Winter is coming.
It’s about the only thing that can cool off Joe Scharf’s game.
The curler-turned golfer fired a one-under 72 on Monday at Whitewater Golf Club and scored a five-shot win over junior Jeremy Kirk to capture his first Canadian Tire District Amateur title. It was the Thunder Bay native’s second straight local major, coming on the heels of his Strathcona Invitational win over the August long weekend.
Scharf and Kirk entered play trailing Andrew Scavarelli by three shots, but a quintuple bogey nine on the par 4 11th derailed the 2007 District Amateur champion’s chances. Scavarelli would have to settle for a tie for seventh, coming in at eight-over 223, 10 shots behind Scharf’s 213 total.
The 34-year-old Scharf said he knew he had his work cut out from him, with plenty of ground to make up over the final 18 holes.
“Three shots is a pretty big gap to fill. The good thing is Whitewater is not a very pleasant place to play if you aren’t keeping it straight, so I know there’s always the opportunity to make up strokes in a hurry. And that’s kind of what happened today,” he said.
Add in a win with Walter Keating Jr. at the Fort William Invitational, and that’s three tournament titles in the past month.
The District Amateur win was a great way to cap off his breakthrough season, the key shot a birdie save from the fescue on the tricky risk-reward 14th hole.
“It feels great. To win this and to have my name added to the trophy with all those great names on there, it’s an absolute honour,” Scharf said.
He’s not sure what to attribute his success to in 2014.
“I haven’t been playing a whole lot more than I normally do. Golf’s a weird game. Some days it clicks, some days it doesn’t. Lucky for me a couple of weekends this month it did.”
It was Kirk’s putter that did him in on the back nine. Kirk opened with eight straight pars, but closed the opening nine with a double bogey on the lengthy par 4, the toughest on the 6,800-yard track.
A bogey on 11 didn’t help either.
All in all, it was not a bad week for the 17-year-old St. Patrick High School student. Although he didn’t get the win on Monday, his first time in contention in a local major, he did capture the district junior title a few days earlier, earning him a berth in next year’s provincial junior championship.
The Amateur was a great experience, said Kirk, who took up the game 11 years ago at the tender age of six.
“It was good. I was playing good coming into this and started well. It was my first time in one of these contending. I made it to the last group and I was happy. I had it within one, I was right there, but Joe played too solid. I just couldn’t catch him.”
Colin Sobey shot a one-over 73 to finish solo third at 220, one shot ahead of Robert Cumming and two better than Dave Joubert and Jordan Potter, who rounded out the top five.
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