Oklahoma State’s Zach Bauchou tees off on the fourth hole during the final round of the NCAA Division I men’s golf championships in Stillwater, Okla., Wednesday, May 30, 2018. (AP Photo/Mitch Alcala)

Bauchou goes wire-to-wire to become back-to-back Canadian amateur champion

DUNCAN, B.C. — American Zach Bauchou held on in the final round of the 114th Canadian men’s amateur championship at Duncan Meadows on Thursday to become the 14th back-to-back champion in history.

Bauchou native, fired a 5-under 66 in the final round to finish with a three-stroke victory at 18 under par-tying the tournament record set in 1970 by Allen Miller.

“It’s truly an honour to be a back-to-back champion at the Canadian men’s amateur. Words can’t really express how much it means to me to come up here and defend and play as well as I did,” said the 22-year-old. “I’m truly honoured to win this tournament again.”

In 2017, Bauchou became the 22nd American to hoist the Earl Grey Cup, and now becomes the third American to win back-to-back championships (Han Lee, Frank Stranahan, Albert Campbell).

For the first time since Monday, Bauchou relinquished the lead to momentarily sit tied at 14 under par with fellow American Philip Knowles, who surged up the leaderboard early with birdies on three of his first four holes.

Bauchou pulled away on the back nine, with a momentum swing on the 15th hole where he sunk a winding birdie putt, while Knowles slipped with a three-putt from inside 10 feet.

“(Philip) played really well, especially on the front nine, he really putted good,” said Bauchou. “My putt was right in the middle which was really nice — sometimes you need those putts to go in in order to win.”

Bauchou received an exemption into the 2019 RBC Canadian Open at Hamilton Golf and Country Club in Hamilton, from June 3-9. Having already received an exemption into the U.S. Amateur via World Amateur Ranking (No. 21), Bauchou had his mind set this year on defending.

Knowles closed in solo second at 15 under par. He also shot a 64 in Wednesday’s third round to set the course record at Duncan Meadows.

Garrett Rank of Elmira, Ont., finished in third place at 13 under par, also taking home low Canadian honours in the process. The 30-year-old will return to B.C. from Aug. 21-24 to compete in the Canadian men’s mid-amateur at Victoria Golf Club, where he’ll look to collect his fourth title in five years.

“You’d like to add this one to the resume for sure,” said Rank. “Without sounding arrogant I have won a lot of Golf Canada championships so it would be nice at one point to get one of these.”

Earlier in the week, Team Quebec captured the inter-provincial title to win their second consecutive Willingdon Cup. Julien Sale (Gatineau, Que.) and Team Canada members Joey Savoie (La Prairie, Que.) and Hugo Bernard (Mont-Saint-Hilaire, Que.) helped Quebec to a 10-under-par score and a seven-stroke win-their eighth victory all-time.

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