Paris (ON) - On Tuesday June 21 and Wednesday June 22, the Great Lakes Tour made a stop at Paris Grand Golf Club in Paris (ON) for the Paris Championship. The Azinger Design layout has been a popular stop on the Tour for many years and always delivers a dramatic finish.
This visit was no exception as Great Lakes Tour members in the field had much to play for. The current relationship with Quebec based Circuit Canada Pro Tour (CCPT) has created a buzz among members and the Top 30 on the Great Lakes Tour National Order of Merit at the conclusion of the Paris Championship will gain automatic entry to both the $50,000 Desjardins Insurance Challenge at Wyndance Golf Club June 28-29 and the $100,000 Promutuel Insurance Quebec Open July 7-10....
Earlier in June, Stephane Dubois of Brantford (ON) won the CCPT $50,000 Desjardins Invitational presented by Jaguar Laval and took home $10,000 for the victory. He came into the Paris Championship feeling confident and was the local favourite in the field.
The field in Paris featured 61 players and was one of the deepest fields in recent years. Notable players included PGA Tour Latino America member Derek Gillespie, Current Great Lakes Tour National Order of Merit leader Brendan Barrack, two time RBC Canadian Open participant Richard Jung, Paris Championship defending Champion John Maley and recent Medalist of the RBC Canadian Open Regional Qualifier at King's Forest Golf Course Branson Ferrier. Ferrier earned an exemption directly into the RBC Canadian Open this July with his Medalist honours.
Not only were players fighting for valuable National Order of Merit points, but the top seven on the Great Lakes Tour Order of Merit all had a chance to overtake Michael Gligic (not in the field) with a win and earn an exemption into the RBC Canadian Open Final Qualifier on July 18th.
Round one of the Championship saw bright sunny skies and an increasing wind throughout the day. At the completion of play three players were tied atop the leaderboard with five under par 67's. Stephane Dubois, Richard Jung and Robbie Greenwell all had seemingly identical scorecards to open a three shot lead over a handful of players that shot two under par 70. Included in that group was Derek Gillespie and young amateur Brett Kennedy.
Early on in the final round, a few players were trying to make a push toward the leaders as JJ Regan and Drew Nesbitt were getting hot early in their rounds. Regan birdied five holes on the front nine while Nesbitt had an eagle and two birdies. Regan posted a round of four under par 68 to finish solo 6th while Nesbitt fired a bogey free 66 to finish one better in 5th position.
As the round progressed, it became clear that it would most likely be a player from the final group that would take home the victory. However, Derek Gillespie who started hitting his driver on a rope, began to make some birdies and was poised to make a push on the back nine. After a two under par 34 on the front nine, Gillespie made birdie on the 10th hole then played the difficult 11, 12 and 13 at even par. A birdie on the par three 14th got him to 6 under par for the tournament. He followed up the birdie with an eagle on the par five 15th. After a finishing birdie on the 18th, Gillespie signed for a tournament low round of 65 and a 36 hole total of 9 under par.
Robbie Greenwell knew what he needed to do. It was win and you're in. His only hope of securing the RBC Canadian Open Final Qualifier exemption was an outright victory. He came to the par five final hole two shots behind the leaders. After hitting his second shot 12 yards short of the green, he had a very make-able pitch shot to the front flag. His pitch landed with speed, took two quick bounces and rattled the flag. The ball stayed out and Greenwell would ultimately tap in for birdie and finish in 3rd place alone.
Stephane Dubois and Richard Jung were playing alongside Greenwell in the final group and though Jung scattered six birdies on his final round scorecard, he signed for a round of 70 and solo 5th place finish. The stage had become set for the 2013 Ontario Amateur Champion Stephane Dubois as he was trying to bring home his second significant victory in the month of June.
Dubois over the course of the 36 holes played the eight par fives in 8 under par and the remaining course in 2 under par. After making the turn in 2 under, he quickly got his round to 3 under par with a great up and down birdie from the front right bunker on the short par four 10th. He made another birdie on the short par five 15th. With pars on holes 16 and 17, he needed a birdie to win. With Gillespie looking on and waiting for a playoff, Dubois had hit his second shot pin high right but just off the green. He chipped it to four feet above the hole but was able to make the quick downhill putt and win the Paris Championship by one stroke.
For the Victory, Dubois took home $3,350 and 600 Order of Merit Points. He also received a paid entry into either next month's $100,000 Promutuel Insurance Quebec Open or the $100,000 Manac Open in August. Any Great Lakes National Member or PGA of Canada member that wins a 36 hole championship in 2016 receives a paid Circuit Canada Pro Tour entry fee.
With such a great start to the 2016 season, the points Michael Gligic accumulated was good enough to hold onto top spot and solidify his position into the RBC Canadian Open Final Qualifier on July 18th.
Many Great Lakes Tour members will be in the field next week for the $50,000 Desjardins Challenge held at Wyndance Golf Club near Uxbridge (ON). You can follow along with scoring and results by visiting HERE
The next event on the Great Lakes Tour schedule is the 72 hole Southern Ontario Open at Hidden Lake Golf Club in Burlington (ON) July 26-29.
For full field results from the Paris Championship please visit HERE
For Great Lakes Tour Order of Merit current standings please visit HERE
For More Informtation on the Great Lakes Tour please visit www.greatlakestour.com