Badiuk repeats as ‘Classic’ champion

Rob Badiuk held on to his title as Kitchen Creek Classic champion over the weekend.
“Being defending champion, you kind of put a lot of pressure on yourself to do well,” Badiuk said. “To be able to actually repeat makes you feel really good.”
Badiuk, who lives over in International Falls, carded 72 on Saturday and then a sizzling 68 on Sunday to finish eight strokes ahead of runner-up Steve Bryk from Atikokan in the championship flight.
This is the fourth time Badiuk has captured the Kitchen Creek Classic title. He credited his win to being able to keep the ball in play.
“I have worked on my game a little bit this year,” he noted. “Just hitting fairways and greens gives you opportunities for birdie putts.
Badiuk also said because he knows the course well, he was able to play it well.
“There’s holes there that you can take advantage of and I [did],” he remarked. “The par-fives are relatively short, most of them can be hit with an iron or a wood for second shot, and I was able to get on or near the green.
“The main thing was that I drove the ball well and kept the ball in play,” he stressed. “That allowed me to have birdie opportunities, and I had four of them.”
Although 68 is not the lowest Badiuk has carded in tournament play, he said it’s the lowest score recorded at the Kitchen Creek Classic.
Sixty-six golfers in five flights took part in the two-day tournament, with Kitchen Creek manager Donna Lee saying there were a lot of positive comments despite the low number of participants.
“We are optimistic that this will grow from here, hopefully to the state that it used to be,” Lee said.
In its prime during the late 1980s and early 1990s, the Kitchen Creek Classic would attract 180 golfers.
Lee said the lower turnout might be due to the aging membership at the club.
“I know that a lot of our core members that came from the [old] Rainy Lake Golf and Country Club to here are now in our seniors’ bracket,” Lee noted. “We just had a seniors’ tournament that had a hundred golfers.”
Badiuk agreed the tournament is different to compete in with fewer golfers.
“Obviously it’s not like the old ‘Classic’ used to be, seeing as there was less people,“ he remarked. “Obviously less people means less competition, but there are still some good golfers out there.”
In order to try to encourage more competitors, Lee said they are considering adding a seniors’ flight in future years.
Despite the low turnout, Lee said they still had several participants from out of town, including Atikokan, Thunder Bay, and Minneapolis.
With Badiuk taking the overall title, Earl Klyne topped the first flight with a two-day score of 151.
The other flight winners were Todd Bryk (151), Lorne Ricard (165), and Tanner Ward (182).