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The Globe and Mail

Wong eagles 18 to win Canadian Tour Championship

TORONTO - Eugene Wong won the Canadian Tour Championship with a nearly perfect shot.

The North Vancouver, B.C., native two-hopped the ball into the 18th hole from 133 yards out on Sunday, eagling to beat American Joe Panzeri by a single shot.

"There's a funny story to that shot," said the 21-year-old Wong. "My caddie and I were walking up the fairway, and he said 'it would be nice to hole it right now, wouldn't it?' I said 'yeah, it would."'

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It is Wong's first professional victory. The 2010 Jack Nicklaus Award winner earned $16,000 for the win and a two-year exemption on the Canadian Tour.

He finished at 14-under par total, a stroke ahead of Panzeri, the 2011 International Rookie of the Year.

"My confidence is really high now. I know I can compete with the pros and I'm happy to get my first win, so there's one milestone down," said Wong.

Playing in his third Canadian Tour event as a professional, Wong got off to a fast start with a chip in eagle on the first hole. That eagle propelled him into the early lead over Panzeri, who began the day a shot back of Wong at 9 under.

"I got myself to the top of the leaderboard and hit solid shots coming in," said Panzeri.

The lead, however, didn't last long as an untimely bogey on the fifth hole coupled with Panzeri's third birdie of the day on No. 6 put Wong in a tie at 11 under. Panzeri would go on to birdie eight to grab the outright lead at 12 under before a bogey on nine put him back into a tie with Wong at 11 under.

It looked more and more like Panzeri would walk away with the victory as he moved to 14-under par, three clear of the field. Panzeri would go on to bogey the par-4 13th hole, moving him to 13-under where he finished the tournament.

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"I made a sliding four-footer that I thought was to win the golf tournament. You can't control when something like that happens," said the classy Panzeri.

Wong, knowing that he needed to get to 13 under to have any chance at a win, made a clutch birdie on No. 16, choosing to lay up on the reachable 283-yard par 4. He would go on to post par on No. 17, and a perfect drive on No. 18 set him up for the walk off eagle.

The round of the day belonged to American Joel Dahmen, who matched the official course record with an 8-under 63. Dahmen managed to get around the course with just 20 putts and finished the tournament tied for 16th.

Vancouver's Ryan Williams also had a round to remember. Following a disappointing 5-over opening nine, Williams went on a tear, posting seven birdies on his inward nine to post 28.

With their top-10 showings, open qualifiers David Markle and Carlos Sainz Jr. earned spots into the final event of the year at The Great Waterway Classic.

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