A gaggle of golfing greatness and gaffes

From local fairways to the tee boxes of Thunder Bay and the greens of the world’s most revered course at St. Andrews, Scotland, it’s been a full week for those who play and follow the grand old game.
Start with the Kitchen Creek Golf Club’s Senior Men’s Open last Wednesday.
Bart Vollmer of International Falls emerged from a Gretzky-sized field of 99 competitors to capture the event—proving that success at Kitchen Creek is not the sole domain of those who sport Canadian passports.
Meanwhile, the Staal Foundation Open at Whitewater Golf Club in Thunder Bay boasted a multinational field of 155, with a berth at the RBC Canadian Open in Oakville, which runs this week.
JJ Spaun held off fellow American Nicholas Reach by one stroke—carding a four-day total of 18-under 270 to punch his ticket to Oakville.
Corey Connors, the top Canadian, finished two back at 16-under 272 to seal third place.
The bottom end of the tournament standings proved golf scoffs at celebrity status and can be malicious to even the greatest athletic achievers.
Finishing dead last among those who played at least two full rounds was none other than five-time Stanley Cup champion goalie Grant Fuhr.
The Hall-of-Fame netminder, whose love of golf has been well-documented over the decades, was looking for a cool beverage at the clubhouse after shooting rounds of 83 and 84 to finish a sky-high 23-over in missing the cut.
Joining him in the Open’s Hall of Shame was former Boston Bruins’ forward Marc Savard, who never even made it through 36 holes.
Savard shot an opening round of three-over 75, but already had fired a 69 part way through his second round before withdrawing from the tournament.
Then there was the heavenly chaos across the pond, where The Open Championship (some of you may remember it as the British Open) at the Royal and Ancient Golf Club proved not to be for the weak of heart.
In the end, it was American Zach Johnson, who won his only other major eight years ago, winning a four-hole playoff over South African Louis Oosthuizen and Australian Marc Leishman.
It was nearly a four-man playoff as this year’s Masters and U.S. Open champion, Jordan Speith, made a spirited charge down the back nine from three shots back as he tried to extend his pursuit of golf’s modern Grand Slam (the PGA Championship being the final major of the year).
Speith had pundits and fans alike abuzz when he tied for the lead on the 15th hole. But he then missed a crucial par putt on the 17th to fall one stroke short of being part of the playoff.
St. Andrews served like the backdrop to a live presentation of “The Wizard of Oz” as gale-force winds postponed play in Round 2 on Saturday enough that the tournament’s final round was moved to Monday.
The only down note of the golf week—outside of Speith’s run at the “Slam” going astray—was the cancellation of the RBC and Kitchen Creek Golf Tournament this past Saturday.
The next major tournaments on its calendar are the club championships for ladies (July 28), senior men (July 29), and men (July 30).
Over at Heron Landing Golf Course, their next noteworthy tournament takes place Aug. 5 when the Senior Tournament takes over the links.
Time to go book TSN to cover the upcoming Fort France Times’ staff golf extravaganza scheduled for later this summer.
It’s can’t-miss golf—can’t miss the trees, can’t miss the rough, can’t miss the bunkers, and can’t miss the water.

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