McDonald regains Classic crown
That sound emanating from Kitchen Creek Golf Club this past weekend was Alex McDonald stomping all over his opposition.
The former Fort Frances resident, who now resides in Winnipeg, carded back-to-back rounds of 72 to finish with a two-day total of even-par 144 and an easy seven-stroke victory over runner-up Greg Tighe at the 37th-annual Kitchen Creek Classic.
“I think I only missed one putt from seven feet in,” he added.
McDonald led Tighe and Kevin Jackson by three shots after Saturday’s action. Tighe shot a solid 76 yesterday to follow up his 75 and come in at 7-over 151, while Jackson ballooned to an 85 and completed the weekend at 16-over 160.
Colin Drombolis finished third in the championship flight (77-76-153), while Jordan Davis took fourth spot (76-79-155).
McDonald moved to Winnipeg this past year and hooked up with swing coach Kris Ehnes, who revamped not only McDonald’s technique, but his approach to the game.
“He’s really worked with me on course management,” said McDonald.
“When to go for it or not and that really paid off on Saturday on No. 6. I went left off the tee and probably had 250 yards to the flag. Last year, I would have went for it, but this year, I decided to lay up within 50 yards. I got the up-and-down for par,” he added.
McDonald’s key moment on Sunday came on No. 10, his first hole of the day. He hit the ball onto the ninth fairway off the tee, but still managed to get up and down for birdie.
His strong play continued on No. 11, when he landed the ball two feet past the pin and watched it backpedal to the edge of the hole to set up another easy birdie.
“I know Greg (Tighe) was capable of shooting 70, 71 so I still had to try and stay focused,” said McDonald about protecting his sizable lead.
Coming into the tournament, McDonald knew the target was on his back.
“After the first round yesterday, you hear guys saying, ‘What’s Al at?’,” said McDonald. “When everyone’s coming up to you asking, ‘What did you shoot?,” that usually means they shot pretty low. I was shocked that I was up by three after (Saturday).”
McDonald credited caddy and good friend Braeden Caul for helping keep him on track during the tourney.
“It’s good to have someone to talk to out there and keep me focused, even if he’s agreeing with everything I say,” noted McDonald with a grin.
McDonald’s next challenge comes later this month when he travels to Minneapolis to take part in the U.S. Amateur Championship qualifying tournament. The one-day event will see competitors shoot a total of 36 holes in what will be a serious physical and mental test of their golfing acumen.
“Coming in off a win like this, I’m going in with confidence,” said McDonald.
The first flight title went to Dwayne Sinclair (77-76-153), with Max Vaclav in second (80-75-155), Brian Beers in third (81-76-157) and Doug Brown in fourth (80-78-158).
Second-flight top honours went to Blake Cawston (80-86-166), followed by J.R. Ewing (86-86-171), Sean Harnett (81-90-171) and Cedo Jankowicz (87-88-175).
Faron Caribou (91-91-182) was the best of the third flight, followed by Bill Morrison (96-92-188), Gord Hoskins (98-97-195) and Adam Bolen (98-99-197).