MARK BLAKEFIELD WINS NATIONAL CAPITAL OPEN TO SUPPORT OUR TROOPS
Mark Blakefield – 65-66-68-65 (-20)
Kramer Hickok – 65-66-68-67 (-18)
Charlie Danielson – 67-67-64-70 (-16)
Chad Ramey – 66-67-68-67 (-16)
by Brian Decker
Ottawa – SPORTS – Maysville, Kentucky’s Mark Blakefield shot a final round 6-under 65 on Sunday at Hylands Golf Club to win the National Capital Open to Support Our Troops, his first Mackenzie Tour – PGA TOUR Canada victory.
The 35-year old took control of the tournament with birdies on seven of eight holes in the middle of his round, then converted tricky up-and-downs for par on the final two holes to win by two over Dallas, Texas’ Kramer Hickok.
“You get gotta get it done, one way or another. Winning’s never easy, and hardly ever do you just get a walk in the park to the 18th green. Sometimes you have to come up with something when you need it,” said Blakefield, who finished at 20-under for the week.
Starting the day one stroke back of 54-hole leader Charlie Danielson, Blakefield started slowly but quickly picked up the pace with birdies on holes No. 5-9, eventually reaching 20-under with three more birdies on the back nine.
With the tournament firmly in his grasp and the tough, into-the-wind par-4 17th and 18th holes left, the University of Kentucky grad converted a sand save from the greenside bunker on the penultimate hole and a tricky up-and-down from left of the green at 18 to secure the title.
“Obviously it was a great week and I played great, but the one thing was that I threw a few shots away with some bad up-and-downs that I didn’t get. To get those two on the last two holes was fantastic, especially to make those two putts when I needed them,” said Blakefield.
The win comes at a special time for Blakefield and his fiancée, professional golfer and former Big Break champion Bri Vega, who has caddied for her future husband at six events this year, including this week.
“It’s funny, she tried to stay so calm, but I could just see right through it and knew she was a nervous wreck just like I am,” said Blakefield with a laugh, adding that her perspective as a player was a valuable asset this week. “Sometimes, even if you know what a putt does, it’s nice to hear it from somebody else who says the same thing.”
Hickok, who could have forced a playoff with a miracle eagle at 18, settled for par and managed a 4-under 67 to finish in solo second, moving into first place on the Order of Merit. Blakefield’s win moved him into the seventh spot with three events remaining in the 2017 season.
35-year old Mark Blakefield was making his eighth career start on the Mackenzie Tour this week. The University of Kentucky grad earned conditional status with a T9 finish at the USA East #1 Q-School this spring and had made five of seven cuts this year, including a previous season-best T11 finish at the Staal Foundation Open presented by Tbaytel.
In 2006, Blakefield helped the University of Kentucky to the SEC Championship along with teammate and current PGA TOUR member J.B. Holmes.
JARED DU TOIT TAKES FREEDOM 55 FINANCIAL TOP CANADIAN
With a total score of 11-under par in a tie for 12th, Kimberley, British Columbia’s Jared du Toit finished as the top Canadian on the leaderboard, earning Freedom 55 Financial Canadian Player of the Week honours and a $2,500 prize.
The top Canadian on the leaderboard each week takes home the award, with the top Canadian on the Order of Merit at season’s end earning the Dan Halldorson Trophy, Freedom 55 Financial Canadian Player of the Year honours and a $25,000 prize.
THEY SAID IT:
“Early on it was a bit of a struggle. I was 1-over for the longest time, and I ended up making a birdie on eight that really got things going. I tried to put the pressure on Mark, but unfortunately fell a few shots short.” – Kramer Hickok on trying to chase down Blakefield for his second win of the 2017 season.
Weather: 26 degrees Celsius (feels like 31), cloudy, winds 13 km/h gusting to 20 km/h.
Blakefield received seven free daily rental vouchers for a rental car from AVIS for the win.
The National Capital Open to Support Our Troops announced a donation of $78,200 to Soldier On, a Canadian Armed Forces program that supports currently serving members and veterans to overcome their physical or mental health illness or injury through physical activity and sport.
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