30th November 2012


Bill Walsh came from four shots back to claim a second Gosling’s Invitational title by the skin of his teeth at Belmont Hills yesterday. The Canadian pro carded a one-over-par 71 in breezy conditions that was good enough to earn him a one-shot victory over fellow countryman Brian McCann and the $12,000 winner’s purse. Walsh’s final round included three birdies, an eagle, three bogeys and a triple bogey that left him at even par 280 for the tournament. Walsh and McCann were tied for the lead with two holes left to play.However, McCann handed his rival the title after carding a bogey at the par-three 17th where his tee shot landed in a greenside bunker. It was the final twist to an enthralling two-horse race that saw the lead swap hands four times on the back nine. Very little separated the two players and in the end Walsh’s ability to stay calm and focused under pressure proved to be the difference. “I’ve been working really hard these last few years trying to stay focused on what I’m doing and not on what everyone else is doing,” he said. “I wasn’t really worrying about what he (McCann) was trying to do and I knew if I could play well on the last few holes I would give myself a chance to win.” Making Walsh’s final round comeback all the more remarkable was the fact he achieved it in trying conditions. “It’s a very difficult golf course and when the wind blows here it’s hard to make pars sometimes,” he said. Walsh’s signature shot arrived at the par-four tenth where he sank a 30-foot uphill putt to snatch an eagle and take a one-shot lead over McCann after his tee shot landed on the green. He then stretched his lead to three shots after carding a birdie at 13 where McCann made a triple bogey. McCann was thrown a lifeline at 15 where Walsh made triple bogey after his tee shot strayed out of bounds to leave the two Canadians tied for the lead. But just when it seemed as though extra holes would be required to decide the championship McCann stumbled on the 71st hole to enable Walsh to pip him for the top prize. “I hit a shot that never left the flag and landed a yard short of the green and rolled back in the bunker which was firm and had no sand so I couldn’t get it up and down,” McCann said. McCann struggled with the putter all day, carding four bogeys and a triple bogey and a sole birdie. He led by two shots heading into the final round and finished at six-over-par 76 for a four-day total of one-over-par 281. McCann’s final round meltdown actually began on the last five holes of the previous round which was suspended on Wednesday afternoon due to a thunderstorm and completed yesterday morning. The former Nationwide Tour player held a three-shot lead at nine-under-par bogeyed four of the last five holes when play resumed. Finishing third was tournament debutant Mark Hoffman who shot the day’s lowest score of three-under 67 that included three birdies, an eagle and two bogeys to finish with a 72-hole total of two-over-par 282. Hoffman’s elder brother Matthew (291) started the final round tied for second with second round leader Jordan Mitchell (283) but fell out of contention, making five bogeys, a double bogey and a triple bogey on the front nine to make the turn at ten-over for the round. Daniel Augustus (284) was the top local pro after coming in with a 74 that left him in seventh. His final round included two birdies, three bogeys and a triple bogey at the par-three seventh. “I’m very pleased with the way I struck the ball this week but my putter was just dead,” Augustus said. Local Joshua Cabrera (310), one of the youngest players in the field, overcame a five-shot deficit to pip Chris Garland (311) by a single shot to claim the junior amateur title. Hav Trott (290) held off a late surge from fellow Bermudian Jeffrey Lindo (292) to retain his senior title by two shots.