Stephen Gangluff made a triumphant return to the PGA Tour Canada, winning the season-opening Times Colonist Island Savings Open in Victoria on Sunday.
The 37-year-old birdied two of the final three holes at Uplands Golf Club to post a two-shot victory over fellow American Tyler Aldridge.
Gangluff was the Canadian circuit's 2006 player of the player, winning twice that year, and last played north of the border in 2010. Since then, he has competed on the Web.com Tour in 2011 and the PGA Tour in 2012.
Without status on either of the latter two tours this year, he returned to the PGA Tour Canada looking to make it a springboard again to the higher levels.
“It’s a new life for me,” Gangluff told pgatourcanada.com. “To come out here and win my first event since 2006 is pretty hard to describe.”
He earned $27,000 and put himself atop the tour's money list. The top five at the end of the nine-event season get cards on the Web.com Tour for 2014.
Gangluff started the day three shots behind third-round leader David Skinns, but the Englishman struggled to a four-over 74 and opened the door to his pursuers. Gangluff stepped through with his second consecutive 66 to bring his four-round total to 11-under 269.
Riley Wheeldon of Comox, B.C., was the low Canadian, in solo third place, four shots behind Gangluff. The 22-year-old's career is ascending -- he won his first pro event this year on the NGA Tour in South Carolina.
“Any time you can finish up the leaderboard and get in the hunt, you can draw again on that in the future,” Wheeldon said. “Each time you’re out here and get in contention it means a lot, and I hope I’m able to get in contention more often.”
Wheeldon pocketed an extra $1,500 for being the Canadian player of the week, taking an early lead in the race for a $10,000 bonus at the end of the year for being the best domestic talent.
Devin Carrey of Surrey, B.C., and Nick Taylor of Abbotsford, B.C., shared fourth place with Skinns and second-round leader Matt Marshall of the United States.
Cory Renfrew of Victoria was the other Canadian in the top 10. He tied for eighth place.
Among other notable finishers, Albin Choi of Toronto tied for 20th place. The former amateur star was making his professional debut.
The PGA Tour Canada, launched this year after the PGA Tour took over the Canadian Tour, makes its next stop in Calgary next week for the ATB Financial Classic. Meanwhile, many of the circuit's players will stop in Vancouver this week for the Saputo Vancouver Open, the biggest event on the Vancouver Golf Tour schedule.
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