwood ON for the second of seven GolfNorth Series events.
For the Full Field Results from the London Championship please visit HERE
For the Current Order of Merit Standings please visit HERE
For More information on the Great Lakes Tour please contact
President, Great Lakes Tour
Tournament Director, Great Lakes Tour
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