Pastore wins PGA TOUR Canada's Niagara Championship
|Photo: PGA TOUR Canada|
ELMSFORD, N.Y. (September 11, 2016) - Five-time MGA champion David Pastore of Greenwich, Conn., notched his first professional victory Sunday at the Mackenzie Tour's Niagara Championship, claiming the victory with a birdie on the final hole. The 2014 MGA Player of the Year used bookend rounds of 5-under 66 en route to a 14-under 270 total at Cherry Hill Club in Fort Erie, Ontario, Canada.
Related: Post Victory Q&A
Pastore, who finished tied for sixth last month in the 101st Met Open at Glen Oaks Club, opened the championship with a 5-under 66 and took the lead into the weekend following a 4-under 67 on Friday. The 24-year old carded an even-par 71 on Saturday, but still took a share of the lead into Sunday's final round.
A total of 12 players stood within three shots of the lead entering Sunday, but Pastore put together a near-flawless round to claim the title, making just one bogey on the day. The University of Virginia graduate made the turn in 2-under 33 and added birdies on Nos. 10 and 12 to take a two-shot advantage over Order of Merit leader Dan McCarthy, a four-time winner on the Mackenzie Tour this season.
McCarthy tallied two birdies down the stretch while playing a couple groups in front of Pastore, but a birdie on the par-5 finisher earned Pastore the one-shot victory. "I heard he had birdied and he wasn't going to make it easy on me," Pastore told PGATOUR.com following his victory. "I wanted to give myself a putt. I figured if I hit two solid 3-woods up around the green, I could give myself a chance."
While Pastore finished 31st on the Mackenzie Tour's Order of Merit in 2015 to earn exempt status for the 2016 season, the Niagara Championship was just his third start of the season as he's been recovering from a wrist injury. Pastore entered the week 143rd on the Order of Merit, needing at least a solo fifth finish to advance to next week's Freedom 55 Financial Championship, the Mackenzie Tour's final event of the season in which only the top 60 advance.
"I didn’t see this coming. I’ve been working really hard for a long time, and I felt like it was around the corner at some point, but there were really no signs to point to this week. I’m still in shock," said Pastore.
Pastore will look to keep momentum going into next week's championship, as his win and $31,500 winner's share quickly jumped him to 13th in the Order of Merit.
Mike Miller of Brewster, N.Y., and Sean Kelly of Staten Island, N.Y., were also in the field. Miller, who also opened the championship with a 5-under 66, began the day just one shot behind Pastore but carded a final round 74 to finish tied for 17th at 5-under. Miller, who has made just six starts on the Mackenzie Tour this season, sits 50th on the Order of Merit and will also compete in the season's final event. Kelly's best round of the week was a 3-under 68 on Saturday, as he finished 2-under and tied for 29th. He can also make plans to compete at the Freedom 55 Financial Championship, as he ranks 60th in the Order of Merit following the Niagara Championship.