Markovich and Eden top Champions fields

By Bernie Puchalski, St. Catharines Standard

Brian Eden won a three-man playoff to capture the men's title at Saturday's Champion of Champions golf tournament at Lookout Point.

Brian Eden won a three-man playoff to capture the men's title at Saturday's Champion of Champions golf tournament at Lookout Point.


It wasn’t pretty but Lookout Point’s Stefi Markovich won her record sixth straight women’s title and ninth overall crown at Saturday’s 65th Annual Walt McCollum Champion of Champions golf tournament at her home course.

The 39-year-old Fonthill resident’s 41-42-83 total was good enough for an eight-stroke win in brutal weather conditions.

“The conditions were very difficult,” the math teacher at Lakeshore Catholic said. “The front nine I was actually hitting the ball very well but I didn’t putt well.”

She had four three putts on the first sixth holes before she settled down.

“It had been raining the whole time and then it started getting heavier,” she said. “So I stayed in the moment, forgot about that and settled down. From then on, it was play the shot the best you can.”

Her best on the day was good enough for another Champions title.

“It’s definitely something I’m very proud of,” she said of her remarkable run. “I will look at it down the road.”

The Champions crown capped what has been a so-so season for Markovich. She suffered an injury at the Ontario ladies championship in her first event of the season and had to withdraw. She withdrew from another event to rest the injury and then her third event was cancelled.

“I didn’t play much the whole summer,” she said.

Last week, she made the cut at the U.S. Women’s mid-amateur but was beat in the first round of match play.

“It wasn’t quite the summer I would have liked but it was a fun summer,” she said. “This was nice and it was a good way to finish. It would have been nice if the weather was a little nicer.”

Rounding out the top five were: Bridgewater’s Ruth McBride (43-48-91); Rockway Vineyards’ Shannon Pollock (43-48-91); Hunters Pointe’s Sandra Billyard (42-50-92); and Willo-Dell’s Jane Halligan (49-46-95).

Another great shot

Brian Eden has a history of making clutch shots at the Champion of Champions tournament.

In 1995, while a member at Port Colborne, he chipped in on the final hole to capture the Champions junior boys crown. Saturday at Lookout Point, the 36-year-old Port Colborne native was up to his old tricks.

The Hunters Pointe member carded a 38-38-76 to end regulation play in the men’s division tied with Lookout Point’s Michael Jiggins (36-40-76) and Sawmill’s Kyle Smith (39-37-76).

On the first playoff hole, the civil servant hit a 100-yard approach shot with a wedge to within eight inches of the pin and tapped in a tournament-winning birdie.

“As soon as it came off the club, I said ‘be good’ and it landed right next to the hole,” he said. “It always seems to be a little dramatic.”

The Champions capped off a great year for Eden.

“It was a lot of fun and I had a good year,” he said.

The father of a one- and a three-year-old took the summer off on paternity leave and the relaxation extended to his golf game.

“I was just really happy,” he said. “We had a great summer and I was in a really good frame of mind to play golf.”

Not even Saturday’s brutal weather could put a dent in Eden’s happiness.

“I don’t mind the weather at all. The weather was great,” he said.

“I had my caddy Brad (Hiscock) and he plays with me when we play in the rain at Hunters.”

Rounding out the top five Saturday were Oaklands’ Kham Vong (40-39-79) and Willodell’s Andy Labelle (40-41-81). Vong won the division in 2011 and Labelle won in 2005.

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