TRURO - Paul Coulson qualified for Nova Scotia's men's mid-amateur golf team on Sunday – but he didn't do it alone.
After walking off the 12th green at Abercrombie Golf and Country Club with a par, a dejected Coulson felt his hopes of earning one of three spots on the provincial squad were all but over.
And who could blame him? After all, that par at the 12th came after a six-hole stretch, which the 47-year-old Bible Hill resident played at seven over.
Enter Ryan Butcher, a Truro clubmate of Coulson's who had earlier finished his final round and joined the gallery to offer support to his friend.
"I thought I was out of the thing and he came over to me and said, ‘You know, if you can get into the house at 12 or 13 over I think you've got a good chance of making the team,'" recalled Coulson. "So I buckled down there."
Indeed he did.
Coulson went on to play the final six holes at 1-under par and made a clutch 25-foot birdie putt on No. 18 to force a playoff against Lingan's Chad Hoffman to determine the final spot on the provincial team.
"The last seven holes I certainly played some of the best golf I've ever played," said CouIson, an engineer with the transportation department. "I made two par saves for putts that were outside of 15 feet to give myself a chance and I really settled down and got into a nice place, a nice rhythm."
The playoff hole was anticlimactic. After Coulson found the fairway with his drive on the 580-yard par-5 seventh hole, Hoffman hit his tee shot out of bounds. Coulson then knocked his second shot to the back of the green and went on to make par to punch his ticket to the national championship.
"It will be my first time. I'm looking forward to the experience, it's going to be cool," Coulson said of representing his province at nationals in Barrie, Ont., in September.
Coulson finished the 54-hole championship at 12-over 225. He led the tournament after Day 1 by shooting 1-under 70, his best round ever at an NSGA event.
Lingan's Bill Burns (219) won the title by four strokes over Ashburn's Glenn Robinson, Steven Ward of Ken-Wo and Aaron Nickerson of River Hills. Ward had earlier declared he would not attend the national championship and Burns was ineligible because he used a power cart at the provincial event.
Making Coulson's accomplishment even more special was the fact that his son Caleb, who turned 16 on Monday, caddied for him during the first and final rounds.
"It was such a cool moment to share with him," said Paul, who credited Caleb with also helping him steady the ship on Sunday. "My son's actually a pretty good hockey player, so he's given me all kinds of great sports moments, so it was nice to give him one back."