Burlington golfer wins on second playoff hole
When your week starts with a 1 a.m. trip to Walmart to buy an air mattress, it’s not exactly the kind of precursor you expect to the highlight of your golf career.
Michael Gligic arrived in Edmonton late Tuesday night for the ATB Financial Classic. But when his friend and fellow Canadian Tour player Ryan Corbin arrived at their hotel room, they discovered it had just one bed.
The hotel was unable to provide them with another room leaving them just two options — reenact the John Candy/Steve Martin scene from Planes, Trains and Automobiles or make a midnight run to a 24-hour department store.
They opted for the latter but it didn’t solve all their problems.
“The room was so small, we had to stack all the furniture to make room for the air mattress,” Gligic said.
Ah, the glamourous life of a professional golfer.
Gligic, who ended up with the bed after selling Corbin his tale of 24 hours without sleep and a long flight, might owe his friend a nice dinner after he cashed a cheque for $28,000 Sunday while earning his first Canadian Tour victory in a two-hole playoff with Scottsdale, Arizona’s Matt Marshall.
“To win on this stage, on this tour, it’s not easy,” Gligic said. “This is definitely No. 1 (in terms of career highlights).”
And it wasn’t easy for Gligic. He gave himself a chance to win with a three-foot birdie putt on the first playoff hole but it rolled just wide.
“A three-footer to win a golf tournament is a lot different,” said the two-time Great Lakes Tour Championship winner. “I was shaking pretty good. In my own defence, it was a tough one — downhill, breaking quite a bit.”
Gligic would get another chance, though, after Marshall also made a par. Going back to the 18th tee again, Marshall hit an iron off the tee but missed the tight 18th fairway. Gligic continued to hit driver as he had all week, which had resulted in a pair of birdies on the hole.
Marshall’s longer approach came up short while Gligic, out of the rough from 155 yards, put his on the green. His two putts were enough to secure the win as Marshall carded a bogey.
Playing on the Canadian Tour for the first time this year — after winning the tour’s fall qualifying event at Hidden Lake — Gligic was tearing up the back nine in the opening round just 36 hours after checking into his cramped hotel room.
Already two under, he put his 225-yard approach within 10 feet and made the eagle putt on 11 at the Windermere Golf and Country Club. After his lone bogey of the round, he finished with birdies on three of the final four holes.
His six-under 65 left him just one shot off the lead but Idaho’s Joe Panzeri responded with a course-record 62 in the second round. A 70 put Gligic six shots off the pace but still within striking distance.
With six top-10 finishes, including one win, in seven events on the Great Lakes Tour this year, Gligic said consistency has been the biggest difference for him this year.
“A couple of years ago, if I had a poor round, I’d be in the mid 70s,” he said. “Now I’m able to scrape around on the poor rounds and get in around par.”
Gligic was fourth, within two strokes of the lead, with a three-under 68 in the third round. Marshall, though, equaled Panzeri’s record 62 and was just one off the pace. The American then blazed out of the gate Sunday with four straight birdies to open the final day.
By 13, Gligic was still four shots behind but a birdie on 14, coupled with a Marshall bogey cut the lead to two. On 17, Gligic took the lead when Marshall made his fourth straight bogey. With Gligic in with a par on 18, Marshall made an eight-footer for birdie to force the playoff.
Two holes later, Gligic would put his first Canadian Tour win to bed.