WINDSOR JUNCTION, N.S. -- On what was already a long day, Roger Sloan decided to play one extra hole and boy, was it worth it.
Sloan, of Merritt, B.C., calmly rolled in an eight-foot putt on the first playoff hole to defeat Derek Fathauer and capture the inaugural Nova Scotia Open. It was the Canadian's first Web.com Tour win and it came after the tournament's final 37 holes were played on a marathon of a Sunday.
“It feels good. I don't know what feels better,” Sloan joked. “To win or to be done today. That was a long day.”
After draining his final putt and raising his arms in the air, the crowd broke out into a spontaneous rendition of "O Canada." It had meaning for the Calgary-born Sloan, who said he'd earmarked the first-year tournament stop on his calendar as soon as he heard it announced. His great-grandfather emigrated from Holland to Canada in 1955 and landed at Pier 21 in Halifax.
“Deep down, I wanted to win this tournament since I saw it was in the works,” Sloan stated. “It's just so refreshing to be back in Canada. I'm excited to have done this on Canadian soil.”
The victory, which came while his mother and aunt looked on from the large gallery, gave him $117,000 and moved him to 12th on the tour's money list, up from 80th. It also means he's in excellent position to finish the year inside the top 25 and earn a spot on next year's PGA Tour.
But the tall, blond-haired Sloan, who now makes his home in Houston wasn't thinking about that just yet. He was there to savour the win and to bask in the satisfaction of getting the job done. Holding the Nova Scotian Crystal trophy over his head, it was clear the main thing on his mind was breaking through for a win.
“All year, I've been jumping up leaderboards and I get a little bit of nerves and make a bogey," he said. "You know what's on the line. You play well you're going to make money and, if you make money, you're going to get a PGA Tour card. And I'm absolutely thrilled that I didn't let that distract me this week. I did not think about the PGA Tour once.”
Of course, the money will come in handy. Sloan has no sponsors and has essentially bankrolled his own career to this point. It will also be interesting now to see if Golf Canada will find a place for him in the RBC Canadian Open in a few weeks time. Despite some requests, he'd been turned down for a spot up to this point.
Sloan held a share of the 36-hole lead and sat on that when tropical storm Arthur forced a suspension of play on Saturday. When he started the third round early Sunday morning, he admitted there were some nerves.
“When I teed off in the morning in the third round, that's probably the most nervous I was all day,” said Sloan. “My first seven or eight holes, I scrambled very well. I didn't hit too many great tee shots, I didn't hit too many quality approach shots but my short game and my putter kept me in it for the first eight holes. After that, finally I started to get a little bit of rhythm, after that I felt comfortable the rest of the day.”
After finishing his first round of the day, Sloan remained tied for the lead with Derek Fathauer at -10, but some shaky play in his final 18 changed that, as he bogeyed the eighth, ninth and 12th holes. Meanwhile a six-under front nine by Fathauer gave him the lead.
On the 17th, Sloan hit a hybrid to the green, but the shot landed left, took a horrible kick, rolled down a steep embankment and nearly into a hazard. Somehow, he managed to extricate himself from the tangle for a par.
Playing two groups ahead, Fathauer stumbled in with bogeys on the 16th and 18th, the latter a three-putt on the tricky greens at Ashburn Golf Club.
Walking up the final hole, Sloan, with his ball sitting on the fringe, asked his caddie where their position.
'I had zero awareness all day long,'' Sloan said. ''[On 18] I turned to my caddie and I asked him ‘Do you know where we stand?' He said ‘Yes,' I said ‘OK go ahead and tell me' and he said ‘Well we're sitting in good position and if you want to make a playoff you just need to get up and down.'”
The victory makes the Sloan the third Canadian to win a Web.com Tour event on Canadian soil, joining Richard Zokol (2001 Samsung Canadian PGA Championship) and David Hearn (2004 Alberta Classic).
And he joins Adam Hadwin, who showered Sloan with beer after the win, as Canadians with victories this year.
After a long day and the biggest win of his career, what were Sloan's plans for celebration?
“Sleep,” he stated. “I have a 5:30 a.m. flight.”