To no one’s surprise, Jim Rutledge leads the Mr. Lube PGA Seniors’ Championship of Canada.
The soon-to-be 58-year-old from Victoria posted an opening-round 5-under-par 65 at Burlington Golf & Country Club and leads by a shot over fellow PGA of Canada legend Gar Hamilton.
“I had a few chances over the first five or six holes to make a birdie, but I stayed patient and made a good on one No. 8 and that got me rolling for a good back nine,” Rutledge said.
Rutledge eyes his fifth Mr. Lube PGA Seniors’ Championship of Canada this week at Burlington. His past victories came in 2015 at Credit Valley Golf & Country Club; 2013 at Lookout Point Country Club; 2012 at Emerald Hills Golf Club; and 2010 at Rattlesnake Point Golf Club. He’s also a former winner on the Web.com Tour, has six Mackenzie-PGA TOUR Canada titles and is a former PGA Championship of Canada winner.
However, Rutledge’s run for his fifth PGA Seniors’ title won’t be an easy trot with Hamilton nipping at his heels. Hamilton, who will turn 68-years-old later this month, is a four-time PGA Club Professional Championship of Canada and a PGA Seniors’ Championship of Canada winner.
Hamilton attributed his fine first-round play to rolling it well on Burlington’s impressive greens.
“The greens roll very true, but you have to watch these slopes because they’re some pretty speedy situations out there.”
Burlington Golf & Country Club features undulating topography and an attractive location on Hamilton Bay. Today’s challenging layout at Burlington Golf and Country Club, still essentially that designed by Stanley Thompson, Canada’s leading contemporary golf course architect, opened in 1924.
Hamilton leads the Super Senior division as well, holding a five shot lead over Jerry Anderson of Credit Valley Golf & Country Club.
Richmond Golf & Country Club’s Doug Morgan, a winner earlier this summer of the PGA of Canada – BC Zone Seniors’ Championship, sits alone in third at 3-under-par. He’ll be paired alongside Rutledge and Hamilton on Thursday for the second round.
“The rough is a little gnarly out here, so you’ve got to keep it play by controlling your ball off the tee,” Morgan said. “For me being a first-timer it’s really neat to play alongside and socialize with all these legends like Gar Hamilton.”
Club de Golf Le Champetre’s Jean Laforce and Mike Burrows of Austria are T4 at 1-under-par. Last year’s champion Claude Grenier; two-time PGA Assistants’ Championship of Canada winner Phil Jonas and PGA Club Professional Championship of Canada winner Ian Doig are all at even-par, T6. Jeff Buder, Cory Draper, Keir Smith and Jerry Anderson round out the top 10.
Past PGA of Canada president Ian Clarke leads the Diamond Division.
The PGA Seniors’ Championship of Canada was first played in 1938 as a division of the Canadian PGA Championship. In 1973, the championship became an independent event and has remained as such.
Among the Canadian golf legends to win the PGA Seniors’ Championship of Canada are Stan Leonard, Moe Norman—who won a record seven straight years from 1979-1985—Bob Panasik, Al Balding—who wowed the golf world by winning at age 76 in 2000—and Rutledge.
To follow the Mr. Lube PGA Seniors’ Championship of Canada online throughout tournament week, visit pgaofcanada.com,
Click here to view the full leaderboard and second round tee times.