MAKE it two in a row for North Vancouver's Eugene Wong.
The swinging sensation stayed steady amid the water hazards of McCleery, the rolling greens of Langara and the hard-driving competitors of Fraserview Golf Course to capture top prize in the Vancouver Open over the weekend. The win came one week after Wong claimed the Canadian Tour Championship held at the Scarboro Golf & Country Club in Toronto.
With two-time Vancouver Open champion Adam Hadwin bowing out of this year's competition to chase a spot on the PGA tour for 2013, the field was wide open for Wong's debut at the Vancouver Golf Tour tournament.
After capturing the 2010 Jack Nicklaus award as the NCAA's top player while hitting the links for the University of Oregon, Wong's arrival in the pro game in July was heralded by corporate sponsorship.
The narrow fairways of McCleery Golf Course proved a challenge on the first day of the tournament, and Wong recorded two early bogeys. However, the former Duck quickly found his stride with five birdies on the back nine.
Despite notching a score of four under par and sharing the top of the leader board after the first round, Wong wasn't able to put much distance between himself and the field, as 23 players were within three shots of the leader heading into round two.
Wong was contending with a field of 73 other professionals in the Labour Day weekend tournament.
After staying even at Langara, Wong trailed Calgary, Alta. golfer Scott Stiles by two strokes heading into the final round at Fraserview.
With two eagles and a pair of birdies over the first six holes of the second round, Stiles eventually took a three-shot lead over Wong.
The two players were mirror images of each other down the stretch, with each linksman rebounding from a bogey on the 13th hole to record birdies on the 14th and 15th holes.
The duel set up a dramatic conclusion as Wong had only three holes to erase Stiles' two-shot lead and force a playoff.
Wong notched a birdie on 16 and played even on the 17th. Staring down the par-5 18th hole, Wong narrowly missed an eagle to wind up with another birdie, finishing at -13.
After hitting par on the 16th and 17th, Stiles carried a one-stroke lead into the final hole. The two-time Alberta amateur champion needed to make it to the bottom of the 18th hole in five strokes to win or six shots to face Wong in a playoff. He took seven.
Approximately 115 yards from the pin, Stiles' ball rested on a sanded-over divot. The golfer's wedge took a chunk out of the course and sent dirt flying, putting the pressure squarely on Stiles.
After recovering from his flubbed wedge, Stiles put his ball 15-feet from the hole. He needed to sink the long putt to force extra holes, but for the second-time in the 54-hole tournament, Stiles notched a double-bogey.
Those few feet of turf made all the difference to Wong, who walked away from the tournament with a $10,000 cheque. Stiles earned $5,500 for second place.
"I played well out there," Wong said. "I knew I had to go low and I did. I feel like I did what I had to do, but it's tough to see someone finish like that. But I hope down the road it helps Scott become a better player."
While Wong captured the tournament in dramatic fashion, it wasn't quite a match for his victory in Canadian Tour Championship on Aug. 26.
Heading into the final hole needing an eagle to win, Wong was 133 yards from the pin when he unsheathed his nine iron.
The ball bounced twice before rolling into the 72nd hole to give Wong his first professional victory in only his third attempt. Besides $16,000 in prize money, the shot assured Wong of a spot on the Canadian Tour for the next two years.
Despite a slow start at the Vancouver Open, North Vancouver's Corey Steger finished the tournament one stroke under par to earn a tie for 11th place at the tournament.
The competition was hosted by the Vancouver Parks Board.