For six grueling rounds of golf over four days at the Wyndance Golf Club, Dave Levesque had an exacting and unwavering game plan with one definitive goal in mind – win.
On a picture perfect Friday afternoon in Uxbridge, Ont., he reached that goal, capturing the 2014 PGA Championship of Canada.
“For so many years I’ve had so many close calls so this feels awesome,” the Montreal native admitted. “It was very tiring out there this afternoon and I made a few mental mistakes early on in the match, but I tried to stay patient because I knew eventually things would happen.”
In the championship’s final match, Levesque the No. 3 seed squared off against the No. 1-seeded Billy Walsh, who in 2013 won the PGA Assistants’ Championship of Canada and reached the finals of the PGA Championship of Canada. Walsh jumped out to an early lead, going 2-up thru the first three holes. Levesque would claw back to square the match by the eighth hole, but made bogeys on Nos. 9 and 10, falling back to 2-down with eight to play.
Birdies on Nos. 11 and 12 brought the match back to square, while three more birdies on Nos. 14, 16 and 18 clinched the 2-up victory for the 40-year-old.
Levesque becomes the third PGA of Canada member from Quebec since 2011 to capture the championship. Vincent Dumouchel won in 2011 at Cottonwood Golf and Country Club in Calgary, while Eric Laporte won the following year at Country Hills Golf Club, which is also in Calgary.
“As PGA of Canada member from Quebec, I feel very proud today of Dave Levesque,” said PGA of Canada President Constant Priondolo. “I congratulate Dave on the win here today, but I also congratulate Billy on a wonderful week as well.”
And while it was the second-straight year Walsh walked away from the PGA Championship of Canada with second-place honours, narrowly winning the prestigious P.D. Ross Trophy, this time around won’t sting quite as bad.
“If you told me at the beginning of the week I’d be second place and earn the RBC Canadian Open exemption I probably would have taken that over winning,” Walsh said. “It’s really a dream come true for me and give me two good days on Thursday and Friday and let’s see where I am.”
By virtue of his second-place finish and the 50-rankings points, Walsh earns an exemption into next month’s RBC Canadian Open at The Royal Montreal Golf Club as the No. 1-ranked player from the PGA of Canada Player Rankings presented by RBC.
In the third place match, Chris Barber, the No. 15 seed bested the No. 60 seed Christophe Belair.
With the championship win, Levesque not only takes home the P.D. Ross Trophy and a $15,000 winner’s cheque, he also earns 60-ranking points moves to No. 2 on the PGA of Canada Player Rankings.
Past champions of the PGA Championship of Canada include Moe Norman, George Knudson, Al Balding, Bob Panasik, Wilf Homenuik, Stan Leonard, Lee Trevino and Arnold Palmer.
The next PGA championship takes place July 29-31 at FireRock Golf Club in Komoka, Ont., for the PGA Women’s Championship of Canada.