Billy Walsh wins PGA of Ontario Assistants Championship for fifth time

STEVENSVILLE, ON: On Tuesday, Billy Walsh held off a charging field for a two shot margin over defending Champion Victor Ciesielski (Galt Country Club) and Mathew Iceton (Angus Glen Golf Club) to capture the PGA of Ontario Assistants Championship. A total of 52 players competed at Niagara National Golf & Country Club.

Brad Kerfoot (Maple Downs Golf Club) finished in third place coming in at one under par. Kerfoot has come close with four straight top five finishes in this tournament.

The golfers were faced with unpleasant conditions on Day 1 with heavy rain and wind gusts up to 40km per hour, but Walsh held his own carding 71. He had 3 birdies on the back nine heading into the final round and was two strokes behind the leader James Seymour (Gord Burns Golf School) who finished with a 69 – 3 under par. Seymour finished the tournament one over par after shooting a 76 on Day 2.

On Tuesday, the golfers saw much cooler conditions and with no rain in the forecast, it made for decent scoring conditions.

Walsh took advantage, making four birdies carding a 69 to hold off Ciesielski (who shot a low round 68) for the win. Ciesielski, who was looking to repeat as Champion made a charge on the front-nine dropping four birdies and five pars on his way to a low score of 32 but he finished just short of the title.

“It feels great, I’ve been playing well all year and I haven’t been able to get into the winners circle but to be able to finish one off is very gratifying”, said Walsh, now a five-time winner of the prestigious event, winning the Assistants’ title previously in 2018 at Flamborough Hills Golf Club and also in 2008, 2012 and 2016.

What’s his secret to success?

“Staying an Assistant so long!”, said Walsh jokingly.

He attributed his results to his love affair and passion for the game.

“I work hard at my game, I love golf, I love practicing, I love playing, I love teaching, I love everything about it”, said the gleaming Champion. “I’ve struck a nice balance now, I got another year and a half until I’m 50 and I’m looking forward to another chapter in my career.”

Tom Vanderlip, GM at Niagara National Golf and Country was ecstatic to see Billy win and host the tournament at the club.

“We were thrilled to have it here. Most people don’t realize this is a long standing tournament, it goes back to Moe Norman winning it in 1958,” said Vanderlip.

In fact, our first winner of the tournament dates back to Peter Hildrop capturing the inaugural title in 1954.

“I was happy to see Billy Walsh win but it was also great to see some younger guys I have not seen play in this event. It was very rewarding for us”, added Vanderlip.

“Tom has been a supporter of the PGA of Ontario and our events for quite some time at multiple courses throughout his career,” said Michael Moniz, President of the PGA of Ontario and starter of the two day tournament. “I know there are some big plans for this place in the future and hopefully we can keep coming back and watching it grow”, he added.

 

“We’ve introduced a lot of new bunkers, a new irrigation system. Our goal is to get better everyday and to have the PGA of Ontario here to have some eyeballs on the course was great to see,” said Vanderlip.

“It’s a work in progress but the long term plans here are very exciting”.

Walsh agreed.

“There’s a lot of good strategic holes off the tee”, said the Champion. “You could have played it aggressively if you want or gear it back to play it safe but you would have a tougher shot to the green. The Par 3’s were incredibly tough with the weather conditions!”, said Walsh.

Walsh added that he really enjoyed it and hopefully the Association can come back next year.

Full tournament results can be found HERE.

Fairways Magazine

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