Excerpts by Colin Thompson (Royal Gazette)
Canadian professional Brian McCann came from four shots back to win his first Gosling’s Invitational title in dramatic fashion at Belmont Hills.
Kirk Hanefeld, who led from Day One, saw it all slip away on the 18th Hole on Day Four. A Bogey on the 72nd Hole landed the title for McCann on his ninth attempt in Bermuda.
McCann has come agonisingly close to winning this event on several occasions, and the sense of relief that flooded through the Canadian and several of his fellow countrymen who had gathered in support was palpable.
“It feels fantastic because I’ve had the chance to win here many times and haven’t been able to close it out,” McCann said. “To finish bogey, bogey, and let it slip back, it was out of my control at that point and disappointing. But to finally win this event is a great feeling.
“All of those times I wasn’t able to close it out and finished second, I’ve had a big lead going into the final round, and it’s tough to play with a lead sometimes. Today, trailing by four, I knew I would have to go out and play a great round, and it was.”
One could not help but sympathise with Hanefeld, who led the field for 63 holes before losing his poise when it when it mattered most.
“I was 12-under with nine to play so I figured I was in pretty decent shape,” Hanefeld said. “I very much felt I was in control and just kind of played sloppy over the last nine holes. It kind of got away from me there a little bit.”
Like Hanefeld, Walsh was on course for another Gosling’s title until he completely blew up on the 16th green where he carded a triple bogey after his driver off the tee strayed out of bounds.
“The wind was into us and I tried to push it with driver and hit it out of bounds unfortunately,” Walsh said. “I should have used a three wood.”
Walsh finished fourth at seven-under.
Camiko Smith conquered the local field and was seventh overall at two-under, while compatriot Mark Phillips won the amateur title by a convincing 18 shots.
Local player Hav Trott topped the senior amateur field, while John Brott won the senior professional title.
Photo Credit: Michelle Dismont Frazzoni