Canadian Riley Wheeldon wins Kandy Waters Memorial Classic

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Slow and steady won the Kandy Waters Memorial Classic on the firm and fast greens of Mount Vintage Plantation Golf Club on Sunday.

Canadian Riley Wheeldon beat Patton Kizzire and Brian Richey by one stroke in a wind-fueled, frost-delayed tournament.

Wheeldon recorded three consecutive rounds of 2-under-par 70, including a bogey-free 33 on the back nine Sunday, to hold off the field, earning a $30,500 check.

“I got off to a shaky start,” Wheeldon said. “The last couple months, the final round hasn’t gone my way. But I stayed patient this time.”

With the win, Wheeldon, a native of British Columbia, recorded his first NGA Tour win in his first tournament at Mount Vintage.

Wheeldon came to the 18th tee with a one-stroke lead over Kizzire and Richey. After hooking his approach shot short and left of the green, Wheeldon chipped to within 4 feet of the hole. He drained the putt for the win.

“I felt the pressure of the situation on that (approach) shot and left myself more work than I wanted,” he said. “I calmed down and finished, though. It felt good.”

Richey, playing in the next-to-last group with Kizzire, made a birdie putt outside 5 feet on the 18th hole to take a share of second place. Richey, from Lakeland, Fla., shot 71 in the final round, while Kizzire had 70.

This year’s tournament featured higher scores as a result of what players called firmer and faster greens.

The players battled high winds throughout, as well as early-morning frost in the first two rounds that caused delays.

Last year’s winner, Robby Ormand, carded a four-round total of 267. Wheeldon finished at 284.

“The greens were firm and fast,” said Kizzire, a native of St. Simons Island, Ga., who finished 13th in 2012. “Last year, the pin locations didn’t matter much, because you could get around the hole. But they were different this year. The wind didn’t help, either.”

Brent Long, who entered Sunday with a one-stroke lead, finished tied for fourth after a final-round 75. Chris Erwin had the low round of the day at 68 to tie with Long. Justin Lower shot 74 to fall to fourth after entering the day in second.

Former Augusta State golfer Wallace Booth finished tied for eighth at 289 after a final-round 70.


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