PORT ST. LUCIE, FLA - Brian Hutton battled high winds, fast greens, a three-shot deficit and emotions but stayed patient Wednesday, capturing the 2012 Titleist & FootJoy PGA Club Professional Championship of Canada.
The 53-year Hutton, who won the championship two years ago on the Wanamaker Course, finished the 54-hole championship at 2 under and was only one of three players on the day to finish in the red after a 2-under-par 70.
"I didn't think 70 would be good enough to be honest with Danny King playing as well as he does and the number of good experienced players out there,” Hutton said after his round. "I thought I would have to be like 65 or 66, but I just hung in there, stayed patient and it was good enough.”
A former resident of Florida and no stranger to the Sunshine State's Bermuda grass, Hutton's 214 total was one shot better than Magna Golf Club's King who was unable to get up and down for par from behind the green on the final hole of the championship and force a playoff.
"I lived in Florida years ago and played a lot of mini tour events back in the 1980s,” Hutton said. "So, with a lot of years of experience playing down here and with the wind I wasn't caught off guard by the course conditions.”
Finishing third at even par was Lance McCullough of The Ridge Course at Cordova Bay. The Royal Montreal Golf Club's Scott Dickson finished fourth, while Marc Girouard of Diamant Club de Golf and 2012 PGA Championship of Canada winner Eric Laporte rounded out the top five.
Four players - Dean North (Carman Golf Club), Graham Gunn (White Sands Golf & Practice Centre), Brett Burgeson (Country Hills Golf Club) and Bradlee Ryall (The Academy at BraeBen) - finished tied for seventh at 3 over.
Hutton's emotional win comes just a week after the passing of his father.
"I almost didn't play this week and it was one of the toughest decisions I've ever had to make in my life,” Hutton conceded. "My father passed away last week and it's been a tough time and I wasn't sure if I should come and play but I decided to come and play in honour of dad.”
With his win this week, Hutton jumps to No. 6 on the PGA of Canada Player Rankings presented by RBC, which were released Wednesday evening.
The new rankings see Brian McCann of The Academy at BraeBen retain his top spot, with Royal Mayfair Golf Club's Mike Belbin moving to No. 2 and King sliding to No. 3. Bryn Parry of Seymour Creek Golf Centre and La Prairie Club de Golf are tied for fourth, Burgeson moves to No. 7 with Billy Walsh of Fairtree Golf Centre in at No. 8. Shaughnessy Golf & Country Club's Lindsay Bernakevitch stays at No. 9 and Eric Laporte rounds out the top 10.
By virtue of his fifth place finish, Laporte secured the Mike Weir Player of the Year Award, edging Chilliwack Golf & Country Club's Brad Clapp.
In the Inter-Zone Team Championship, Ottawa Valley and Quebec tied at 435, however, under the tie breaking procedure, the Ottawa Valley squad of Barber, Marc Foucalt (Kingsway Parc Club de Golf), Gunn and Chris Learmonth (Deep River Golf Club) took home the title. Team Ontario finished third at 436.
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