THUNDER BAY – Colin Sobey had plenty of thoughts racing through his head on Monday afternoon.
First and foremost were his new son Beckett, born just two weeks ago, and his girlfriend Kayla Nordin, who encouraged the 35-year-old Nipigon-born golfer to enter this weekend’s Teleco District Amateur, the final major on the Thunder Bay golfing calendar.
After a brilliant 4-under 68 in Round 2 on Sunday at Strathcona Golf Course, Sobey emerged from the second flight to hit the final round with a two-shot lead over a pair of seasoned veterans, Robert Cumming and three-time tournament champion Barry Caland.
Sobey fired a one-under 35 on the front nine at Whitewater Golf Club to take a commanding lead into the turn, but nearly fell apart on the back nine, taking a near-disastrous quintuple bogey on the par 5 12th, hitting two tee shots into the woods and taking three to escape the trees.
He said he didn’t let the bad thoughts take control of his game.
Sobey rebounded with a steady three on the par 3 13th and was 1-under over the course of his final hole to claim a three-shot win over Caland, Jeff Hunter and Hank Wilkie.
It was an emotional day, Sobey said after dropping a par putt on 18 to seal the victory, his first since his home course club championship in Nipigon when he was 18.
“It’s been a very long time. This victory means a lot. It’s my first one in Thunder Bay. I’m really high on emotions right now because it’s been a pretty good two weeks. We just had a baby last Monday, he’s two weeks old today. My first victory comes for him,” he said.
“When I got here, playing with two guys like Robert Cumming and Barry Caland, you’re going to grip the clubs a bit harder, because obviously everybody in Thunder Bay knows those guys. Coming down the stretch they did nothing but encourage me.”
Sobey said he was between clubs on 12th, the adrenalin carrying his hybrid-hit ball into the trees.
All he wanted to do was get the ball in play, leading by six shots at the time.
“I pulled it a bit to the left and got the most wicked bounce you could think of off the cart path. We couldn’t find it, so I went three off the tee and ended up doing the same thing almost and it took me three shots to get out of there. I just scrambled out a 10.”
Sobey bounced back with a par on 13 and played safe golf the rest of the way home, the lone golfer to finish the three-day, three-course event under par, coming in at 1-under 214.
Caland struggled on the two par 5s on the opening nine, carding double bogeys on No. 3 and No. 7, though he did eagle the par 4 14th, driving the green and sinking the putt. He finished 4-over 76 on the day.
Hunter, who started the day four back of Sobey’s lead, just couldn’t get it going, recording a 2-over 74 on the day to grab a share of second.
“I don’t think any of us gave (Colin) a hard time today,” Hunter said. “You had to go out and get a lot birdies and get something in the 60s and nobody did.”
The victory earns Sobey a spot in next summer’s Ontario Men’s Amateur Golf Championship.