CARDIGAN, Prince Edward Island—On another blustery day at Dundarave Golf Course, the Prince Edward Island Open needed a playoff to decide a winner, with Michael Blair edging Maxwell Sear on the first hole of sudden death.
“It was just staying patient, especially with the conditions as tough as they were,” said the Ancaster, Ontario, native who shot a 1-under round of 71 to finish regulation at 9-under. “It was blowing 45 (kph) out there today so it was just really committing to every shot as much as possible and then just letting whatever happens happen after that. You can’t do much when it’s blowing 45 after it leaves your clubface. It’s up to the golf gods basically.”
The golf gods were smiling on Blair. The 29-year-old came up short with his approach shot on the first playoff hole, the par-5 18th—his wedge-shot approach landing in the deep bunker guarding the green.
“I hit that shot in the practice round so I knew I could get out somewhere on the green,” said Blair. “I just tried to get it out and give myself a putt. I just didn’t want to leave it in there to be honest.”
He was left with a six-footer for birdie and made no mistake.
“It looked pretty straight to me; just dying a bit to the right,” said Blair who admitted to changing his putting stroke this week. “All I tried to do was make sure I made solid contact and see what happens. I was lucky enough to catch the right side there and drip it in.”
That put the pressure on Sear, who was also on the green in three shots after chipping out of deep rough on a steep incline leading down toward the bunker where Blair escaped. The Mercier, Quebec, native was left with a five-footer, but his putt just burned the left edge, failing to drop.
“I hit a good putt,” said Sear. “I knew it was going to be right on that fine line of it was going to break or not and maybe I’ll get a gust, maybe I won’t, and it just lipped out.”
Despite the heartbreaking loss, Sear is focusing on the positives of a second-place finish.
“Obviously it was really tough conditions,” said Sear, who also shot a final-round 71. “To be able to grind it out like that, It’s kind of my game. Hopefully it helps me down the road, and, yeah, just keep trucking right along here.”
Camrose, Alberta’s Andrew Harrison finished in third place, at 7-under—two strokes out of the playoff. Blair Bursey (6-under) of Gander, Newfoundland, ended up alone in fourth.
The Mackenzie Tour – PGA TOUR Canada remains on Prince Edward Island for the Brudenell River Classic, with the 54-hole event beginning Tuesday.