Cody Bailey and his golfing buddy Blair Scott were so accurate taking shots at the pins at Prince George Golf and Curling Club, it was like they were aiming darts at the bullseye.
One that was as much as 500 yards away.
Just when it seemed one was about to take advantage of a beautiful shot, the other would land his ball in the same sweet proximity.
Tied at 66 after the opening round Saturday at the Simon Fraser Men's Open, Bailey built a two-stroke advantage by the time they teed off on the Par 5 No. 16. Bailey's drive ended up 300 yards down the middle of the fairway, while Scott put his in the thick rough to the right with a tree blocking his path to the green and a water hazard beckoning.
The 18-year-old Bailey, recharged after playing the previous week in the Canadian junior boys championship in Hartland, N.B., used the opportunity to turn up the heat on Scott, his golf instructor, the teaching pro at PGGCC.
With his second shot, Bailey ended up just seven feet from the hole but Blair blasted a four-iron shot that place his ball in the same vicinity, about 10 feet away. Scott just missed his eagle attempt but Bailey stroked his slightly downhill putt perfectly to get down in three and increase his lead.
Leading by three, Bailey finished up with birdies on 17 and 18 and won the 83-player tournament by five strokes over Scott. Bailey equaled his 66 round on Saturday for a 10-under 132 total, while Scott went 66-71--137.
"The eagle on 16 I think really put it away, Blair just hit the lip," said Bailey. "That eagle putt he missed on 16, I put it in right after that and I knew after that I was hot and he was on his heels a bit."
Kevin Botham finished up with a scintillating round of 68 on Sunday, after shooting 73 on Saturday and finished third at 141, nine strokes off the pace. Rounding out the top five were Will Gilbert (70-72-142) and Tyler Johnson (70-72-142).
Dave Venman of Kitimat was the final foursome after shooting a 69 Saturday but tailed off with a final round of 73 for a 145 total. Two-time defending champion Trevor Metcalf of Vanderhoof was suffering from a back ailment and ended up seventh overall (76-70--146).
Venman had one of the nicest shots of the day on the Par 4 No. 17. The pin was placed at the far edge of the green down a slope and Venman left his second shot six inches from the cup. Not to be outdone, Bailey followed up by getting his approach even closer, five inches away, on the opposite side of the cup. They both tapped in for birdie.
Bailey's proud father Allan was on the course watching and took a photo of the two balls left within easy striking distance of the hole and quipped: "I taught him everything he knows."
Scott left his approach on 17 well short, 30 feet from the pin and three-putted for bogey, which sealed it for Bailey. He'd found a way to top his teacher.
"Walking up on 18 we were just talking about how much fun the weekend's been playing together and shooting low numbers," said Bailey. "It was definitely down to the wire with me and Blair and probably the funnest tournament I've played this year.
"I've been struggling a lot, probably the last three weeks. I couldn't hit the ball straight and my putts were missing on both sides. On Friday I went out and shot a good round and me and Blair were probably on the green for two hours Friday night working on stuff and having putting contests just to get ready for the weekend. Obviously it turned out good."
After a busy summer on the junior tour, it was Bailey's last round of tournament golf before the Terrace native heads to Abbotsford to begin his studies in criminal justice at the University of Fraser Valley as part of the school's golf team. Bailey has won the Junior Simon Fraser Open the past three years and he's always wanted to win the club's most prestigious tournament. Now he's got both titles in the bag in the same year.
"Next Saturday I'm moving down to go to school and I don't think this could have been any better to give me some confidence and be ready down there," he said.
Scott started working with Bailey in 2017, a year after he earned his tour card, and they've been thick as thieves on the course ever since. They celebrated Bailey's win Sunday by playing another round together. Scott started out Sunday's tournament round with a par and bogie and found himself trailing Bailey by two, but got back on even terms on No. 3 when he parred the hole and Bailey doubled. At one point they were both three-over par but they overcame that in a hurry to finish on a roll.
"I'm really happy for him, he was just so clutch, that was really impressive," said Scott, 22. "Anything I would try to do he would just come back and hit a better shot. He was making those clutch putts and that was a lot to handle. It makes me really proud because him and I worked together quite a bit.
"I felt like I was pushing him quite a bit. I hit some clutch shots too, coming down the stretch."
None better than his hit out of the rough on 16.
"That was a tough shot, I thought I hit a perfect drive but it got caught up in the rough and I had to hit a big slice around that tree," said Scott, now a two-time runner-up in the Simon. " I had to hit the green there and that felt really good. I almost made the putt too."
Scott, who played a year of college golf in Phoenix, Ariz., plans to pull up stakes and head south for the winter to take advantage of the year-round golf season.
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