Rossland golfer Ben Gresley-Jones snatched his third Christina Lake Open title in dramatic fashion last week.
Over 200 golfers teed off at the annual father’s day two-day event, which saw the championship come down to a playoff between Christina Lake’s assistant pro Wil Mounsteven and Gresley-Jones.
“It would have been a four-hole playoff and if it was still tied after that it would go to retrogression which I knew, based on my score, I would lose,” said Gresley-Jones.
After birdieing four of the first six holes, Gresley-Jones struggled down the stretch to finish the day even and at 2-under for the tournament.
A clutch putt on the 18th preserved the tie, and after a quick trip to the driving range Gresley-Jones was ready for sudden death.
The Rossland resident hit a good drive on the opening playoff hole, and put his second shot on the green. He deftly stepped up and holed his birdie putt, while Mounsteven parred handing Gresley-Jones his third title in four years.
“I feel pretty confident with that course . . . I made a lot of crucial putts.”
His putting may have been the difference, but he also couldn’t have done it without good-luck charm, fellow-golfer and father Brian who was able to caddy for Ben on Sunday.
“On Father’s Day, the last two times when he’s caddied for me I’ve won it, so it’s been kind of nice,” said Gresley-Jones.
Fruitvale’s Travis Harding also competed in the tournament and was in the hunt for the championship until the final hole. Harding still came away with the overall low-net title.
“He was really good,” said Gresley-Jones. “We’re good buddies so he just kind of came out to get a bit of weekend golf in and he ended up playing really well.”
Gresley-Jones started the opening round on fire, and was 4-under par before surrendering a double bogey on 17 to finish the day with a 2-under 70, one shot back of the leaders.
On Sunday, he gave back the four birdies he started out with and finished the turn at even par, but two more birdies to open the back nine put him in the lead by one shot.
“Everyone then kind of leveled out a bit and I knew I had to make a putt on the 18th from above the hole – it was a tough putt- to make par to get into what I thought would be a playoff.”
Despite his obvious talent, the Rossland-Trail Country Club’s most successful golfer will have to curb the number of events this season as work commitments prevail.
Gresley-Jones finished 19th at the B.C. Amateur Championship last year and played in the Canadian Amateur in August.