June 26, 2009
Steady Stu starts solidAlbertan with PGA dream enjoys share of lead
By TODD SAELHOF, SUN MEDIA
One day, Stuart Anderson expects to be on the PGA Tour -- or, at least, the Nationwide Tour.
Given the Calgary native's steady play of late, including yesterday's first round of the $150,000 ATB Financial Classic at Sirocco Golf Club, a jump up from the Canadian Tour could soon be in order.
"I know I'm one of the Top 10 players on the tour," Anderson said after an opening-round 5-under 67 gave him a share of the lead at the CanTour event just south of Calgary.
"Obviously, I feel I can be on the PGA Tour or the Nationwide Tour -- it's just a matter of playing well enough at the right time."
The 31-year-old circuit veteran has played well enough through a half dozen events to sit sixth on the 2009 CanTour money list with $20,747.
Success this season has come at the Argentine Masters, where Anderson finished in a tie for fifth, and at the Mexican PGA Championship, where he shared fourth-place payouts.
More confidence came his way just days before the ATB Financial Classic in a Vancouver-area tour event, where he won a 36-hole tournament -- with help from a course-record 63 -- on a 12-ft. final putt over fellow CanTour star Bryn Parry.
"You play in a two-day event like that and it gives you confidence," Anderson said.
"So this (first-round here) doesn't come as a surprise."
He hasn't always been Steady Stu. Last year, Anderson managed to pocket just $10,822 over 14 CanTour events.
In fact, since finishing with fifth-best money totaling $46,247 in 2005, his earnings have dropped annually.
The Albertan credits the turnaround this year to a radical change in residency -- he's now based out of Victoria, where his fiancee Crystol is from -- and much-needed sponsorship funding from Guthrie Mechanical in Fort McMurray.
The fact his fiancee is closer to family to help care for his nine-year-old step-daughter, Trinity, and his two-year-old daughter, Coral, and he can make ends meet a little easier in the money department, has relieved a ton of stress from the big man's shoulders.
"I'm living my dream," said the 230-lb. Anderson.
"I know I'm on the Canadian Tour, but I'm loving what I'm doing. You've just got to stay in the moment."
Anderson was in the moment -- and in the zone -- yesterday at Sirocco to grab the co-lead with tour money leader Mauricio Molina of Argentina ($47,508), Tom Stankowski of La Quinta, Calif., and Garrett Frank of Youngstown, Ohio.
A hot start on the back nine gave him the early lift.
"It was nice to get a good start on No. 10," said Anderson of the uphill, 382-yard par-4 that kicked off his round.
"When we teed it up, the wind was howling, and we needed a full-on drive to get it over the hazard and onto the fairway (to the 150-yard marker).
"I got in for par and then had three birdies in a row after that. It's a nine when you have to be really patient and accept par."
Calgary's Ryan Yip, who won the Alberta Open last month at Cottonwood, and Jordan Irwin are each three strokes off the pace after firing 2-under 70s yesterday.
Lethbridge's Mike Mezei and Calgary's Wes Heffernan are four shots off the pace heading into today's second round, while 2007 ATB Financial Classic champ Mike Grob joins local Todd Halpen and Lethbridge's Kris Wasylowich at even-par.