Amateur wins Alberta Open

ROBERT TYCHKOWSKI -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 7:42 AM ET

Kris Wasylowich poked his head out the window before his tee time yesterday and couldn't believe the perfect weather. Cold, overcast, windy, ready to pour - everything he could ever want in final-round conditions.

A day after ideal scoring conditions at RedTail Landing yielded an unofficial course record 64 from first round leader James Love, it turned into monsoon season, just the way Wasylowich likes it.

He made the most of it, too. One of only six players in the 127-man field to break par yesterday, Wasylowich braved the elements with a final round 71 and a three-shot win at the Alberta Open. His 66-71-137 left him three shots clear of Love, the 21-year-old from Calgary who went 64-76-140.

"I was actually kind of hoping for some bad weather because I knew if the weather was good James might go out and shoot 66 or 64 and be unreachable,'' said the 25-year-old from Lethbridge, who started the final day two shots back of Love.

"A little bad weather made my chances a lot better.''

Indeed, the best Love could do was four-over 76 and was out of the mix early. He double-bogeyed the second and 10th holes and before he knew it the two-shot lead was a four-shot deficit.

"It didn't go good from the start,'' said Love, who plays golf for the University of Denver.

STRUGGLED FROM THE START

"I birdied the first hole, then I doubled two, bogeyed three, bogeyed four ... it was a struggle from the start. I got it back to two down after 12 and then I three-putted 13 and that was kind of the end of it.

"I'm pretty disappointed, but, oh well. Kris just played really good coming in. He won it, definitely.''

With cold, gusting winds playing havoc with club selection and ball flight, par was great score on most holes.

"I've played this tournament three years and this is the hardest it's ever been on this golf course,'' said Wasylowich. "Once I knew that I was in the lead by a couple, I was just trying to make pars and go from there.If the putt went in, the putt went in. If not, oh well.''

FIRST WIN

His first win comes after T8 and T6 finishes the last two years and makes him the first champion from southern Alberta after Stu Hendley (Red Deer) and Brandon Markiw (Edmonton) won in 2003 and 2004.

It also completed a southern Alberta sweep of the top four spots. Love held on for second, while 17-year-old Mitchell Fox (Okotooks) and Travis Inlow (Calgary) rounded out the top four at two-under 142. Inlow, despite finishing in a tie for third, takes home the first prize of $3,500 as top professional. As an amateur, Wasylowich took home $800 in gift certificates and a keeper trophy. It's the second straight year an amateur has won.

"Seeing the likes of Wes Heffernan (67-76-143) and Kent Fukushima (68-76-144), guys we all look up to because they're playing on the Canadian Tour,'' said Wasylowich, who's working on his archeology degree and wants to stay an amateur so he can play in the Alberta and possibly Canadian Amateur tournaments. "It's nice to play in a tournament with them and coming out on top is even better.''

Fox, a high school student who started playing in the Alberta Open at 15, has been in the top 10 all three years (7th, 10th and now T3).

"I didn't play good, but I scored well all week,'' he said. "It could have been a lot better today. I bogeyed the last hole. But I like this course.''

He won't be playing in the provincial amateur match play championships starting today at RedTail because of other commitments.

"I've missed nine of the last 10 days of school,'' he said. "And we've got diploma exams coming up.''


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