Barr rises to rule Marshes

CHRIS STEVENSON -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 7:35 AM ET

Dave Barr just didn't beat the challenges presented by Nepean's Graham Gunn and Claude Tremblay of Repentigny, Que., yesterday.

The member of the Canadian Golf Hall of Fame overcame his constant battle with the putter and a closing bogey for a one-shot victory for his first BreconRidge Canadian PGA Seniors Championship at The Marshes at Brookstreet.

Taming his flatstick -- to a certain extent -- might be the most significant victory for Barr in the rain-shortened event.

VICTORY WORTH $8,100

Barr made six birdies yesterday against two bogeys for a closing 4-under 68 and a 36-hole total of 140 to get his hands on the title and the winner's cheque of $8,100.

His putter, which he has used since 1971, but has been balky, co-operated for the most part.

"When I came in here, my confidence (with the putter) was at rock bottom. I missed two inside three feet (in Saturday's first round) back-to-back and that leads to that sinking feeling in your gut," said Barr, of Kelowna, B.C. "Instead of shooting 68 or 67, you shoot 72. That's the feeling I've had all year. You miss a couple and it starts playing mind games with you.

"But I spent an hour and a half on the putting green (after his round Saturday) and started to feel a little more comfortable. I was feeling okay with the 12-15 footers ... it's the ones in the throw-up zone."

After an outward 3-under 33 yesterday, Barr bogeyed the par-5 10th, but bounced back with birdies at the short, par-4 11th and par-3 12th, making putts of about five and eight feet.

He two-putted to birdie the par-5 14th.

He bogeyed 18 when he missed the green right and failed to get up and down when his six-footer for par on 18 lipped out.

"When I bogeyed the last hole, I thought there was going to be a playoff," said Barr. "I feel very fortunate. I feel like I kind of backed into it. I played well all day, but putting has been a sore spot for me right now.

"It's always good to win a tournament that has a national ring to it. It's always nice to have that feather in your hat."

Barr said he has never considered going to a long putter or a belly putter, like 27-year-old Sergio Garcia used at the British Open.

"I'll quit before I'll do that," said Barr. "There's always been rumours the USGA is to make a rule you can't anchor anything against your body, so I don't want to switch and have them take it away.

"I'm a traditionalist. Look in my bag. You'll see all the old technology."

Barr has tried a couple of different putters over the years, but never stuck with them for more than two or three months.

He always goes back to his regular.

"I change, but the same thing happens. It comes down to the fact it's the puttee, not the putter."

After Barr bogeyed 18, Tremblay, the first-round leader, just needed a par to win.

But his second shot found the bunker in front of the green and he couldn't get up and down from there and handed Barr the victory.

Tremblay wound up carding a 73 yesterday

GUNN MISFIRES

Gunn had about a 10-footer on 18 for a birdie which would have tied him with Barr, but saw it lip out for a 69.

His undoing was a double-bogey seven on the 14th after a wayward drive forced him to hit three from the tee. He also double-bogeyed the tough par-5 second hole.

"I had two bad swings and I still had an opportunity to win. I can take something away from that," said Gunn. "The 14th kind of sunk the ship."

After the second hole, Gunn reeled off five birdies in a row to get back in the picture, but cooled off on the back nine.

Kanata's Don Renaud won the Diamond Division for players over 70 and over with rounds of 76-74.

"This win means everything. It's so great to still be dreaming at the age of 70 that you can play competitively and win at my age," he said.


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