Curtis Martell hits an approach shot on the first hole of Sunday’s second round of the Avondale Open.
©Jason Malloy/The Guardian
VERNON RIVER, P.E.I. – Curtis Martell had to work overtime for his first victory on the Prince Edward Island amateur golf tour.
The 21-year-old Belfast native defeated Martin O’Brien on the first playoff hole Sunday to win the Avondale Open.
“It’s exciting,” Martell said Sunday night. “It’s nice to get a win under my belt and get more comfortable in the tournaments.”
Golfers gain points at each of six stops to determine the player of the year.
Martell shot 74 each day at Avondale for a two-round total of 4-over 148 at the Vernon River course. He was two groups ahead of the leaders during Sunday’s final round. After finishing No. 18, Martell watched from the clubhouse as the final six players completed their round. He was sitting on the deck when someone mentioned he might have to play a playoff hole depending on the final hole’s outcome.
It is exactly what happened, leaving Martell chasing his first tour victory in his second year playing Prince Edward Island’s best amateurs.
“It was definitely nerve-wracking,” he said of the playoff, which took place on No. 1 with the field watching from the clubhouse.
“(It’s) one of my favourite holes on the course, so I felt comfortable in the tee box.”
His first shot, as was the case most of the weekend, was a good one, leading to a birdie on the par-4, 341-yard hole and the tournament victory.
“The driver put me in an excellent position to hit a wedge in,” said Martell, who golfs at Belfast Highland Greens.
He had strong starts on both days, with some birdies in the first three holes, which provided him a chance to get into a good rhythm on sunny, but windy, days.
“I just kind of kept the same approach (on Sunday), focused on putting the ball in play and then hitting greens and letting the putter do the work,” he said.
Martell said there are some great amateurs on P.E.I., who he has learned a lot from during the past year on the tour.
Fiona Thompson shot 77 each round for a 10-over 154 to win the women’s championship. Chris MacLauchlan was second at 159.
Matthew Bowlan was 14-over 158 to claim the men’s second division by two strokes over Grant Somers.
The next tour stop is the Mill River Open Saturday and Sunday.
Martell said winning at Avondale doesn’t add any pressure for him and actually does the opposite.
“It’s almost more of a calming feeling, knowing that I have won and that I can win,” he said. “It’s more of a confidence boost.”
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