Wind works to advantage

KEN WIEBE -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 6:48 AM ET

ST. ANDREWS -- Dave Michaleski hasn't been playing much golf lately, but it didn't show on his home course yesterday.

After shooting a 2-under 68 yesterday at Larters at St. Andrews Golf & Country Club, Michaleski is tied for the lead with Stewart Bannatyne of St. Charles following the first round of the Manitoba Men's Amateur Championship.

"It's nice to play your home course, but you put a little extra pressure on yourself," said Michaleski, who managed five birdies, three bogeys and 10 pars. "The biggest advantage for me is when it's windy, I'm so used to the yardages. I haven't played a lot lately, I took a week off work and caddied in the MTS Classic."

GREAT EXPERIENCE

Being on the bag for Canadian Tour pro Adam Short was a great experience for Michaleski, who works for the City of Winnipeg and finished strong with three birdies to close out yesterday's round.

"He was really good, he involved me in his round," said Michaleski. "It kept my head in the game and I was very happy it wasn't me playing out there at Pine Ridge. It was hot, windy and the greens were fast and hard. I was impressed with how he played, considering he wasn't hitting the ball great."

It actually should have been a three-way tie for the lead, but Jamie Wilkie of Sandy Hook failed to give himself credit for a birdie on the 13th hole and was forced to eat the stroke after signing for a 69 on his scorecard.

"It sucks," said Wilkie, after realizing the mistake. But luckily for Wilkie, he won't be disqualified and he'll do his best to make up the stroke over the final three rounds of play.

Wilkie finds himself in a three-way tie for third with Scott Markham of Niakwa, 2005 Manitoba men's match play champion Brian Kornelsen of Pine Ridge and Scott Loewen of Elmhurst at one-under 69.

Defending men's amateur champion Jordan Krantz of Vermilion Bay, Ont., is tied for ninth at two-over 72.

Two-time men's amateur champion Garth Collings of Breezy Bend, frustrated by the slow pace of play during the five-plus hour round, shot 75 and made a strong fashion statement by wearing FootJoy rubber boots with soft spikes.

Bannatyne sustained a back injury in mid-February during his sophomore season with the Sam Houston State University Bearkats in Huntsville, Texas and is trying to get his game back in order.

"I've been playing just lousy all year," said Bannatyne. "I strained a muscle and never rehabbed it, I just kept playing and got into some terrible habits. The stupid thing was that if I had taken a week off, it wouldn't have been a problem. I didn't break 80 for about two-and-a-half months during that stretch. There would be a couple of holes each round. Keeping my driver on the golf course was a challenge. It's a process to get back."

The low scores at the Links at the Lake in Gimli were carded by Cam Preston and Russel Slobodian who were both at 71. Winnipeg Sun sports reporter Kirk Penton was tied for eighth in Gimli carding a five-over 77.

Due to the soggy conditions, the tournament is using mark, lift, clean and place rules which allow players to move the ball one club length.

The field of 171 will be trimmed to the low 60 and ties after today's second round.


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