David Hearn wins Alberta Classic by one stroke

As storybook finishes go, Canadian David Hearn’s one-stroke victory at the Alberta Classic Aug. 22 may not rank among the season’s most stirring. But after four winless seasons plying his trade North of the Border, the 25-year-old with the broad smile was every bit a Canadian Cinderella story.

Hearn – whose place on the Canadian Tour Order of Merit (fourth) earned him a spot in the Alberta field – began the final 18 holes with a three-shot lead, played the front nine in 2 under and withheld a series of challenges from David McKenzie to become the seventh Canadian to win on the Nationwide Tour.

His victory was worth $81,000 and moved him to No. 39 on the Nationwide money list.

“I took a huge step today,” Hearn said. “I certainly didn’t expect (to win). I set it as a goal, and hopefully I’ll keep stepping forward.”

It’s likely the Nationwide Tour will return to Australia and New Zealand in 2005 for the now-traditional Down Under swing. What may change, however, is the site of the Jacob’s Creek Open. Australian officials said last week the event will be played at Royal Adelaide after two years at Kooyonga Golf Club, a tight course with small, fast greens that played the toughest on tour in 2003. Andrew McLardy, No. 116 on the Nationwide money list, skipped the Alberta Classic to play the WGC/NEC Invitational. McLardy, who qualified for the NEC by winning the Southern Africa Tour Championship, finished 71st at Firestone, earning $28,500.

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