Skinner sinks Vallely

ROBERT TYCHKOWSKI -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 7:53 AM ET

You'd have to rent a Ben Affleck box set to see more bombs.

Thirty-five feet for birdie on 12. Another 45 feet or so for birdie on 17. And at least that long again for an eagle on 18.

And before you could say Gigli, Jersey Girl and Surviving Christmas, Tom Skinner was the 2005 Edmonton Amateur Golf Champion.

"That was amazing, absolutely incredible, a nice way to finish," said Skinner, whose 69-69-68-206 total gave him his second city amateur title in three years.

"I had a dream Saturday night that I made a couple of 50-footers. I went to bed about 10 p.m., and said I think I can make a couple of 50 footers. I haven't made any all week, I think I'm due.

"I'd been really tentative on the front nine with my putts and on the back nine when the putts have to go in, I just get more comfortable and let them go. My lines are good and they're going in. I got lucky today, made two nice long ones at the end."

TOUGH DAY

How'd you like to be Ryan Vallely?

He's tied for the lead with two holes left, pars 17, birdies 18 and loses by two strokes.

"Nothing you can do when a guy makes 100-feet worth of putts in the last two holes," shrugged the 22-year-old from Medicine Hat, who went 69-69-70-208 in his warm-up for next week's Alberta Amateur at Glendale. "Tom played well. Hat's off to him. The putter's where you get it done and it let me down today."

It wasn't just hitting putts from different time zones that won it for Skinner. His slow and steady target golf philosophy served the 52-year-old well on the tight, tree-lined Broadmoor.

Trailing by three strokes after the first hole (he bogeyed and Vallely hit driver-3-iron to go 10 feet for eagle), he chipped away all afternoon to get back to even.

"Keep trusting yourself, don't ever give up," he said, adding the birdie putt on 12 really got him rolling.

"That was kind of the turning point for me because I kind of just kind of freed up the putter and finally made something.

"You just kind of relax and say I've got a chance here. Start believing in your putter again."

The worm turned for good on their 17th hole (eight on the scorecard as they reversed the nines), when Vallely knocked his tee shot on the par 3 to about 12 feet. Skinner was in a different time zone, staring at what looked like a difficult two-putt.

At that point it looked like Vallely was squarely in the driver's seat.

"It kind of looked that way, didn't it," he said. "But you never count him out. It's a crazy game, all it takes is one shot to swing the tide."

That shot was Skinner's putt, which was in all the way.

"I saw it come up over the ridge and kind of had a feeling," said Vallely. "It was looking good, so I said, 'Do it.' And it was right in the heart; what are you going to do?"

GOING FOR IT

Vallely hit a great tee shot on the par 5 18th, splitting the fairway some 35 yards ahead of Skinner, who'd landed in the rough, 250 yards from the green. He didn't for a second think of laying up and the crisply-hit 3-wood was never for a second in doubt.

"I had a perfect lie. It was 250 yards and I said go ahead and let it go, put it on the green and put the pressure squarely on him."

He did. Vallely found himself between clubs on 18 and put a 3-iron in the greenside rough. He got up and down for the bird, but it wasn't enough, not when the other guy rolls his in for eagle.


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