THUNDER BAY - Colin Sobey defended his title at the Teleco District Amateur on Monday.
After finishing with 2-over 74 at Whitewater Golf Course, Sobey beat out Ryan Pietila by four strokes, after coming into the final round playing three behind.
“It was a battle,” Sobey said following a lengthy birdie putt on the 18th hole to seal the victory.
“The greens ran really fast, the pin placements were challenging. For me it was just a matter of slowing the game down and keeping it conservative.”
The move paid off.
Sobey said he only hit three shots with his driver on the entire day. While there were a few times he wished he would have been more aggressive, it was Sobey who saved par on the 16th and 17th hole, while Pietila bogeyed both to fall into an even deeper hole.
After coming into the day with the lead, shooting a 69 and 70 in each of the first two rounds, Pietila struggled on Monday, finishing nine strokes over par.
“I was really inconsistent, especially my short game. The pins were tough, you miss a putt and you’ve got another four-footer to focus on,” Pietila said. “Credit to Colin, he’s a phenomenal player and it was hard to keep up with him hitting the greens all day.”
Sobey and Pietila may have had to think twice after hitting a bad shot and letting out a curse word, as 15-year-old Jack Moro qualified to play in the final pairing on Monday.
The youngster will be attending his first day of tenth grade later this week, but he showed the composure of a veteran golfer over the weekend, firing a 72 and 73 on the first two days.
Moro was very much in contention on Monday after shooting a 36 on the front nine to place himself just three strokes back of Sobey.
However, a difficult green on the 12th hole gave Moro trouble, and he double-bogeyed.
Moro still finished with a solid 6-over 78, the third best score of the day.
“I’m happy with my performance. I left a lot of shots out there, but I have a lot to learn from and improve from.”
The defending champion said he offered some advice to Moro before he got started.
“He told me he was a little nervous and I said, ‘Hey listen, pretend you’re out on the course with your friends. Me and Ryan (Pietila) are just regular golfers.’ Sure enough, he hit his first drive right down the middle and birdied the hole.”
Luckily for Sobey, the advice didn’t work against him. Playing with a comfortable lead on the 18th, Sobey’s approach shot put him in the position to knock down a 15-footer to seal it.
It was the first tournament Colin won in front of his son, Beckett.
“He just turned one on the 20th, so he’ll get to climb around on the trophy this time around.”