Greg Machtaler carded a final round 62 which included a dramatic 70-foot birdie putt en route to winning the inaugural Forces and Families Open in Ottawa on Sunday.
The Summerland, B.C. golfer becomes the first Canadian to win on PGA Tour Canada in 2014 and the first since Max Gilbert won the Tour Championship 11 months ago. He is also the first player to come from behind and win since Joel Dahmen at the season opening event and his six shot defict is the largest overcome in the PGA Tour Canada era.
Machtaler played his final 11 holes in 9-under par which included two eagles and a back nine 30 to get to 17-under par. He then waited more than an hour, watching as American Jeff Dennis and Nova Scotia’s Peter Campbell failed to make birdie at the final hole to match him in the clubhouse. When third round leader Greg Eason couldn’t hole out for eagle from the right rough to force a playoff, Machtaler had his first career PGA Tour Canada victory.
Afterwards, Machtaler paid tribute to his father, whose death almost a year ago helped spur his decision to re-start his professional golf career.
“It’s huge. It’s been a really, really tough year personally with trying to get over the loss of my dad so unexpectedly,” said Machtaler. “He would have wanted me to do it for sure, and that was the deciding factor, doing it for him.”
“Emotionally, you think about him all the time. You’re sad and you go through some moments where you wish you could see him one more time. To be able to win this for him, it kinds of makes a really tough situation just a little bit easier to deal with.”
Despite earning status at the B.C. qualifying tournament earlier this year, Machtaler admitted he was still hesitant to return to give up a steady paycheck for the uncertainty of professional golf.
“I had a good job for a couple of years, and you have that steady paycheck coming in and you still get to play some tournaments and I had some success,” he explained. “Every player is just so good, so to be able to top a field of that many good players really gives me a lot of confidence and shows me that all the hard work’s been paying off. I think I’m making the right decision to come back and play again.”
The win moves Machtaler up to ninth on the Order of Merit with four events to go in the season. Only the top five at the end of the year secure Web.com Tour status.