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A taste of the Timberwolf on Toronto Players Tour

John Maley seldom enjoys the opportunity to showcase his home course for his golfing buddies - but when he does, the pride just beams through.

"It was just a pleasure to play it the past couple of days," suggested the 27 year-old pro and long-time member of the Timberwolf Golf Club. "It was unanimously liked by the entire field."

"Russ (Toronto Players Tour director Russell Budd) said that he wants to come back next year."

Along with siblings and Timberwolf clubmates Michael and Stephen Gonko, Maley accounts for pretty much the only Sudbury content on the mid-level tour circuit that would include the likes of the Great Lakes Tour, the ECPT (East Coast Pro Tour) or the Mandarin Tour.

Last week, some thirty of so golfers, most of whom made their way up to Sudbury from southern Ontario, spent two days enjoying local hospitality, as well as everything that Timberwolf has to offer.

"I'm just really proud to have these guys out here," said Maley. "The course is in great shape."

It was clearly to the liking of Matthew Shubley, the 25 year-old member of the Oshawa Golf Club who fired rounds of 69 and 70 to post a three shot victory over both Michael Gonko and Chris Wilson (Toronto).

"This course plays to my strength, which is ball striking, driver through irons," said Shubley, whose only previous experience at the venue dated back to the Ontario Juniors in 2014.

"You have to keep the ball in front of you here, hit some tough quality shots into some of the greens, which plays to my advantage."

Joining a number of the visiting brigade in making the trek to Sudbury to prepare for the Mackenzie Tour beginning in August, Shubley noted that course and weather conditions made scoring well all that more challenging.

"It was nicer today than yesterday, a little less breezy, but the wind was still a pretty big factor, with a couple of pin placements out there that made it a little bit tricky."

Maley was just three shots out of the lead as day two began, as he looked to capitalize on his familiarity with these fairways and greens. "If you're going to talk local advantage here, it's more just knowing where to miss on the greens," he suggested.

"There are a few subtle breaks on the greens. A lot of putts on seven, for instance, don't break as much just because of the water influence."

Unfortunately, Maley would fall off the pace in round two, falling victim to an on-going pitfall. "I've been driving it well, hitting most of my shots well," he said. "I've just been struggling trying to get it together on the second day."

"It's been a little bit of a grind on the second day."

As for the months to come, Maley is back on the road, competing in Montreal and looking forward to upcoming events in Collingwood and Victoriaville. Though he is contemplating taking a crack at "Q" school, the likelihood is that he will wait one more year.

"I'm probably going to continue working on my game," said Maley. "I need a little more yardage - I don't quite hit it far enough to play out there just yet."

Improvement, it seemed, was the theme of the day.

"This is probably not the best I've ever played, but it's gotten considerably better since I turned pro," said Shubley. "Everybody's goal is to win, but I want to focus on keeping my card for now and see how the season plays out."

The top ten finishers at the Sudbury tour stop were:

1st - Matthew Shubley - 139
T-2 - Michael Gonko - 142
T-2 - Chris Wilson - 142
T-4 - Andrew Ledger - 144
T-4 - Jesse Smith - 144
T-6 - Stephen Gonko - 145
T-6 - Brendan Leonard - 145
T-6 - Anthony Brodeur - 145
T-9 - Jacob Lacko* - 146
T-9 - Mitch Sutton - 146
* denotes amateur status
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