Heffernan Lays Runner-Up Demons to Rest at PGA of Alberta Championship
- Category: Inside Golf
- Published: 2019-08-21
By GORD MONTGOMERY, Inside Golf
RED DEER, Alberta — If one is to believe the talking heads on TV golf broadcasts, following up a great round with another such 18 in tournament play is a tough assignment. Wes Heffernan, however, would beg to differ with that opinion.
You see, at this year’s PGA of Alberta Championship, the Calgary pro carded two superb back-to-back rounds, firing a course record 63 on day one and following that up with a solid 67 the next to capture the title by a comfortable four stroke margin.
Heffernan began his run to the title by firing a 9-under 63 at the host site, Red Deer’s Riverbend Golf and Recreation Area, giving him a three shot advantage over Jeff Cuthbertson (Stony Plain GC), David MacComb (Blackhawk GC) and Dallas Cantera (Cardiff G&CC) headed into the second day of the 36-hole tourney. He then fired the best round of Day 2, a 67, to finish at 14-under and win by four over MacComb (66-68) and eight over third-place finisher Cantera.
The winner, from Dynamic Motion Golf Performance Center, said he had no idea he was on pace to set a course record that first day, but noted he did know many of the 90 players on hand were bunched up near the top of the leaderboard. In fact, 10 players were within five shots of the lead after 18 holes.
“I didn’t know until after the round, which probably helps things,” the winner said in a phone interview about his opening round record. “The big thing was, a lot of the other guys were going low. I remember I birdied eight to go 3-under and we have live scoring now on our phones, so I had a look at the scoreboard to see where I was. There were guys at four, five and six (under) already so I knew I couldn’t just stay there. You’ve got to keep going lower.”
That fact has been driven home a couple of times for Heffernan over the past few years in tournament action, so he wasn’t about to be satisfied with where he was at that point. “I knew if I didn’t try to keep getting more birdies, somebody like Riley (Fleming) or David (MacComb) are going to catch me, so you just go as low as possible.”
The Sweet Swinging Wes Heffernan (@heffgolf) Carded A Course Record 9-Under In His Opening Round At Red Deer's Riverbend G&RA On His Way To His First Title In Four Tries At The Alberta PGA's Championship.
As for following a great round with another good one, Heffernan said he approached the final 18 knowing he couldn’t take his foot off the gas pedal.
“There were a bunch of guys at 6-under, a bunch at five, a bunch at four, so one of those guys could get to 12, 13 or 14 (under). So if I just rested on my 9-under I likely wasn’t going to win. I just tried to make birdies,” but it was a couple of mistakes that actually kick-started the second day’s round for him rather than shaving strokes off his score.
“I started the round by missing two really short putts on three and five. I think there was a four- or five-way tie for the lead then so that was probably the best thing that could have happened to me. Just a little kick in the butt to get going!” That’s exactly what happened as Heffernan eagled the eighth hole and then birdied the next two after that to stretch is lead back up to “three or four,” and which put him into “the same mode I was the first day. I think I was six or seven under after the fifth hole so other than the first five holes yesterday (Day 2), over 31 holes of golf I didn’t really make any mistakes. It was pretty efficient golf.”
Those holes provided the victor with a nice payday of $5,700 for his efforts but more than anything, proved to Heffernan that he did have what it takes to win out there. After all, in his three previous tries at taking this particular title, he’d finished second each time, and each time by one stroke. Add to that the same number of runner-up finishes at the Assistants’ Championship, again all by one stroke, and you’d think he'd have to be wondering it he’d ever top the leaderboard. The answer to that, of course, was a resounding “Yes!”.
Noting he’d lost those previous tournaments to some pretty good players including Fleming, Dustin Risdon and Adam Bruce, this year’s champ said, “There definitely was extra incentive to win. I won the Fall Championship last year, so that kind of got me over the hump, where I finally beat Dustin or Riley. And I’d played quite well at the (PGA TOUR Mackenzie Tour) ATB Classic (in Calgary), so this kind of kept my momentum going,” and showed that indeed one good round can follow another.
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