Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

'On top of the world'

Killmer proves he can win in Players Cup marathon

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The money is more than nice, especially with his wedding less than a month away, but there's another key element to winning for Chris Killmer.

Affirmation.

"I knew I could win out here but I knew you had to be patient out here to win," Killmer said after prevailing in a four-hole, sudden-victory playoff with Vince Covello Sunday at the Players Cup. "There are guys who are great players out here who can win as well but haven't.

"This week I was better than them but this tour has a lot of great players on it and to be the best player this week is great. I can carry this momentum further. I'm excited to tee it up at my next event.

"And I think it just reassures a lot of what I'm doing and how I'm going about getting better. It's paying off."

The payoff came in the form of 15-under-par 269 over the regulation 72 holes, including a two-under 69 on Sunday. Then it took a 12-inch putt for a par on the fourth extra hole to finally nail down the $24,000 first prize and his first Canadian Tour victory.

"I'm on top of the world right now," Killmer said. "To win the Players Cup this week and getting married to my best friend (Alyssa Ryan) next month, the timing couldn't be better."

Killmer, the 25-year-old former University of Washington Huskies player, went toe to toe with Covello, a Philadelphia native, for six hours 25 minutes on Sunday.

Each man shot 69, then duked it out until Covello three-putted from 40 feet on Pine Ridge's 18th green on the fourth playoff hole, missing a five-foot comeback par attempt.

"You definitely start to feel it," Killmer said of the marathon, the majority of it played in the pouring Sunday rain. "Just standing here now, my legs are starting to get weak, like Jell-O.

"But that's part of the importance of being fit out here. We may not lift a ton of weight but to be out here 61/2 hours, I know I was still swinging with as much power or more, probably with the adrenaline."

It was the fourth straight playoff event for the Canadian Tour and the third a row that lasted exactly four holes.

And this one at Pine Ridge snapped a 23-year streak without a playoff at Manitoba's CanTour event. Stu Hendley won the last one here in 1989 over Dave Barr and Steve Chapman at the Manitoba Open at Southwood.

Sunday, Killmer surged ahead by three shots when he eagled the par-5 12th hole with a 12-foot putt from the fringe.

But Covello, who has taken a distinct liking to Pine Ridge -- he's been fifth, sixth and now second in the last three years -- fought back with birdies at Nos. 13, 15 and 17 to send it to extra play.

"I played those last holes even par and I thought that was pretty solid," Killmer said. "Having a three-shot lead, I made great four- and five-footers down the stretch to stay in it.

"That downhill slider on 16 (for par), maybe five feet, that was a turning point. That one sticks in my head.

"I made him make birdies and that's what he did. He's a great player. Was I surprised he did it? No. I thought he was going to make a charge. My hat's off to him, he's a great player. Showed a lot of heart down the stretch."

Third place, Sunday's consolation prize, went to Ontario's David Lang, who shot 68 to finish five shots back of the front-runners at 10-under.

It was another bonus week for a Monday qualifier. Lang, who won Monday's test at Elmhurst, earned $9,000. Tom Hoge, a Monday qualifier in 2011, won the Players Cup.

Josh Habig, the 2006 Players Cup champ, finished tied for fourth by closing with a 67 to reach eight-under, while Richardson was 68 on Sunday.

tim.campbell@freepress.mb.ca

no regrets: runner-up / C2

Scorecard

 

Hole 123456789101112131415161718Total

 

Par 44454435334543534471

Chris Killmer 434554353343435344 69

 

Playoff

Par 4444

 

Killmer 4544

Covello 4545

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition July 16, 2012 C1

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