Robby Shelton goes wire-to-wire at GolfBC Championships
This weekend's GolfBC Championships at Gallagher's Canyon crowned a wire-to-wire winner, but it still came down to the final hole.
Johnny Ruiz went into the 18th hole with a one-shot lead, but put up a bogie to create a four-way tie at the top of the leaderboard.
That set the stage for 21-year-old Robby Shelton, who made up for an errant tee shot with a chip to within seven feet, followed by a birdie putt to seal the victory.
Shelton says he didn't even know that making that putt would win him the tournament.
"I had no idea. Looking up on the scoreboard when I was chipping, it said (Ruiz) was at -19, so looking over the putt, I thought I had to make it, to go into a playoff," he said.
"Somebody told me while I was walking off the green that I won, and then it hit me. So it was a little late, but it's okay."
Shelton, from Wilmer, Alabama, lead the pack after the first round, and never strayed far from that spot.
He says his final score of 19-under was only one stroke off of where he wanted to be, coming into the round.
"All day, that's all I wanted to get to. I knew if I shot -20, someone would have to shoot -6 or -7 (on Sunday) to catch me. But just to win, and win by one is the same as two or three," he said.
Fellow Americans Ruiz, Cody Blick, and Adam Webb all finished at 18-under.
Reflecting on the win, Shelton says Gallagher's put him in a comfort zone.
"It just fit my eye. Every hole looked really good to me, I loved the layout of it," he said.
"Luckily I was hitting the 2-iron really well this week. Didn't hit many drivers, but I kept the ball in the fairway, and then made a few putts."
Vancouver's Seann Harlingten was the top Canadian, finishing in a tie for seventh at 13-under.
Kimberley's Jared du Toit finished tied for ninth at 12-under, and also set a course record during Saturday's third round, when he shot a 10-under 61.
The tournament also raised $50,000 dollars for the Red Cross Kelowna flood relief, and another $100,000 for the BC Cancer Foundation.