Hadley Hangs On - Brian Hadley Wins First Career Merit Travel Golf Vacations Match Play Championship


September 8, 2017
AURORA, ON -- The season long PGA of Canada - Ontario Zone 2017 Merit Travel Golf Vacations Match Play Championship culminated yesterday at Beacon Hall Golf Club. Four players descended on the annual venue for the Match Play Finals and started the morning with their semi-final matches with the finals being played in the afternoon. Brian Hadley was squaring off against Braeden Cryderman, and Alf Callowhill was looking to take down the defending champion Brian McCann. 
Brian Hadley took an early lead on Cryderman after the second hole and didn't let off the gas for the rest of the match. Cryderman managed to bring the match back to all-square on their fourth hole but Hadley quickly choked out any momentum Cryderman was trying to build by winning the next four holes in a row, pushing the match virtually out of reach. Cryderman tried to hold on as long as he could but Hadley forced him to dormie on the fifteenth hole where Hadley dealt his final blow, birdying the 580 yard par 5 winning the match 5&3.
In the other semi-final match the defending champ looked to be in control the entire way, albeit Callowhill never let him get too far ahead and was nipping at his heels the whole way around. The pair flip-flopped birdies on the second and third hole, each winning their respective holes but McCann broke the front-nine stalemate on Beacon Hall's eighth hole. From then on McCann maintained a narrow lead with Callowhill keeping him humble by sticking right with him, literally and figuratively, until Callowhill made his final push. After the pair both made birdie on the fifteenth, Callowhill, with his back against the ropes, pushed back and won the sixteenth, seventeenth, and eighteenth holes to cut McCann's legs out from underneath him and move on to face Brian Hadley in the Merit Travel Golf Vacations Match Play Finals.
Early on in the finals, Callowhill picked-up right where he left off, he birdied the first hole snatching an early lead. After splitting the second hole, the pair limped through the 189 yard third hole, finishing with Hadley taking it with a bogey. It would prove costly for Callowhill, because Hadley muscled his way down the fourth hole and stole the lead. Hadley quickly doubled down with a birdie on the fifth, winning his third consecutive hole, jumping ahead 2UP after five holes. Keep in mind, Callowhill came from behind to win his semi-final match but he needed to slow Hadley's building momentum if he was going to be able to do it again. Then the rain started to downpour. The two competitors took shelter, nestled up against the tree-lined tee deck on the fifth hole. 
After a twenty minute delay Callowhill was poised to cut into the deficit. His opportunity came on the tricky par 3 165 yard eighth hole when Hadley came up short of the green and Callowhill was sitting comfortably on the putting surface. Callowhill parlayed a good eighth hole into a good ninth and the two Ontario Zone match play heavyweights were all-square after nine holes. "Everyone here is a really good player," Hadley said after the match. "I obviously like to play with a lead. I try and get aggressive and stay aggressive. If you're waiting for the other guy to make a shot or steal a hole you're not going to go very far in this tournament." 
Hadley stuck to his game plan perfectly on the back-side when he almost aced the eleventh hole from 173 yards out leaving his ball inches from the flag. Callowhill was forced to concede after trying a near impossible, Tiger Woods 2005 Masters style chip-in from behind the green. Again Hadley was building momentum and he compounded it on the twelfth hole when the Beacon Hall back-nine fescue chewed up one of Callowhill's balls and forced him to declare a lost ball and ultimately lost him the hole. Hadley was now back in the lead at 2UP with eight to play. Callowhill stayed right with Hadley for the next three holes but couldn't gain any ground. They were now on the 223 yard par 3 sixteenth and Callowhill was out of options. It was crucial to win sixteen to push towards having a real opportunity to win the tournament. He managed to out finesse Hadley around the green and pulled back to within one with two holes to play. 
The seventeenth hole was the last one played at the 2017 Merit Travel Golf Vacations Match Play Championship. Callowhill was on the tee first and pushed his drive right, missing the right side of the fairway. He didn't miss by that much and normally he would be able to make a shot when missing that narrowly but the right side fescue on the seventeenth hole at Beacon Hall also has trees. After Callowhill's unlucky ball landed directly behind a tree Hadley made sure he kept his drive in play, leaving Callowhill no choice but to try and go for the flag from behind a tree. Callowhill powered through his ball determined to keep the match afloat but the trees didn't budge and ended his bid for the championship. Brian Hadley maintained an aggressively steady game all day and on his third appearance to the finals since 2010, won his first career Merit Travel Golf Vacations Match Play Championship. 
For all of the brackets and scores from the 2017 Merit Travel Golf Vacations Match Play Championship CLICK HERE
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