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Mullin wins Yukon open with three stroke lead

There's nothing worse in golf than letting a healthy lead slip away. Phil Mullin had a taste of that uneasy feeling Sunday during the final round of the Yukon Championships held at Mountain View Golf Club.

There’s nothing worse in golf than letting a healthy lead slip away. Phil Mullin had a taste of that uneasy feeling Sunday during the final round of the Yukon Championships held at Mountain View Golf Club.

After finishing the open round tied with former champion Blaine Tessier, Mullin found himself up by six strokes on the final hole when the wheels started to come off, hitting a triple-bogey.

“My tee shot was bad and it didn’t get any better,” said Mullin. “I had to chip out and I hit a three-wood that was chunky that didn’t get anywhere around the green and the next one went over.

“I may have been a little too relaxed on the last hole.”

Despite the shaky finish, Mullin won the championships with a combined score of 151, three up from Tessier and 15 up from third-place Dean Mastrangelo. Mullin has twice won the Yukon Championships in Dawson City, but this was his first triumph in Whitehorse’s open.

“I came out today, tried to put together a good round and not make too many mistakes,” said Mullin. “I just had to hope I was still in it for the last two holes.”

A pair of birdies seemed to make all the difference for the senior men. Defending champ Matt Lafferty sunk two birdies in his final round as he hit for a combined score of 167, beating both Ken Taylor and Hugh Carruthers by two strokes. However, not every hole went so smoothly, with Lafferty hitting a triple-bogey on hole-six, a par five.

“I was in the middle of the fairway, I hit it into the bush, chipped out and went back into the bush,” said Lafferty. “It was quite the hole.”

Lafferty finished second at the Mountain View Club Championships last year in the senior men’s division behind Taylor, who’s one of a few players new to the senior division.

“They’re all young 55-year-olds,” said Lafferty. “It was give-and-take all the way—it was a battle.

“On the final holes they were saying, ‘You’re only one up,’ trying to put the choke-collar on.”

In the junior division, Ian Wintemute had the door to the winners’ circle opened a crack when last year’s champion, Scott Meredith, dropped out of the championship in his opening round.

“I quit,” said Meredith. “I didn’t have enough sleep—no chips, no putts.”

Wintemute, who won last year’s Mountain View club championships, finished second behind Meredith in last year’s Yukon Championships. Not that he needed it, beating second-place Josh Harlow by 11 strokes with a combined score of 165, Wintemute finished strong, getting a birdie and six pars on the final nine.

“The four pars on the last four holes I stuck together,” said Wintemute. “I didn’t blow up—I guess you could say.”

The eventual champ came into the final round with a one-shot lead over Ricky Schmok and Harlow and a two-shot lead over his little brother Mike. Wintemute, Meredith and Schmok will represent the Yukon next month at the Canada Summer Games in PEI.

In the tiny women’s division, which consisted of just two players, friends and rivals Birgitte Hunter and Ingrid Fawcus fought it out over two rounds. After ending the first day tied, Hunter put in a solid second day taking the win 10 strokes up with a combined score of 145.

“The putting was better,” said Hunter, who was defending her title from last year. “I shot only one stroke better than yesterday, so I played fairly consistently both days.

“Nothing stupid, nothing spectacular.”

Men’s champ, Mullin, just returned from playing in the BC Amateur Championships in Duncan, BC. The 25-year-old, who played in the Junior Nationals years ago, missed the cut by five strokes.

“I struggled with my short-game down there,” said Mullin. “I couldn’t make any putts and my chipping was poor.”

Although he had played the host course at the Duncan Meadows Golf Club in three previous tournaments, including a BC Amateurs, Mullin feels the courses are just too different in the Yukon to prepare adequately.

“I do know (the course) but playing up here is different,” said Mullin. “The greens aren’t nearly as quick and undulating—it’s tough to prepare for that course.”

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