It says a lot about a golfer when he comes back, late in the season, from a debilitating wrist injury, to win a tour event. It says more when he does so with the tour’s top golfer breathing birdies down his neck. Ergo, there’s a lot to be said for David Pastore. The Connecticut native and UVirginia graduate made birdie four on the devilish¬†18th at Cherry Hill Club in Ridgeway, Ontario, Canada, to dispatch, once and for all, Dan McCarthy of Syracuse. For Pastore, the victory in the inaugural Niagara Championship on PGA Tour Canada might represent affirmation of the talent he began to show in 2015, when he finished 31st on the PGA Tour Canada order of merit. In all honesty, it probably represents much more.

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The victory elevated Pastore to 13th on the tour’s Order of Merit. In order to advance automatically to the Web.Com tour for 2017, Pastore would have to win another $25000 next week in London. The odds on that are long, but the odds on Pastore making it to London were even longer. He began the week in Ridgeway just inside the top 200 on tour, and needed to move into the top 60 to qualify on to the season-ending Freedom 55 Financial Championship. Although Paul McConnell stole the headlines on day one with his course record 63, Pastore was positioned just fine with a 66 of his own. Day two saw McConnell shoot 71, collapsing from minus-twelve to minus-eight over the last six holes of the day. Pastore took advantage with a run of his own, and took over the top spot that he would never truly relinquish. Although he was joined at the leaders’ table by¬†Vaita Guillaume after round three, the sense around Cherry Hill was that Pastore was in charge. Despite McCarthy’s best efforts, the inaugural Niagara Championship cup was destined to reside in Connecticut.

It’s hard to believe that McCarthy had six bogeys in his opening 72. considering that he totaled five more over the next 54 holes. No one was hotter than the tour number one over the final three rounds, but his rally came up one putt shy of a playoff. As consolation, with one tournament remaining, McCarthy has earned more money in a single season on the Mackenzie Tour PGA Tour Canada than any golfer in history. Currently at just under $157K for 2K17, McCarthy should crack the $160K barrier in the year’s final event. His winnings are nearly double that of Brock Mackenzie, number two on the money list.

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(All Photos Courtesy of the Mackenzie Tour PGA Tour Canada.)