Man of Steel Wins in Vancouver


Canadian Tour-LargePITT MEADOWS, BC -- Iain Steel of Malaysia drained a 30-foot birdie putt on the first playoff hole Sunday to win the Greater Vancouver Classic presented by TELUS.
The 31-year-old carded a course record-tying 64 at Swan-e-set Bay Resort to finish tied with Floridian KenDuke at 16-under 272 through 72 holes. Darren Griff, Aaron Barber and Mike Grob wound up tied for third at 12-under 276. Jason Bohn, Eddie Maunder and Michael Kirk were five strokes back.
It was the second consecutive year that the Vancouver event went into extra holes. In 2001, Steve Scott held off five others in a marathon six-hole playoff.
Sitting tied with Duke on the par-4 final hole, Steel, hitting his third shot from a greenside bunker, holed out for birdie to take over top spot. Duke, playing in the final group of the day, birdied the 16th to pull even, but missed a 5-footer on 17 that would have given him the outright lead.
The skies opened just before the playoff began and the extra hole was played in a steady downpour. Steel stuck it to within 30 feet with his approach while Duke flew the green, before Steel dropped the winning putt. Duke then needed to hole out to extend the playoff to a second hole, but his attempt rolled past the hole.
As soon as the ball came off the face of the putter, I knew it had a chance, said Steel of the putt. Even when it dropped, I thought I had won. But this is pro golf, and I knew Ken had been playing well and anything could happen.
Steel, who will leave Wednesday to play in the British Open, began his comeback on the par-5 14th with an eagle from 92 yards out. He then birdied 17 before his final-hole heroics to force the playoff.
Coming off a 3-over 75 Saturday, Steel was at a loss to explain his four-day rounds of 66-67-75-64.
You tell me - if you have the answer, let me know, he joked when asked of the 11-shot swing on the weekend. Thats just the way golf is. Saturday was moving day, and I went the wrong way.
Since winning the Shell Payless Open and Bayer Championship in 1999, Duke has experienced nothing but near misses, particularly in the past year. Earlier this season, he saw a two-shot lead evaporate over the final few holes at the Scottsdale Swing at Eagle Mountain. At the 2001 TELUS Open in Quebec, Duke could only watch as Paul Devenport of New Zealand sank an 84-foot eagle putt on the final hole before defeating Duke in a playoff.
Ive been here far too many times, its turned into a running joke with my best friend in Arkansas, said a frustrated Duke. Wait until he reads this one. But I had a chance for a birdie on 17 and I missed. Thats the bottom line - I had a chance.
Griff, who has admittedly struggled for most of the year, may have turned the corner Sunday with his best Canadian showing. Still, the 30-year-old has his sights set on a Tour triumph before the year is out.
Its always something special to finish as the top Canadian, but Id like to finish the as the low international player for once, he reasoned. That way, you know youve beaten the American guys and probably won the tournament.
Just two weeks after winning the Ontario Open Heritage Classic in Huntsville, ON, Grob closed out with out with a course-record 64 Sunday, including six birdies in a row out of the gate.
With that start, I was trying to stay at an even keel, keep calm and just let things happen, said Grob, who spent the last three years on the Buy.Com Tour. Ive been hitting the ball well, and Ive been able to feed off that win.
Full-field scores from the Greater Vancouver Classic