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  • CANADA LIFE

    Fast start allows Pistorius to hang on to take TPC Toronto title

  • The victory earned Albert Pistorius 500 points, a $9,000 first-place payday and, most importantly, his first professional victory.
    The victory earned Albert Pistorius 500 points, a $9,000 first-place payday and, most importantly, his first professional victory.
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  • CALEDON, Ontario—Albert Pistorius made it look easy as he quickly broke away from the logjam of three other players tied atop the leaderboard when the final round of the Canada Life Series at TPC Toronto: Heathlands Course event began. Pistorius eagled his first hole of the day and birdied the third to quickly move to 10-under. As it turned out, Pistorius would need all those strokes.

    The South Africa native who lives in Calgary was 4-over the rest of the way but that blazing start allowed him to win the third Canada Life Series tournament by a stroke over Andrew J. Funk, Callum Davison and Points List leader Yi Cao. The victory earned Pistorius 500 points, a $9,000 first-place payday and, most importantly, his first professional victory.

    It was a battle late in the round, as wind blew strong and often on a crisp late-summer day. With the final grouping of Pistorius, Cao and Funk all tied at 8-under through 15 holes and Davison playing ahead, also at 8-under, it came down to who could make a putt down the stretch. As it turned out, it was Pistorius, at the par-5 16th, when he made his final birdie of the day—from eight feet. Meanwhile, the other three players all had late bogeys coming in, giving Pistorius the cushion he needed to bogey No. 18 and still walk away with the title.

    “There were a lot of thoughts out there just barging into your mind, and you just have to keep focused on what you’re trying to do,” Pistorius said of both the pressure and the elements, not necessarily in that order. “It’s exhausting. With the wind swirling, it wasn’t easy out there today. Some of it was like a three-club wind.”

    The weather took its toll on the field, and the leaders were not exempt. Davison shot himself out after he made back-to-back bogeys at Nos. 15 and 16. Funk bogeyed the par-3 17th to end his chances, and Cao bogeyed No. 16. After their bogeys, the trio could make nothing but pars.

    “Today being such a difficult day, it’s extra sweet to be able to win. It was so tough to choose clubs. Some of the pins were tucked way back, and it was hard to get it close, especially on the back nine,” explained Pistorius, who put playing professional golf seven years ago. When his then-wife took a job in Calgary, Pistorius moved with her and began working at Pinebrook Golf and Country Club as a teaching pro. His decision to give tournament golf another try turned out to be a good one.

    With a two-shot lead standing on the 18th tee, Pistorius split the fairway on his drive. On his full-wedge second shot, he caught the downslope on the green just in front of the cup, and the ball rolled away, leaving himself a 30-footer back up the hill. Pistorius misjudged the distance on his birdie effort and rolled his putt seven feet past the hole. With no scoreboards on the course, Pistorius was a little unsure where he stood against the field. He missed that putt, settling for bogey.

    “On the last hole, I three-putted and thought I was going to be in a playoff,” Pistorius admitted. “It was just nice to know I didn't have to go through that. I would have loved to show a little more emotion on 18, but I'm just glad that I got the win.

    “This is my first win as a professional,” he added, “so I have to go home and think about this. It hasn’t really come to my mind that I’ve won. I’m pretty sure it will sink in a little later.”

    Canada Life Series Points List

    Through Canada Life Series at TPC Toronto: Heathlands Course
    Third of four events

    Pos

    Player

    Points

    1

    Yi Cao

    853.333

    2

    Albert Pistorius

    835.000

    3

    Evan Holmes

    631.000

    4

    Zach Anderson

    326.750

    5

    Joey Savoie

    311.000

    6

    Callum Davison

    294.333

    7

    Derek Gillespie

    260.000

    8

    Lawren Rowe

    244.000

    9

    Andrew J. Funk

    234.833

    10

    Chris Crisologo

    222,500

    Key Information

    • The winner of the Canada Life Points List at the conclusion of the four-event Series earns a playing spot in the 2021 RBC Canadian Open on the PGA TOUR. The invitation is courtesy of Golf Canada. He also earns conditional 2021 Mackenzie Tour status and six guaranteed tournament starts. The players who finish Nos. 2-5 on the Points List also earn conditional status and are assured 2021 starts in two tournaments.

    • Currently, only three players are still in the running to win the Canada Life Series Points List title, with Yi Cao No. 1 and Albert Pistorius in second, both with realistic chances of winning as only 18.333 points separates them. Week-one winner Evan Holmes is the only other player with a mathematical chance. He is 222.333 points behind Cao. The winner each week earns 500 points.

    • This week, Yi Cao and Albert Pistorius both shot 64s, and theirs were the low 18-hole scores at TPC Toronto. They will share the weekly bonus awarded to the week’s low shooters of the week, each player walking away with $1,375. The cash reward of $2,750 is courtesy of 11 current or former PGA TOUR players who all have Mackenzie Tour or Canadian Tour roots. They are Stephen Ames, Corey Conners, Graham DeLaet, Michael Gligic, Adam Hadwin, David Hearn, Mackenzie Hughes, Ian Leggatt, Roger Sloan, Nick Taylor and Mike Weir. At the first tournament, Evan Holmes took home the bonus, with Joey Savoie taking the money in the second event.

    • Oddly enough, only two players enjoyed three under-par rounds this week, and they both tied for seventh. Mike Gonko and Chris Crisologo finished at 4-under, with identical 70-69-70 rounds on the par-71 TPC Toronto at Osprey Valley Heathlands Course.

    • Garrett Rank, the 44th-best amateur in the world according to the World Amateur Golf Ranking, shot a 1-over 72 Friday to go with his consecutive 68s to start the tournament. Rank finished alone in sixth, three shots behind Albert Pistorius’ winning score.

    • On a difficult scoring day, only six players broke 70, led by Hugo Bernard’s best-of-the-day 67. Bernard played his final 36 holes in 7-under after opening with a 6-over 77. He tied for 20th. The others to shoot in the 60s Friday were Callum Davison (68) and Adam Migur, Keaton Jones, Patrick Murphy and Evan Holmes (69). Bernard had six birdies and two bogeys.

    • The par-3 12th was the hardest hole of the final round a day after the par-3 17th had that honor. No. 12’s stroke average was 3.597, with the hole yielding only three birdies against 22 bogeys and eight “others.”

    • The easiest hole again Friday was the par-5 first hole, with a stroke average of 4.58, up slightly from the second round’s 4.53.

    • There were 159 birdies and three eagles Friday, with $855 earned for charity. For each birdie a player makes during this 54-hole event, Canada Life is donating $5 through its Birdies for Kids initiative. In addition, Canada Life is donating $20 for every eagle. Money donated from the two events here in Caledon will go to Start2Finish, an organization that provides ongoing educational support to Canada’s at-risk children throughout their school years, nurturing mind, body and social health so they are empowered to graduate and succeed.

    Canada Life Birdies for Kids

    Week

    Birdies

    Eagles

    Money Donated

    First Week

    712

    22

    $4,000

    Second Week

    752

    39

    $4,540

    First Round this Week

    338

    10

    $1,890

    Second Round this Week

    347

    12

    $1,975

    Third Round this Week

    159

    3

    $855

    Total

    2,149

    83

    $13,260

    Canada Life Bonus

     

     

    $11,460

    Grand Total

     

     

    $24,720

    Of the five amateurs who made the cut, NHL referee Garrett Rank was the low amateur, with his top-10 finish (sixth). The other amateurs and their finishes: Jordan Crampton (tied for 29th), Ty Celone (tied for 40th) and Golf Canada National Junior Squad members Cougar Collins (tied for 52nd) and Laurent Desmarchais (tied for 55th).
    Quotable

    “I was teaching there, and one of the members, Jason Cormack, got me back into it. He asked me if I wanted to go play professional golf again. It’s all his fault.” –Albert Pistorius on how he started playing touring professional golf again while working at Pinebrook Golf and Country Club

    “I was even thinking after my first round, I felt like, Hey, what’s going on here? I felt like I’m better than this. It just wasn’t happening for me. With 45 holes to play, I just focused on one shot at a time and gave it my best and really focused on that. And here I am.” –Albert Pistorius on his three-bogey, six-par start to his tournament

    “I just want to thank all the Canadian players on the PGA TOUR for all they’ve done to help us players trying to join them there.” –Albert Pistorius

    “I can’t thank the Mackenzie Tour and Canada Life enough for what they’re doing for us. I think they run an excellent Tour. Even when I go down to the States, I miss it here.” –Albert Pistorius

    “I’ve been consistently in the top five every week, which sets me up nicely and gives me a lot of confidence going into the final event. If I have a strong finish next week, it will be the best 30th birthday gift.” –Yi Cao on his September 10 birthday

    “I normally don’t play in windy conditions in Vancouver and this was a really tough test.” –Yi Cao

    “It’s so special to have the players on the PGA TOUR provide the bursary bonus. They are really trying to support us as best they can so that we can join them on the PGA TOUR one day.” –Yi Cao

    “I was not feeling good after Bear Mountain. I had a poor first event, and I was forced to withdraw from the second event with a small injury. Although I didn’t win this week, I got my confidence back.” –Andrew J. Funk

    “As a professional golfer there is a huge difference between a tournament golfer and a guy on a range. That’s when the good players are separated from the great players. I’m learning and my game is getting better.” –Andrew J. Funk

    “It was stressful today and tough in the windy conditions.” –Andrew J. Funk

    Final-Round Weather: Overcast, windy and cool. High of 21. Wind W at 22-26 kph.