Oakville's Larry Cooper claims seven-shot victory in three-day golf event
Welland, Ontario - It was a crowded leaderboard heading into the final round of the Golf Association of Ontario's (GAO) 2014 Investors Group Ontario Senior Men's Amateur Golf Championship here Thursday. Three players entered the day with a share the lead, while nine others were all within three shots, including St. Marys' own Rick Fifield. Conditions were windy at Hunters Pointe Golf Course in Welland for Thursday's final round. First-round leader and co-leader after the second round, Oakville's Larry Cooper, was able to tame those conditions to play great golf and capture his first provincial Senior Men's title. "I came down early and played a practice round with Sandy Billyard, who co-owns the golf course and I really got to learn a lot about it," Cooper said. "The wind makes a huge difference on this golf course and you really need to pick the right golf club and I seemed to do that today. I tried to keep the golf ball down in the wind and made sure I was finishing low at the target." Cooper attributed much of his success during the week to his flat stick (putter). "My putter was really solid. I made a lot of good putts, putts for par when I needed to, so I was very pleased with that," he said. Cooper, a 57-year-old from the Mississauga Golf and Country Club, took the outright lead after a birdie on the third hole. He parred the remaining six on the front nine and was at one-under at the turn. He continued to play well on the back nine beginning with a trio of birdies on the 10th, 11th and 12th holes. He went on to finish the round four-under (68) and four-under for the golf tournament. Cooper (69-75-68) was the only player to shoot under-par for the week. "The Senior group is a great group of guys," Cooper said. "Everyone is pulling for each other, which is really nice. I love the spirit they have to offer. Last year, I played the event and lost in a playoff; this year I was lucky enough to win and it feels really nice to come back and win it."
Finishing second was Lars Melander from Hidden Lake Golf Club. The Oakville resident finished the final round three-over (75) and the tournament at three-over par. Melander also was crowned champion of the 60-plus division. Rounding out top three were Pickering's Christopher Kertsos and Collingwood's Michael Jackson who both ended the golf tournament at six-over. For Kertsos, he finished the day at three-over (75). As for Jackson, he had a six-over (78).
Fifield shot a final-round 79 after firing a pair of 73s to start the golf tournament. The St. Marys Golf and Country Club general manager finished in a tie for sixth place, nine-over-par for the tourney. St. Marys member Rich Parsons, meanwhile, finished in a tie for 17th place. He had rounds of 74, 75 and 79 to finish 12-over-par for the week.
Georgetown's Reg Finlayson captured the 70-plus division, for the third consecutive year, with a final round of six-over (78) to end the tournament at 17-over.
With their podium finish, Cooper and Melander earned the right to represent Ontario at the Canadian Senior Men's Golf Championship, August 26-29, at Capilano Golf and Country Club in West Vancouver, B.C. Brampton's Rick Dobbs-Hebron joined them after earning the third spot in a playoff.
The Investors Group Ontario Senior Men's Golf Championship is contested annually and features Ontario's best male amateur golfers age 55 and older. 2014 marks the 79th playing of the event, and notable past champions include Ontario Golf Hall of Fame members Stu Hamilton and Nick Weslock, Herb Carnegie and Ed Ervasti.