Bruins' Savard takes shot at Canadian golf title

Bruins centre Marc Savard will be in his hometown next week to take part in the Canadian Men's...

Bruins centre Marc Savard will be in his hometown next week to take part in the Canadian Men's Mid-Amateur Championship at the Royal Ottawa Golf Club. (BRIAN SNYDER/Reuters)

BRUCE GARRIOCH, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:19 PM ET

OTTAWA -- Marc Savard is trying to get his hands on another trophy this summer.

The Boston Bruins centre, who fell short in his pursuit of the Stanley Cup in the spring, will be back in his hometown next week to take part in the Canadian Men's Mid-Amateur Championship at the Royal Ottawa Golf Club.

Savard received an exemption into the mid-amateur, which will feature 156 of the top players aged 25 and up in the country.

The 33-year-old Orleans native only took up golf 13 years ago.

I never grew up around golf or anything like that," said Savard. "When I started playing in the NHL, it seemed like after the playoffs, everybody would go golfing, so I started taking it up."

He's since established himself as a zero handicap at the Kawartha Golf and Country Club in Peterborough, where he shot a 6-under 65 last week. Savard's best score is a 7-under 65 at the Oshawa Golf and Country Club three years ago.

"I know that I've got a long way to go, but (when I'm done playing in the NHL) I'd like to look at maybe trying to play on the Canadian Tour," said the competitive Savard, who also played in the mid-amateur at the London Hunt Club in 2007.

Savard, a left-handed shot on the ice, started playing golf right-handed, but became so frustrated he nearly quit for good. On a suggestion, Savard switched and shot 85 in his first round as a lefty.

Since then, he's gotten serious about golf.

It helped that Savard spent four years of his NHL career with Atlanta, where he had the opportunity to play with -- and learn from -- 2009 British Open winner Stewart Cink, a Thrashers season-ticket holder.

Not only did Savard get a glimpse of what it takes to become one of the top golfers in the world, he also had the chance to be on course during a PGA tournament as a caddie for Cink at the John Deere Classic.

"That's when I was able to get my game to the highest level," said Savard. "Just being around a guy like that day in and day out and he was really just able to give me some advice (on his game).

"(Cink) is just a great guy. When I was caddying for him in that tournament, even the other caddies said to me, 'that he's the kind of player that nobody says anything bad about.' He was really easy to work for."

Savard was to get his first glimpse of 6,552-yard, par-70 Royal Ottawa layout Friday. He and hockey adviser/friend Gerry Barker were headed out for a practice round. Savard will be Barker's guest in the Rideau View Pro-am Sunday and Monday.

Savard is aiming for a top-20 finish in the mid-amateur, at which an exemption into the 2011 RBC Canadian Open is on the line.The Royal Ottawa doesn't demand length, which is good for Savard, who admitted he's not a long hitter. Putting will be key on the small and tricky greens.

"The last time I took part in this in London I didn't even get to play a practice round. I flew right from Ottawa and had to tee off the next day," said Savard, who also tried to earn a Canadian Tour card during the NHL lockout of 2005.

"I've looked at the (Royal Ottawa) online and I know a little bit about it. It looks like a pretty tough course and I'm not sure it's going to favour a left(y) with a bit of a fade."

bruce.garrioch@sunmedia.ca


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