In his 10 years as a member, Keith Martin enjoyed many fine moments on the course at the Kelowna Golf and Country Club.
Few can rival the thrill of his victory on Saturday afternoon at the Ogopogo Invitational.
The 23-year-old Martin emerged from a two-hole playoff with the Okanagan Golf Club’s Greg Forbes to capture the 2012 edition of the storied tournament at KGCC in just his fourth appearance.
“It means so much to me to win this tournament and to win it at this club,” said Martin, a KSS and UBC Okanagan grad who turned pro this year. “I was a junior member here, and I even caddied at this tournament a couple of times, so it was a tournament I always wanted to do well in. It’s my first sort of big win since turning pro, so it really does mean a lot to me.”
After rounds of 68 and 67, Martin opened the third and final round with a five-stroke advantage.
But the lead would slip as Martin carded a 2-over 74, while Forbes finished up with a 68.
The two ended 54 holes of regulation play at 7-under 209, one stroke better than Tyler Pitt and two ahead of Doug Roxburgh.
On the first sudden death playoff hole, the 15th, Martin’s attempted birdie putt lipped out, and both players settled for par.
On the 16th, after both players drove the ball to the right off the tee, Forbes encountered some tree trouble. Martin found himself on the green with two putts for the win, and made no mistake.
“I kind of had a tough back nine, so to come back and get the win in the playoff was nice,” said Martin. “It was a fun weekend, I really enjoyed it.”
Martin, who works at the Northview Golf Club in Vancouver, will officially get his pro career under way in January when he moves to Phoenix.
Martin will play on the Gateway Tour beginning in 2013. He will also attend the Canadian Tour’s qualifying school in May in California.