Cornelson spins new tour record in victory at Uplands

Adam Cornelson finished off what he started, wrapping up the Bayview Place Island Savings Open presented by Times Colonist title with a record-breaking finish Sunday afternoon at Uplands Golf Club.

The Langley native’s final-round 5-under 65 left him at 20-under 260 total, the lowest mark in tournament history on the Victoria stop on the Mackenzie Tour and also a record in the PGA Tour Canada era.

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The previous best was a 15-under finish for Albin Choi just last season as Cornelson made it back-to-back titles for Vancouver-area golfers.

“The crowd, the way the tournament finished — I’ve never felt support like I did with that crowd. Every time I walked to the next tee it was, ‘Go Adam and go Langley.’ It was unbelieveable,” said Cornelson, who cipped in for birdie from in front of the 18th green for an emphatic finish that brought on a Tiger Woods-like roar.

“It gives me confidence knowing that I can do it. I always believed it I could do it, but now I know I can do it. The way I went about my business this week, I think I should write a bit of that down and keep going.”

Cornelson — who had a piece of the lead after his opening 64 on Thursday — never let up, maintaining a grip on top spot through the four days. The 28-year-old, who ironically hit the first tee shot here in Victoria after the PGA Tour took over the circuit in 2013, earned the top $31,500 paycheque.

His personal previous best on tour was a tie for fifth at the 2014 Wildfire Invitational in Ontario.

Cornelson always seems to save his best for the Island, however, recording his fifth straight top-25 finish here. His previous low in Victoria was a tie for 13th in 2013 and he’s also the first left-hander to win since 2007.

He did struggle through most of 2015, losing his full playing privileges by year’s end and was forced to earn his card back this spring at Qualifying School at Crown Isle resort in Courtenay.

That’s simply a memory now.

Taylor Moore, who made his debut on tour after representing the Arkansas Razorbacks at the NCAA championship last week, was second, five shots back after his final round 65 that followed his 69-66-65 start and introduction to PGA Tour Canada.

Moore, of Edmond, Oklahoma was two shots better than Jeff Rein of Cibolo, Texas who recorded a 1-under 69 Sunday for a 267 total.

Seann Harlingten of Vancouver was alone in fourth as he, too, fired a 5-under 65 on the day to sit at 268.

Dan McCarthy, who finished at 10-under 270 was in a tie for sixth and, after his win last week at the Freedom 55 Financial Open at Point Grey, maintains top position on the tour’s Order of Merit. The top three players on that money list through the first six events of the 2016 season will earn exemptions into the RBC Canadian Open stop on the PGA Tour.

Several of the Mackenzie Tour players are now off to Royal Oaks Country Club in Vancouver, Washigton, on Monday for U.S. Open sectional qualifying, including fan favourite Brock Mackenzie of Yakima, Wash., who shot a final-round 68 Sunday to finish tied for 13th at 272.

Uplands assistant pro Ben Griffin, who like Cornelson had a piece of the first-round lead after a 64, unfortunately finished 72-73-75 for a tie for 62nd.

mannicchiarico@timescolonist.com

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