Saskatchewan’s top amateur golfers will call Cooke Municipal Golf Course home next week when the Men’s Amateur, Women’s Amateur and Mid-Amateur Championships get underway in Prince Albert.
Tournament director Steve Ryde said registrations are already full for all three events, which begin on July 12. He is confident that the course will provide all participants with a healthy challenge.
“Cooke Municipal is one of the best courses in Saskatchewan and the Prairies, in my opinion,” Ryde said. “I know all the players are excited.”
Prince Albert has not hosted the men’s and women’s amateur tournaments since the 90s. Kim Brozer of Melfort finished two strokes ahead of Jodi Wilhelm of Estevan to win the Women’s Amateur Championship at Cooke Municipal in 1991. Four years later, Colin Coben of Delisle finished four strokes ahead of Ron Stewart of Prince Albert and Keith Thompson of Lethbridge to win the Men’s Amateur Championship in 1995.
Coben also won the Mid-Am Championship the last time it was held in Prince Albert. He won a playoff against Raymond Field of Saskatoon to win the 1996 tournament at Cooke Municipal.
“Location is the number one priority when we select leagues,” Ryde said. “Obviously with Cooke being a Championship facility, we expect a full field.”
Poor playing conditions hampered golf tournaments in the North this summer. Recently, PGA Tour Canada officials canceled the inaugural Elk Ridge Open after receiving 10 inches of rain in 10 days.
The weather forecast calls for a mix of sun and cloud for July 12-14, with a chance of thunderstorms developing on July 15, the last day for the male fan.
Ryde said they were ready for anything.
“With Mother Nature, we can only schedule it for days, sometimes even hours,” he said. “We will act accordingly. I know the superintendents and the field crew will have this course in top condition.
The tournament will have plenty of local flavor heading into the first day of action. Prince Albert’s Danny Klughart is looking for his first win at the Men’s Amateur Championship since 2019, when he won a playoff round against Jehremy Ryde in Saskatoon. Klughhart finished second in the 2002 Men’s Championship at Warman and the 2021 Tournament at Swift Current. He has also won the last three mid-amateur championships.
Klughart said local golfers will have a small advantage on the home course heading into the competition, but that alone won’t be enough to win.
“We know the layout, and Cooke is a very unique and tricky golf course, so having that knowledge is definitely a huge advantage,” he said. “Getting comfortable, refining the short game and the putt, and making sure we hit the ball in the right places on the golf course to eliminate those big mistakes will be the best strategy.”
On the women’s side, Yorkton’s Ella Kozak won the 2021 tournament in Swift Current, beating Regina’s Autumn Neiszner by a stroke. Shell Lake’s Brooklyn Fry won the 2020 Women’s Championship, beating Saskatoon’s Kathy Ziglo at Warman.
Fry is also competing at the Saskatchewan Junior Championships, which begin today in Regina.
Klughart will also co-chair Sask. Amateur Championships, with Brett Blackely and Cory Selander. As organizer, Klughart said it was great to have the amateur tournaments back in Prince Albert.
“It’s really exciting,” he said. “The golf course is in fantastic condition. Pierre (Cooke Municipal Golf Course Superintendent, Pierre Vezeau) and his staff did a great job. It’s probably one of the best years the greens have wintered in, I would say, the last 10-12 years, so that’s really exciting. We are lucky to host an event like this when the golf course is like this.
For more information on the Saskatchewan Amateur Golf Championships, visit www.golfsaskatchewan.org.