Devenport Pulls One Out of Hat to Win TELUS


Canadian Tour-LargeIn his spare time, when he is away from the golf course, New Zealands Paul Devenport likes to practice magic. But on Sunday, he pulled off his biggest trick during the final round of the Canadian Tour/Quebec PGA TELUS Open.
The 35-year old Devenport drained a near-impossible 84-foot eagle putt on the 18th hole for a final round 5-under-par 67 and then outlasted Ken Duke (Boca Raton, Fla.) on the second playoff hole to capture his second title of the season. Both Devenport and Duke wound up the event at 19-under, two shots better than Doug LaBelle (Mt. Pleasant, Minn.). Mikkel Reese of Chandler, Ariz. finished three back, while Craig Matthew (Ile Bizard, QC) was the top Canadian at 13-under.
With the win, Devenport picked up a $32,000 cheque and moved into second spot on the McDonalds Order of Merit with $68,432, less than $3,000 behind leader Aaron Barber (Orlando, Fla.).
After a bogey on the 16th hole, Devenport trailed Duke, who was playing in the group behind, by three shots and had essentially resigned himself to battling LaBelle for second spot. But following Dukes own bogey on No. 17, Devenport stood a long-distance putt away from a tie.
That was quite a trick, probably the best one I have ever done, he said of the putt that had to climb a hill and curl twice to get to the hole. Actually, it was more like a miracle. I couldnt see it from where I was, but as soon as the ball started to turn, I heard the crowd begin to make noise and then I saw Kim (caddy/girlfriend Demacedo) jumping up and down.
Duke missed a 12-foot eagle putt on the final hole that would have won it and, after both players made par the first playoff hole, Devenport drained a 35-footer for birdie while Duke bogied.
Heading into the playoff, which just minutes earlier had seemed so unlikely, Devenport admitted he was oddly relaxed.
You have nothing to lose on an extra hole, you know you will wind up first or second. You play well or you lose - its that simple. Incredible things can happen when you are under pressure, but it also takes a lot of luck. I fully expected Ken to make birdie on 18 and win.
Duke, meanwhile, who led from Friday right through Sunday, couldnt repeat the heroics he displayed all week over the final holes. Through the first three rounds, the 32-year-old had played the back nine at 15-under par.
Paul makes a great putt like that, and thats golf, reasoned the 1999 McDonalds Order of Merit champion, who collected $19,200 Sunday. If anything, I guess I can look back and say I wish I had a bigger lead. I couldnt believe he made that putt. I was behind him and heard the crowd roar and saw Paul raise his arms.'
The TELUS Open was co-sanctioned by both the Canadian Tour and the Quebec PGA and featured a starting field of 90 Canadian Tour players, 70 QPGA professionals and eight others who qualified Monday. Of the 70 who survived the cut, 66 were Tour members. Marc Girouard was the top QPGA finisher, winding up in a tie for 35th spot.
Full-field scores from the TELUS Open