Barber Takes Honors in Emotional TELUS Open


On what was likely the most emotional day in Canadian Tour history, Aaron Barber of Orlando, Fla. didnt need to say a lot Sunday following his victory at the TELUS Edmonton Open.
The look in his eyes spoke volumes.
Barber carded a 6-under'par 65 Sunday for a four-day total of 264 and a two shot win over Casey Brown (Ft. Smith, Ariz.). Mark Slawter (Raleigh, N.C.) finished three shots off the pace, while Jason Bohn (Atlanta, Ga.), playing with Barber and Brown in the final grouping of the day, finished tied for fourth with top Canadian Doug McGuigan (Langley, BC).
Teeing it up for the final round just hours after the sudden death of Zimbabwes Lewis Chitengwa, Barber capped off his second win of the season by draining a 20-foot putt on the final hole.
Chitengwa, a budding star who joined the Tour in February, died at the University of Alberta Hospital Saturday of an unknown illness. An autopsy is expected to be conducted Tuesday.
With a message reading Godspeed Lewis posted on all the leaderboards throughout the course, Barber, tears welling in his eyes following the win, admitted that seeing the words put things into perspective.
You look at the top if the leaderboard and see your name, and then you see Lewis beside it, and it doesnt really matter where you finish,' admitted Barber, who increased his lead on the McDonalds Order of Merit, with $66,119 in winnings this year. It was just golf today, nothing more.
After building up a seemingly insurmountable three shot lead with just two holes to play, Barber struggled to a bogey on the par-4 17th, while Brown birdied to pull to within one. But Barber, who also captured the Barefoot Classic in Myrtle Beach, SC earlier this year, left no doubt as to the outcome when he nailed his second shot on the par-4 final hole to within 20 feet before sinking the winning putt.
I had it going all week long, and I started to get myself in a little trouble there near the end, he said. But sinking that putt was a good thing for my career. Now I know I can make it with a tournament on the line.
A brief tribute was held Sunday following the tournament, where the TELUS Edmonton Open trophy was officially renamed in Chitengwas memory. Alan Rae, a long-time friend and who co-sponsored the three-time Zimbabwe amateur champion along with Nick Price, choked back tears as he spoke about his protg.
Lewis loved the Canadian Tour and had nothing but good things to say about playing here. He was a fine Christian young man with all the right values, and he cherished the opportunity the Canadian Tour gave him.
Plans are underway to set up a memorial fund in Chitengwas memory.
Full-field scores from the TELUS Edmonton Open