Joe Scharf played too well to call it beginner’s luck.
The 34-year-old, playing in his first Strathcona Invitational, not to mention his first championship final, put on a golfing clinic Monday afternoon, easily defeating Jordan Potter 7&5 to capture the second leg of Thunder Bay’s major triumvirate.
“I played well,” said Scharf, who earlier in the day knocked off former champion Robert Cumming to secure his spot in the final.
“To be honest, I was struggling with my putter all week. I wasn’t hitting a lot of greens and I wasn’t making a lot of putts, and today it just seemed to roll in. That’s the way it goes.”
Scharf, who lost to Barry Caland in a playoff at the 2012 Canadian Tire District Amateur, called it the biggest win of his career.
Ironically it was Caland carrying his bag this week.
“The best part about it is I get to come back and defend next year,” said Scharf, a fifth for Jeff Currie’s rink at the 2014 Tim Horton’s Brier, who only played this week because his wife and children were out of town, freeing him up to hit the links.
Despite the lopsided nature of the win, Scharf said he wasn’t taking anything for granted.
“It’s never in the bag until that final ball goes into the bottom of the cup. Jordan, he kept pressing all day. Unfortunately he hit a bad tee shot on 12 and it kind of gave me a little bit of an open door. I knew I had to make a four at worst there to grab that hole and be dormie.”
Scharf did one better, sinking the birdie, leaving him six up with six to play.
He fired his tee shot on No. 13 into the bunker, but recovered nicely from about 160 yards, leaving himself a long birdie putt from the front fringe.
The 20-year-old Potter, a student at Lakehead University playing his first Strathcona Invitational final, put his approach shot into the rough to the left of the green. His chip sailed long, leaving about 30 feet for par.
He missed the putt and the two shook hands, ending the match.
“I think in the tournament in general I played pretty well. I had a lot of good matches,” said Potter, who defeated Evan DeGrazia on the 18th hole in Monday’s other semifinal.
“Obviously I didn’t play how I wanted to in the final, but that’s going to happen every now and then. I’m still happy with my result.”
Scharf said it took a birdie on No. 4 to shake the cobwebs from his game, after poor tee shots on his first couple of holes.
“I could probably hit that putt 50 more times and not make it. So that kind of got me going and it was kind of snowball effect,” he said.
Hank Wilke defeated Randy Fossum to capture the senior championship, while Tony Stokaluk downed Guy Wolframe to win the super senior title.
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