Amateur tops Canuck contingent

MIKE RUTSEY -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:19 AM ET

ANCASTER -- Walking down the 18th fairway, his longish blonde locks peeking out from under his hat, Cambridge amateur Victor Ciesielski could have been mistaken for Danny Noonan of Caddyshack fame.

Teeing it up in the first professional event of his career, Ciesielski displayed little in the way of jitters and displayed an amazing confidence as he carded a two-under-par 68 which placed Ciesielski in a tie for 30th.

Cheered on by a large throng from his home club -- Galt Country Club -- Ciesielski strolled the links Bushwood, er, Hamilton Golf and Country Club, like he didn't have a care in the world.

At day's end, the 21-year-old student who will be attending classes at the University of Waterloo on Monday found himself in the unlikely position as the top Canadian (16 golfers) in the field -- three shots better than Mike Weir and Stephen Ames, who were both at one-over 71.

His claim to fame?

"Claim to fame? I don't think I have any," he said with a laugh. "I think I just created it today."

There was never any intimidation, no awe factor during his day.

"There might have been a little bit when I walked into the players' lounge and guys like Vijay (Singh) are sitting down, and eating shrimp, and, all right, I'll take some shrimp too, don't mind if I do," said Ciesielski, who didn't pick up a club until he was 14. "But it's all business out here and that's the way you have to treat it. You treat it like it's another tournament and play it and we'll see what the final verdict is."

Maybe he should have a talk with Weir or Ames about his theory. Yesterday they looked to be the ones needing counselling.

Coming in, Ciesielski, who had five birdies against three bogeys, didn't have any set expectations.

"I don't know if I had any. I'm just playing good, for the last month and a half," he said. "I don't think I've shot over par for 30, 40 rounds."

He was asked whether, if he makes today's cut, he'd take the cheque and give up his amateur status.

"No, I'm not ready for it," he said. "My game isn't good enough to be out here yet."


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