Birdie bonanza takes title

PAUL TURENNE -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 7:08 AM ET

Stewart Bannatyne could only sit and watch in wonder yesterday as the lead he held throughout the Manitoba Men's Amateur Championship was snatched from him in incredible fashion.

Bannatyne, a member of Winnipeg's St. Charles Country Club, held at least a share of the lead after each of the amateur's first three rounds, and held a one-stroke lead over Elmhurst's Scott Loewen going into yesterday's fourth and final round at Links at the Lake near Gimli.

But it wasn't a great round from Loewen or a personal collapse that cost Bannatyne the championship--both, in fact, shot 70 yesterday--it was a phenomenal 7-under-par round of 65 that did him in. That round came courtesy of defending champion Jordan Krantz, who came from four shots back to snatch the title by one stroke.

"I would have taken a 70 at the beginning of the day. There's not much you can say when a guy goes out and shoots a 65," said Bannatyne, who finished the tournament tied for second with Niakwa's Scott Markham, who also had a sensational day yesterday with a 66.

Loewen finished alone in fourth at four-under for the tournament.

For Krantz, a Vermilion Bay, Ont., native who becomes the first Manitoba Men's Amateur champion to successfully defend his title since Rob McMillan did it in 1996, the timing of a final-round 65 could not have been better.

"I've only shot it one other time," he said, noting 65 equals his best score ever. "That's probably my best closing round for sure."

ONE SHOT AT A TIME

Krantz came into yesterday's round four shots off the pace at plus-1, but was not worried he couldn't catch up.

"I knew if I played well (yesterday) I would have a chance," he said. "It was definitely my mindset that made the difference."

"I was really trying to make one shot at a time."

"I birdied the first three holes and that was a great start," said Krantz. "I just hit a lot of greens today and I hit a ton of putts."

Krantz finished the day with seven birdies and no bogies.

As the top four finishers in the amateur, Krantz, Bannatyne, Markham, and Loewen will form Manitoba's Willingdon Cup team, which will represent the province at the Canadian Men's Amateur Championship in Baddeck, N.S., Aug. 12 to 19.

"I think we're going to do great. All four of us showed we could play and all four of us showed we could deal with the pressure," said Bannatyne.

Matt Johnston, Peter More and Tyler Mancini, who finished fifth, sixth and seventh at the amateur, have also qualified for the Canadian amateur, but will not be part of Team Manitoba and will have to pay their own way there.

Garth Collings and Dave Michaleski, who both finished tied with Mancini and therefore also qualified for the Canadian amateur, have indicated that they will not be attending.


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