Grob grabs an­other tour ti­tle

ATB Fi­nan­cial Clas­sic vic­tory pushes win­nings over $400,000

Calgary Herald - - Sports - JOHN DOWN CAL­GARY HER­ALD ALSOSEE

Mike Grob tried to close the door once but it wasn’t un­til he slammed it shut with an ea­gle at the 14th hole Sun­day that he could breathe a sigh of re­lief.

The two-un­der score on the par 5 hole lifted the 43-year-old Mon­tanan out of a birdie shootout and set him on his way to a three-shot vic­tory in the $150,000 ATB Fi­nan­cial Clas­sic at the Elks Club.

Grob’s fifth Cana­dian Tour tri­umph was worth $24,000, moved him to sec­ond on the sea­son’s Or­der of Merit with $37,000 and pushed his all-time ca­reer tour earn­ings to a lit­tle more than $402,000.

The one-time PGA Tour player fin­ished off the 72-hole af­fair with a six-un­der-par 66 for an over­all score of 24-un­der 264, just three shots shy of the tour record for low­est win­ning score on a par 72 course.

“Hey, if I’d known that, I wouldn’t have made all those bo­geys to­day,” laughed Grob, who had three in the fi­nal 18 af­ter just suf­fer­ing one bo­gey dur­ing the first 54 holes. “I was for­tu­nate enough to make enough birdies to off­set them.

“But that’s by far the most un­der par I’ve ever been.”

Grob started the day one shot back of play­ing part­ner Alan McLean, the trans­planted Scot from Lon­don, Ont., and quickly wiped out birdies at the first and third holes with bo­geys at the fourth (three-putt) and fifth (er­rant tee shot) holes.

“That was a bit scary,” said Grob, “be­cause some­times it turns you around and it doesn’t come back. Those two bo­geys kind of let ev­ery­one back into the tour­na­ment but I was for­tu­nate enough to make birdies at the sev­enth and eighth holes, make the turn the cou­ple un­der and I thought I played the back nine fairly well.”

That was the first turn­ing point for the one-time PGA Tour player.

The sec­ond came at the 540yard, 14th as he clung to a oneshot lead over first-round leader Josh Geary, course record shooter Matt Bet­ten­court and hard-charg­ing Joseph Lanza.

“I had to hit a 7-iron ex­actly per­fect,” said Grob of his sec­ond shot to the par 5 that stopped within two feet of the cup. I saw the score­board and saw that I was just one ahead of a cou­ple of guys. Af­ter that I was three ahead so . . . “

Even though he made a bo­gey at the par 4, 15th from the trees, he added birdies at 16 and 17 to ward off all evil.

“I re­ally ex­pected peo­ple to keep mak­ing birdies and birdies and birdies but it didn’t seem to turn out that way,” added Grob. “The last few holes on the back nine didn’t give up much . . . they were play­ing tough.”

There also were two turn­ing points for McLean, who wound up sec­ond de­spite a clos­ing 70 for a 267.

Af­ter play­ing what he de­scribed as ten­ta­tive front nine, he failed to bang home a birdie at the par 5 10th af­ter strip­ing a 3-iron shot into the wind that went long and left him with a tough downs­lope lie above the pin. Grob had been forced to lay up on the hole.

Then came the cranked him up.

He tried to thread a wedge shot through a V in a tree at the par 4, 13th, clipped a branch and saw the ball flie 20 yards out of bounds. He man­aged to save bo­gey but was steamed.

shot

that

“I was just in­ca­pable of get­ting the ball to the hole . . . it was a to­tal lack of ag­gres­sion and I don’t know what I can at­tribute it to,” said the 37-year-old trans­planted Scot. “But when the ball went out of bounds I got an­gry and made a bag­ful of birdies com­ing in.

“I hate to think I play my best golf when I’m mad, but that’s what hap­pened to­day. Maybe some­body should have hit me on the shin on the first hole.” McLean, who re­ceived $14,400, had four birdies and a bo­gey (No. 17) over the last five holes to fin­ish two shots ahead of the Amer­i­can trio of Bet­ten­court (67), Geary (69) and Lanza (67).

On­tario pro­fes­sion­als Derek Gillespie and Richard Scott shared low Cana­dian hon­ours with Cana­dian ama­teur team mem­ber Kris Wa­sy­lowich of Leth­bridge at 14-un­der 274.

Cal­gary’s Wes Martin and Ari­zo­nan Ben Hayes shared low score of the day with 65s.

The tour heads to Edmonton this week for the Telus Open.

Christina Ryan, Cal­gary Her­ald

Mike Grob fin­ished off the ATB Fi­nan­cial Clas­sic at the Elks Club at 24-un­der 264, just three shots shy of the Cana­dian Tour record for low­est win­ning score on a par-72 course.

Her­ald Ar­chive, CanWest News Ser­vice

Mon­tana’s Grob fin­ished three shots ahead of the field.

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