Jim Rutledge knows a thing or two about what it takes to close out big time golf events.
“The game plan for the final round is to fire at all pins and try and go really low,” Rutledge said after his second round at Carleton Golf and Yacht Club in Ottawa. “I’m really just going to try and take it to the guys chasing me and see if any of them can catch me.”
Thru two rounds of the PGA Seniors’ Championship of Canada, Rutledge sits atop the leaderboard at -11; three shots clear of his nearest competitor Ken Tarling of Ontario. The 59-year-old from Victoria is in search of his sixth PGA Seniors’ Championship title.
“The key to scoring well around here is keep hitting greens,” Rutledge said about Carleton Golf and Yacht Club. “The greens are so tiny around here that when you hit a green you’re going to have a good chance for birdie.”
Rutledge’s second-round 5-under-par 66 included six birdies and a bogey (which came at the last).
Rutledge’s past PGA Seniors’ Championship of Canada wins came in 2017 at Burlington Golf and Country Club; 2015 at Credit Valley Golf & Country Club; 2013 at Lookout Point Country Club; 2012 at Emerald Hills Golf Club; and 2010 at Rattlesnake Point Golf Club. The 59-year-old is also a former winner on the Korn Ferry Tour; has six Mackenzie-PGA TOUR Canada titles and is a former PGA Championship of Canada winner.
The PGA Seniors’ Championship of Canada was first played in 1938 as a division of the Canadian PGA Championship and features the historic Albert H. Murray Trophy. In 1973, the championship became an independent event and has stayed that way since.
Among the Canadian golf legends to win the PGA Seniors’ Championship of Canada are Stan Leonard, Moe Norman—who won a record seven straight years from 1979-1985—Bob Panasik, Al Balding, Rutledge, Ray Stewart, Dave Barr, Bob Panasik, Murray Tucker, Bill Kozak, Gar Hamilton and Remi Bouchard.
Tarling is a past PGA Seniors’ Championship winner as well; and after rounds of 68-66 he finds himself alone in second place, within striking distance of Rutledge. Don’t expect the 61-year-old from Sanford, Ont., to be too consumed with what his playing competitor is doing on the course Friday, however.
“I’m not really going to worry about what Jim does out there tomorrow,” Tarling says. “I’m just going to do my own thing and at the end of the day you add it up and see how it unfolds.”
Danny King—a three time PGA Head Professional Championship and 2015 PGA Championship of Canada winner—lurks four shots off the pace in third place. Recent BC Golf Hall of Fame inductee Philip Jonas is in fourth at -6, while Ben Boudreau rounds out the top five at -4. Scott Allred, Marc Hurtbuise, Martin Plante and Bradley Rollinson are T6 at -3. The group at -2, T10 includes Marc Girouard, Graham Gunn and Dennis Hendershott.
For the full leaderboard and final round tee times can be found here.
Admittance to the PGA Seniors’ Championship of Canada is free and spectators are encouraged to attend the 54-hole championship.