Andrade wins Canadian Open

As Billy Andrade stood peering over the sight line of the 35-foot putt, a crystal-clear image suddenly formed itself in his mind.

“I thought, ‘I’m going to win this tournament,’” he recalls. “’That means I’ve got to make this putt.’”

And he did.

The putt saved par for Andrade on the 72nd hole of regulation play and sent him into a sudden-death playoff with pairing partner Bob Friend on the final day of the 1998 Bell Canadian Open, the annual PGA TOUR event that is considered the national golf championship of Canada. Andrade would go on to win the event on the first hole of sudden death, his first PGA TOUR victory in seven years.

Andrade, who is sponsored by Southern Company and wears a Southern Company logo on his hat and shirt sleeve throughout the season, is currently on the 1998 PGA TOUR money list. He’ll be competing over the next several weeks for a potential spot in THE TOUR Championship – the PGA TOUR’s season-ending tournament that is co-presented by Southern Company and Mercedes-Benz.

THE TOUR Championship features the top 30 money-winners on the PGA TOUR. This year’s event will be staged Oct. 29 - Nov. 1 at Atlanta’s East Lake Golf Club.

The Bell Canadian victory – and its $396,000 first prize – could help place Andrade among the top 30 by the end of the regular season. “We’re thrilled for Billy,” said Southern Company chief marketing officer Alan Martin. “He’s such a first-class person and talented golfer, you just knew that at some point he would break through and win one.

“His increased visibility adds value for us, both in terms of enhancing our relationships with customers and other key decision-makers and in terms of building the Southern Company brand through exposure in the media. He’s clearly a winner on both fronts.”

Andrade has won twice before on the PGA TOUR with back-to-back victories in the Kemper Open and the Buick Classic in 1991. His previous best finish in 1998 was a tie for fifth place at the Phoenix Open in January.