Maysville, Kentucky’s Mark Blakefield shot a final round 6-under 65 on Sunday at Hylands Golf Club to win the National Capital Open to Support Our Troops, his first Mackenzie Tour – PGA TOUR Canada victory.
The 35-year old took control of the tournament with birdies on seven of eight holes in the middle of his round, then converted tricky up-and-downs for par on the final two holes to win by two over Dallas, Texas’ Kramer Hickok.
“You get gotta get it done, one way or another. Winning’s never easy, and hardly ever do you just get a walk in the park to the 18th green. Sometimes you have to come up with something when you need it,” said Blakefield, who finished at 20-under for the week.
Starting the day one stroke back of 54-hole leader Charlie Danielson, Blakefield started slowly but quickly picked up the pace with birdies on holes No. 5-9, eventually reaching 20-under with three more birdies on the back nine.
With the tournament firmly in his grasp and the tough, into-the-wind par-4 17th and 18th holes left, the University of Kentucky grad converted a sand save from the greenside bunker on the penultimate hole and a tricky up-and-down from left of the green at 18 to secure the title.
“Obviously it was a great week and I played great, but the one thing was that I threw a few shots away with some bad up-and-downs that I didn’t get. To get those two on the last two holes was fantastic, especially to make those two putts when I needed them,” said Blakefield.
The win comes at a special time for Blakefield and his fiancée, professional golfer and former Big Break champion Bri Vega, who has caddied for her future husband at six events this year, including this week.
“It’s funny, she tried to stay so calm, but I could just see right through it and knew she was a nervous wreck just like I am,” said Blakefield with a laugh, adding that her perspective as a player was a valuable asset this week. “Sometimes, even if you know what a putt does, it’s nice to hear it from somebody else who says the same thing.”
Hickok, who could have forced a playoff with a miracle eagle at 18, settled for par and managed a 4-under 67 to finish in solo second, moving into first place on the Order of Merit. Blakefield’s win moved him into the seventh spot with three events remaining in the 2017 season.
On PGA Tour Latin America….
The fall swing of the 2017 PGA Tour Latin America kicked off in Paraguay over the weekend for the Abierto del Paraguay-COPA NEC event in Ascuncion, Paraguay. Brian Richey had a great week with a 5th place finish in extremely difficult, cold and windy conditions. The Latin American Tour is back in action August 31 thru September 3rd for the Flor de Cana Open in Tola, Nicaragua.