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Cam Burke (John Richardson Jr.)

Cam Burke

(John Richardson Jr.)

Short Game: Cam Burke hangs on for first pro title Add to ...

Two-time Canadian Amateur champion Cam Burke has found the winner’s circle as a professional for the first time.

On Thursday, the 25-year-old from New Hamburg, Ont., won the Founders Club Classic, a new event on the eGolf Tour.

Burke didn’t do it the easy way, though. In cold and wet conditions at the Founders Club in Southport, N.C., he closed the third and final round with bogeys on the last four holes – hanging on for a one-stroke victory over Harold Varner III.

“Obviously, I would have liked to have won in different fashion,” Burke told egolfprofessionaltour.com, “but I’m proud of the way I played this week. I’m very happy that I pulled it off.”

His final-round of four-over-par 76 (and three-day total of two-under 214) doesn’t seem like a champion’s score but it was not out of place among the field, which struggled through drizzle, downpours and gusting winds that reached speeds of 20 to 30 miles an hour. Just a couple of players broke par.

“This round was just so hard. It was a see-what-you-can-do-out-there kind of day,” Burke said. “Today was all about the conditions, and sometimes that’s just going to happen.”

One of the few players to tame the Founders Club Thursday was another two-time Canadian Amateur champion, MacKenzie Hughes. The rookie pro from Dundas, Ont., carded his third consecutive 72 and shot up the leader board to a tie for third place, his best eGolf finish.

Burke has played on the eGolf Tour, considered the hottest men’s mini-tour in the United States, for a couple of seasons, amassing seven top-10 finishes in 43 starts.

His victory Thursday came with a $14,000 (U.S.) winner’s cheque and took him to No. 3 on the season money list. “I’m really happy with the way I’m playing right now, so we’ll see where I can take it.”

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CANADIAN CONNECTION: Legendary Canadian architect Stanley Thompson helped design the Brazilian course that is hosting the Web.com Tour’s Brasil Classic this week.

From 1932 to 1935, Thompson worked on the design and update of the Sao Paulo Golf Club with Jose Maria Gonzalez, the Stanley Thompson Society’s website notes.

Thompson was Canada’s pre-eminent designer in the classic course era, responsible for such domestic gems as Banff Springs, Jasper Park and St. George’s. But he also had his hands on a few  international courses, mostly in the Caribbean and South America.

Adam Hadwin of Abbotsford, B.C., called Sao Paulo Golf Club a “great course” on Twitter this week and his good feelings showed in the first round Thursday.

He shot four-under 67 and was tied for ninth place, the best of the Canadian contingent in the field.

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HAPPY BIRTHDAY: Beacon Hall, one of Canada’s top private courses, is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year.

Rather than keep the party to itself, the Aurora, Ont., course is launching a public awareness campaign to showcase the club and seek out the “next generation of members.”

It will air messages on Toronto radio station 680 News and place banner ads in The Globe and Mail.

The Robert Cupp-designed course has consistently been ranked among Canada’s top 10 since opening. But its privileged position has not left it immune to the realities of operating a golf club in today’s challenging business climate.

“For the past 25 years we have quietly, and quite successfully, gone about our business of providing a world-class membership experience,” says Phil Hardy, Beacon Hall’s long-standing director of golf. “Now is the time to open the gates a little and showcase the club, the course and our history with golfers and our surrounding communities. We are going to do something that no top-end private club has done – take to the radio airwaves to extol the merits of membership.”

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THINKING AHEAD: A pair of Canadians might join Lydia Ko in the ceremonial jump into Poppie's Pond on Sunday if the amateur phenom wins the Kraft Nabisco Championship.

The victor at the LPGA Tour's first major of the season traditionally leaps into the water hazard beside the 18th green at the Mission Hills Country Club's Dinah Shore course in Rancho Mirage, Calif.

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