SHERWOOD PARK, Alberta—Davis Lamb had to Monday qualify just to get into the field for this week’s ATB Classic. He had no idea that he was about to make history.
Lamb, of Bethesda, Maryland, shot a 2-under 70 Sunday to finish at 18-under 270 at Northern Bear Golf Course and become the first Monday qualifier to win on PGA TOUR Canada. After his first PGA TOUR-sanctioned win, Lamb is now exempt for the remainder of the season.
“It’s kind of surreal to be standing here right now,” Lamb said. “My game was in a good spot. I was ready to come up here and compete. But to start Monday morning, teeing off with kind of a play-well-or-go-home scenario, and to make it all the way to Sunday and be standing here … It’s pretty surreal.”
The Notre Dame graduate overcame two double bogeys on the front nine during a cool, windy day to beat Eric McCardle of Oak Harbor, Washington—another Monday qualifier—by two shots and Nicolo Galletti of Berkeley, California, by three.
“Today is about the hardest I’ve ever had to work on the golf course, so for it to pay off the way it did, it feels amazing,” Lamb said.
Lamb also moved into a tie for second place on the Fortinet Cup points list, 42 points behind leader Étienne Papineau.
Lamb shared the 54-hole lead with Eric Lilleboe after players completed the delayed third round Sunday morning. Dangerous weather conditions forced suspension of play Saturday and the fourth round’s weather didn’t really improve.
Lamb stumbled with his first double bogey of the day, on the par-5 sixth hole, and took another double on the par-4 ninth hole. But he somehow regained his momentum with an eagle at No. 10, a 540-yard par-5, and added three more birdies, the last coming on the par-3 17th that gave him a three-shot lead entering the 72nd hole.
“I doubled my sixth hole, hitting the ball in the trees, which you just can’t do out here, and then doubled No. 9 again,” Lamb said. “At that point I’m just hanging on for dear life. Luckily, I hit a good drive on 10, and I just told my caddie, ‘It’s time to hit a golf shot right now.’ And we did from 235 (yards) to about three feet, made eagle and from there we just played great coming in.”
Lamb said it was “easily the best golf shot I’ve hit in my entire life and to do it in that situation was amazing.”
The long birdie putt on the 17th hole certainly made it an easier finish for Lamb, who punctuated his win with an emphatic fist pump when the final putt dropped.
“It’s never done. I was still working hard,” Lamb said. “But to take a three-shot lead going into 18 was, in my mind, a can’t-lose scenario. I knew I was driving. I knew I could hit the green. So, to give myself a chance to win with a five-putt, it’s comfortable for me.”
McCardle had three birdies on the back nine but never got closer than a stroke. He shot 69 and finished at 15-under 273. Galletti also found himself in contention late in the round, recording his fifth birdie on No. 15, but a bogey on the 17th hole would see him finish with a 4-under 68 and in third.
Sudarshan Yellamaraju was the low Canadian. He shot 66, the best round of the day, and finished fourth, at 13-under 275. He moved up 26 spots on the leaderboard the final day.
“I’m happy with the way I played today, especially under these conditions. I wouldn’t say anything clicked. I just feel like I did my job,” Yellamaraju said.
There was a four-way tie for fifth place, at 12-under 276—Canadian Noah Steele, Sam Choi of Malibu, California, Chase Sienkiewicz of Sacramento, California, and Australian Jack Trent.