Picture Butte Pro Goes Wire-To-Wire For Club Pro Title
- Category: Inside Golf
- Published: 2018-08-06
By GORD MONTGOMERY, Inside Golf
INNISFAIL, Alberta — No practise. No problem. That was the scenario for Picture Butte’s head golf guru, Jamie Gerlitz, at the 2018 PGA of Alberta Club Pro Championship sponsored by @PingTour, in Innisfail. Gerlitz combined two solid rounds of 71-70 (141) to pull away from the field at the event, finishing six shots clear of runners-up Josh Fleming and Jeremy Maher in the 36-hole tourney.
Like every other person entered in the tournament, Gertlitz didn’t have a lot of time to prepare for the two-day’er in Innisfail, but what time he did have he made good use of.
“It’s kind of funny,” he joked. “I didn't prepare real well. I kind of took a week off and played a practice round on Sunday and I just kind of felt something. That carried on for the next couple of days.
“My game plan was to keep it between the trees and I followed through for the most part. I’m not one to practice a whole bunch and I felt I was kind of maybe playing myself out, so taking a break was kind of a good thing.”
After the first day of action Gerlitz found himself in a logjam at the top of the leader-board but the course separated the winner from the chasers over the final18 holes. The reason for that, Gerlitz suggested, was a mindset on the tee boxes at the beautiful, and demanding, 27-hole facility.
“It’s very intimidating off the tee and if you do spray the ball, it’s very punishing. You just have to get over the way that it looks,” and trust one’s swing to propel the ball to the proper spots on the fairways.
The winner had maybe a slight ‘home course’ advantage growing up in the area and hav-ing sampled the tests that the Innisfail GC throws at everyone as you make your way around the layout. That background knowhow was put to use, especially on the final day as he began to put distance between himself and the rest of the field.
“I had some local knowledge about what the lines were off the tee and where you could miss it. I think that was a contributing factor.”
Another factor was stepping back on certain holes to put the ball in play with less than the longest club in his bag. “There were a few holes where I used less than driver because driver puts you through the fairway or past the dogleg. But, if I had the opportunity to hit driver, I hit it.”
Noting that he was nervous entering the final round, Gerlitz kept his composure. The tournament stayed close through the majority of the day and he was fully aware of how things were coming down to the wire … at least for a while.
“They had a few scoreboards out there so I had a rough idea where I was. They had one at the fifth green, on the 10th tee and then the 14th tee box and one on 18 green. When I made the turn I was at 4-under par and the closest (pursuer) was at minus-1. When I got to 14, I was at minus-3 and the closest still showed minus-1, so I knew I had a bit of a lead. Then I proceeded to bogey the next two holes and fall back to minus-1 so I thought I had fallen back into a tie.”
Unbeknown to Gerlitz, his closest competitor at that time had also run into a bit of a roadblock, double bogeying a hole to set him back. Not aware of that fact, the Picture Butte pro made up his mind to chase down a couple of stroke-savers and did so to wrap things up in fine style. In fact, he suggested the pair of one-over’s helped him get back to business down the home stretch.
“It did kind of refocus me for the last three holes and rather than getting complacent and trying to coast into the clubhouse, it forced me to, like I said, refocus on the task at hand.
“I thought I had to make a birdie or two coming in, and luckily enough, I birdied 16 and 17 to get back to where I was. Then I felt comfortable,” which is exactly the type of win he pulled off in becoming the 2018 Club Pro Champion.
About the Writer
Gord Montgomery is a retired sports editor of two weekly newspapers in the Edmonton area and is a member of the Golf Journalists Association of Canada. He is now in his 10th year of writing for Inside Golf.