Brian McCann takes down two on his way to Merit Travel Golf Vacations Match Play Championship


September 9, 2016
The Merit Travel Golf Vacations Match Play finals are the culmination of a season long match-play tournament.  Professionals from across the zone go head-to-head until there are only four left standing, those four players came together at Beacon Hall Golf Club for the Merit Travel Golf Vacations Match Play Finals.  Steve Rodriguez (GolfTEC Markham), Brian McCann (Brampton Golf Club), Nick Kenney (The National Club of Canada), and Brian Hadley (Thames Valley Golf Club) all navigated their way through the gauntlet of matches to find themselves in the finals.
The semi-finals pitted Merit Travel Golf Vacations Match Play Finals mainstay Steve Rodriguez against Mr.59 Brian Hadley, and had reigning PGA of Ontario Player of the Year Brian McCann going toe to toe against one of the PGA of Ontario's best in Nick Kenney.  Morning matches started quickly as Hadley had Rodriguez up against the ropes early, starting the match 2UP after two holes.  Rodriguez continued to battle but Hadley wasn't giving up any ground.  Making the turn at 4UP Hadley was in cruise control and knew that Rodriguez was running out of time.  Hadley finished off the match on the fourteenth hole by making a great up-and-down from the front of the green on the 200 yard par 3 to win 5&4. 
In the McCann/Kenney semi-final, it was McCann that started hot.  Kenney was struggling to find his game early and McCann capitalized.  "Nick is a better player than he played this morning,"  Brian McCann said at days end.  "I knew he was going to figure it out so I needed to win as many holes as I could as early as I could."  McCann won three of the first four holes and, much like Hadley in the other semi-final, he knew Kenney was going to run out of time to mount a comeback.  McCann, also, finished Kenney off on the fourteenth hole with an up-and-down to win the semi-final 5&4. 
The stage was set for a tight finish.  Hadley and McCann both played well in the morning and were poised for a tight final in the afternoon.  After an uncharacteristic first hole by McCann, Hadley took the lead early.  Hadley, then, took the fourth hole but McCann brought the deficit back to one after the sixth.  The pair was side by side after almost every shot and very clearly evenly matched.  Hadley's 1UP lead looked like it was going to hold for the remainder of the round.  That was, until Brian McCann made the shot of the day, the TSN turning point.  The twelfth hole is a 545 yard par 5, and after three swings McCann was just off the front edge of the green about fifty feet from the pin, Hadley was sitting on the green, after three shots, ten feet above the hole.   For how tight the pair was playing, for McCann to go DN2 at this point in the match would almost certainly spell defeat.  McCann reared back and let the fifty footer roll.  His ball journeyed over the front edge of the green, rode the slope towards the hole and dropped in the cup.  After Hadley left his on the edge the match was all square after twelve holes. 
The fourteenth hole, as it was in the morning matches, proved to be pivotal in deciding a winner.  The wind was starting to howl and the 200 yard par three was playing much longer than that.  McCann made a great par and as Hadley rolled in his bogey putt, McCann had his first lead of the match.  After halving fifteen and sixteen, McCann locked the match down with a birdie on seventeen, winning the Merit Travel Golf Vacations Match Play Finals 2&1.
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