It's Back-To-Back For Zach At Canadian Men's Amateur

Virginia Native Zach Bauchou Beat Florida’s Philip Knowles By Three Shots To Win His Second Consecutive Canadian Men's Amateur Title - Image Credit Golf Canada

By Brad Ziemer, British Columbia Golf

DUNCAN -- The Canadian Men’s Amateur Championship is no longer decided via match play, but apparently no one told Zach Bauchou and Philip Knowles.

There were 69 other competitors on the course, but right from the start of Thursday’s final round at Duncan Meadows Golf Course it was Bauchou versus Knowles. Everyone else, it seemed, was playing for third place. Bauchou ultimately prevailed and became the 13th player to win back to back Canadian Amateur titles. 

“I think the feelings are a lot different for me this year because last year I kind of came up here to try and get into the U.S. Amateur and I felt a lot of pressure to win coming down the stretch,” said the 22-year-old Bauchou. “Today I was kind of playing to defend and I was a lot less nervous today than I was last year.”

The 22-year-old Forest, Va., native, who is heading into his senior year with the NCAA champion Oklahoma State University Cowboys, closed with a five-under 66 to finish at 18-under par. That was three shots better than Knowles, a Jacksonville, Fla., native who is about to start his senior year at the University of North Florida. It was a lot closer than that for most of Thursday’s final round.

Bauchou started the day with a two-shot lead, but Knowles had pulled even with him after four holes. The turning point came on the par 4 15th hole, where Knowles, one down at the time, stuck his approach shot seven feet right of the hole. Bauchou, meanwhile, was facing a tough 20-foot downhill putt.

It looked like Knowles had a great opportunity to pull even. But Bauchou rolled in his putt and Knowles proceeded to three-putt from short range. Suddenly, Bauchou was three-up with three holes to play. “That’s a dagger,” Knowles said. “I hit a good shot and Zach didn’t have an easy putt. It was very three-puttable, if you were careless, and he rolled it in. Then your back is up against the wall. I just hit my putt a fraction too hard, it caught the high lip and obviously I was a little careless coming back and caught the low lip. Just like that you go from maybe being all square and you walk off the green three down with three to play.”

Bauchou called his putt on 15 his biggest shot of the day. He had three-putted the previous hole for his only bogey of the day. “I think the putt on 15 was definitely the most important putt for me,” he said. “Things were looking close and he had just holed a good bogey putt on the last hole of about 12 feet and I was like, okay, I really need to make this putt. That was definitely the one I felt a lot of pressure to make and it was really nice to have it go in.”

image credit Brad Ziemer/BC Golf

Coquitlam, BC's Henry Lee Tied For Ninth After A Final Round 5-under 66 At Duncan Meadows

Bauchou led from start to finish this week and becomes the first player to win back back Canadian Amateurs since Mackenzie Hughes, now a PGA TOUR regular, did it in 2011 and 2012. “It’s truly an honour to be a back to back champion at the Canadian Am,” Bauchou said. “Words can’t really express how much it means to me to come up here and defend and play as well as I did. It really is an honour to win this tournament again.”

Three-time Canadian Mid-Amateur Champion Garrett Rank of Elmira, Ont., was the top Canadian. Rank finished alone in third at 13-under par after shooting a six-under 65 on Thursday. It is the second close call for Rank at the Canadian Amateur. He finished second in 2015 at a tournament he very much wants to win one day. “Absolutely, you’d like to add it on the resume,’ said Rank, who is a National Hockey League referee.

“Without sounding arrogant, I think I have won a lot of the other championships they (Golf Canada) have so it would be nice at one point to get one of these, for sure.“I am happy with how I played this week. I didn’t have a great first day (a three-over 74), but the last three days were really solid.”

Rank and Bauchou are now both off to Pebble Beach Golf Links in Monterey, Calif., for next week’s U.S. Amateur Championship.

Thirteen British Columbians survived the cut this week. Coquitlam’s Henry Lee was the low B.C. player and had the second lowest score among Canadians. He shot a five-under bogey-free 66 Thursday and finished tied for ninth place at six-under par. “I finally got things to click today,” said Lee. “My putting finally came together today. I struggled the first three days with speed. It was nice to see everything click for the final round. And it’s nice to go off bogey-free.”

Lee, a graduate of Gleneagle High School in Coquitlam, is heading into his junior year at the University of Washington. “There are lots of positives I think I can take from this week,” Lee said. “I hit the ball great this week, but just did not capitalize on my chances. I feel like my game is in pretty good shape and I am looking forward to my school year and trying and tear it up there.”

Click HERE for complete final scoring from the Canadian Men's Amateur.

CHIP SHOTS: Bauchou is the 22nd American to win the Canadian Amateur in its 114-year-history. . . Smithers native Kaleb Gorbahn, who played in the final group with Bauchou and Knowles, had a tough final round. He shot a seven-over 79 and finished tied for 33rd place at even-par. . .The Canadian Mid-Amateur Championship, for players 25 and older, goes Aug. 21-24 at Victoria Golf Club. Rank is in the field for that event.