Cambridge golfer nabs spot in Canadian Open
Mark Bryson, The Record
July 23, 2012
ALBERTON, ONT. — American Jim Furyk lifted the championship trophy but it was Victor Ciesielski who stole the show.
The outgoing Cambridge golfer who made a name for himself at the 2006 Canadian Open has a chance to replicate the magic at the 2012 edition after finishing in a tie for third in qualifying event at Heron Point Golf Links on Monday. His tidy 2-under 69 that included three birdies and one bogey was good enough to earn one of four available spots in the tournament that starts on Thursday at the Hamilton Golf and Country Club, the same location as the 2006 tourney.
“I’m thrilled, obviously. I have so many great memories from there that I’ve probably forgotten most of them,” the 27-year-old Ciesielski laughed. “I’m really excited to see how the golf course has changed and to see how I play it this time. I’m looking forward to bringing out my old yardage book when I get home tonight and having a look.”
Ciesielski was in the mix for three rounds six years ago before struggling on Sunday and finishing well down the leader board. He recorded a hole-in-one during his Friday round and was followed by a raucous group of supporters that made “Big Vic” the talk of the tournament.
David Markle of Shelburne, Ont., carded a 66 to top the field of 52 golfers at Monday’s qualifier. He’ll be making his first Canadian Open appearance. Jon Mills of Belleville shot a 68 to finish second and will be making his ninth appearance.
Ben Ferguson of Ancaster tied with Ciesielski to take the final spot.
Garrett Rank, an amateur player from Elmira, was just one shot behind Ciesielski and Ferguson, while Waterloo’s Ben Moser shot 80 and Cambridge’s Mark Wilson shot 82. All four golfers from the local contingent play out of Whistle Bear.
Ciesielski posted his score and then had to wait more than 90 minutes to see if it would stand, something he didn’t think would happen. There were still 18 golfers on the course when he signed his card, but only Markle came in with a lower number.
“I’ve been chipping and putting and getting ready for a playoff that I honestly thought wouldn’t happen because I didn’t think my score was going to be good enough. I’ve been going back on my round and thinking about things I could have done different, so it’s a huge relief to know that I’m in,” he said.
His strong play wasn’t the only thing that made Ciesielski a standout in 2006. There were also the slacks, those loud, checkered slacks that some might call garish.
Ciesielski, who wore slacks with pink pinstripes on Monday, has since teamed up with Sligo Wear Golf Clothing and promises to look good on Thursday and Friday.
“I will talk to Shawn Aucoin (director of sales and marketing) and I’m sure he’ll hook me up with something nice to wear,” said Ciesielski, who also played at the 2007 Canadian Open, failing to make the cut at Angus Glen.
Rank came in two groups before Ciesielski and waited for 40 minutes before Markle’s score ended his hopes of making his first Canadian Open appearance. He was one of only six golfers to shoot under par.
“It sucks to know that you don’t get to play but I played well today and gave myself a chance but unfortunately it wasn’t enough,” said Rank, who’ll be back on the road Tuesday for a U.S. amateur qualifying event.
The former University of Waterloo standout has had a hectic schedule as of late, which included the Porter Cup in Niagara Falls, N.Y. That tournament ended on Sunday and Rank headed to Heron Point for a practice round later in the day.
The Team Canada player will compete in the Western amateur next week, the Canadian amateur the following week and then, he hopes, the U.S. amateur the week after that.
Moser’s attempt at qualifying was over early as he hit two balls out of play on the first tee and wound up taking an eight on the par-4 hole. He scored a double-bogey five two holes later to seal his fate.
“It’s very tough to come back from an eight on the first hole when you know you’ll need four- or five-under to have a chance,” he said.
Wilson also fired an eight on his first hole, a score that included a two-stroke penalty for missing his tee time. He was “certain” that he had an 8:40 start time, but his group was scheduled to play at 8:20. Officials found him on the driving range and informed him that he was late.
He was clearly disappointed following the round, but managed to smile when he shared the experience.
“I was so well prepared. I spent an hour washing my clubs and getting my bags ready . . . and the game was in such good shape. And then someone comes along and tells you that you missed your tee time. It was like the guy drove into me with a transport,” said Wilson, who played in the 1996 Canadian Open at Glen Abbey.
Before heading off for a post-round beverage, Wilson vowed that this wouldn’t be his last time at a Canadian Open qualifier.
“If we don’t get the solar flare and the world doesn’t end in December, I’ll come back and try again,” he said.