Getting better with age

KEN WIEBE -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 7:02 AM ET

Garth Collings of Breezy Bend didn't catch too many people off guard when he captured his fourth Manitoba Mid-Amateur Championship last week at the Steinbach Fly-In Golf Club -- not after blazing a course-record and career-low round of 10-under 62 in the opening round.

What he did do was continue to show that somehow he keeps getting better with age and is a great role model for players of any age.

"So many people could learn from him, just from his attitude in general," said University of Manitoba golf coach Garth Goodbrandson, who has worked with Collings during the past few years. "To me, he plays golf for all the right reasons."

LOVES TO PLAY

Goodbrandson went on to cite an example from last month, when Collings was first off the tee during the second round of the Manitoba Men's Amateur Championship in Gimli.

After finishing his round, Collings didn't rush off to the range but instead made a tee time at Hecla Island and played another 18 holes before resuming the tournament the next morning.

"He's a guy who loves to play the game," said Goodbrandson. "Winning and losing is as important as ever, but it's probably not life and death. So many people just have fun when they play well."

Collings, 47, carries himself well but has high expectations, whether he's playing against the young college players or guys in his peer group.

"He totally believes in himself and it's a totally neat thing," said Goodbrandson. "The confidence level is important to anybody in any sport but when it doesn't become life and death, it's easier to stay confident. That's what I've always admired about him, how much fun he has on the course. He's a fun player to watch."

CHANGES ON TRACK: Coaches Goodbrandson and Derek Ingram knew all along there was going to be a changing of the guard on the horizon for the U of M Bisons golf team.

The next step in the process is just around the corner as the Bisons' golf team will hold its annual team qualifier to determine the eight male and eight female spots for the 2005-06 squad.

The three-day event features 54 holes of play, beginning with 18 holes at Transcona Golf Club on Aug. 23 (noon start), continues with 18 holes at Winkler Golf Club (9 a.m. start) on Aug. 24 and wraps up with 18 holes at Minnewasta Golf & Country Club (11 a.m. start) on Aug. 25.

Total cost is $75 and covers the cost of green fees.

Registration forms are available on the Bisons website (www.umanitoba.ca/faculties/physed/athletics/golf/index.shtml) and the deadline for entries is Aug. 17.

During the 2004-05 season, the Bison men's team was fourth and the women's team was eighth at the RCGA Canadian University/College Championship at Duncan Meadows Golf Course in Cowichan Valley, B.C.

BACK ON TRACK: Glen Hnatiuk of Selkirk moved up 12 spots on the PGA Tour money list after his second-best finish of the season.

Hnatiuk fired a final round 5-under 67 at Warwick Hills Golf & Country Club on Sunday to tie for 22nd at the Buick Open and cash a check for $38,410.

Hnatiuk, who is playing on a major medical exemption this season because he had surgery on his elbow last May, has earned $170,112 through 17 events and is up to 183rd spot on the money list.

The 40-year-old is currently tied for 18th on Tour in greens in regulation, but will need to pocket close to $350,000 in his next three events in order to avoid going back to PGA Tour Qualifying School.

Hnatiuk is not scheduled to play at The International this week in Castle Pines, Colorado.

CHIP SHOTS: Ashlen Christie of Winnipeg, Sarah Stebeleski of Lorette, Brittney Piche of Brandon and two-time Manitoba Junior Girls Champion Kaitlin Troop of Brandon are representing Manitoba at the RCGA Royale National Junior Girls Championship at Arbutus Ridge Golf & Country Club in Cobble Hill, B.C. ... The 54-hole Manitoba Men's Senior Championship gets underway today at Southwood Country Club ... The 36-hole Manitoba Men's Amateur Senior Rural Championship goes Sunday and next Monday at Selkirk ... The Canadian Tour schedule resumes on Thursday with the $150,000 Montreal Open.


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