Collings cruises to title

KEN WIEBE -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 6:55 AM ET

STEINBACH -- The third time may have been a charm for Garth Collings, but the fourth will always hold special significance.

Collings capped a spectacular 54-holes of golf with a four-under 68 at Steinbach Fly-In Golf Club yesterday to give him a three-day total of 15-under 201, which gave him a 10-stroke victory in the Manitoba Mid-Amateur Championship over Bruce North of Carman.

"Four feels great," said Collings, who also won the event in 2000, 2002 and 2003 but was forced to miss last year's tournament with a hand injury. "Anytime you win a provincial title ... I'm pretty excited."

And so he should be.

Collings took much of the drama out of the event by producing a course record and career-low 10-under 62 in the first round, but he was feeling a bit of pressure as North got his round to six-under at one point before giving three strokes back to finish with a final-round 69.

"I made an eagle on 16, which was huge. I made a 40-foot putt and kind of closed the door," said Collings, who passed on some credit to caddie and close friend Barry Legge. "That made me feel better anyway."

Back in 2003, Collings captured both the Canadian Club Champions Championship and Canadian Mid-Amateur Championship.

The scary thing is that Collings may have stepped up his game since then.

"It's hard to say, but I think I'm hitting the ball better, feeling better and putting better," said Collings, who captured his third consecutive Saskatchewan Mid-Amateur title earlier this month. "I've had some great rounds this year."

North was thrilled with his finish and is excited to have the opportunity to go to another national championship.

"That was my whole goal, the sole objective because it will be a lot of fun," said North, who was the runner-up at the 2001 Canadian Mid-Amateur Championship in B.C. "It all depends on what my game is like when I go, if I can get a few things like putting and chipping (going) a little bit better. I'm feeling comfortable with my driving. My golf season basically starts at this point and I'm hoping to improve between now and then since I'm in the education business. I get two months off in the summertime and I go fishing to start, but from now on I can actually play a lot more golf. This was the first time I've played three games in a row."

Helmut Dahl of The Province Golf Club in B.C., finished third at 212, Mark Starodub of Pine Ridge and Pinawa was fourth at 215 and Dean Stowell of Transcona was fifth at 216.

Because Dahl is from out of province, he won't be part of the Manitoba team that heads to Charlottetown, P.E.I., for the RCGA Canadian Mid-Amateur Championship from Aug. 22 to 28. The team will be comprised of Collings, North, Starodub and Stowell.

CHIP SHOTS: Dean North of St. Charles captured the Manitoba PGA Championship yesterday at Elmhurst, carding a 71 to give him an eight-stroke victory over Rob Doucette of Southside. North picked up $3,500 for the victory.


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