New prize for amateurs

KIRK PENTON -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 7:23 AM ET

Golfers between the ages of 25 and 39 will have a little more to play for in this year's Manitoba men's amateur golf championship.

Golf Manitoba decided last week to award spots in the national men's mid-amateur tournament to the top three finishers in the provincial amateur who are between the ages of 25 and 39.

The move comes on the heels of the Royal Canadian Golf Association changing the mid-amateur age from 40-plus to 25-plus.

Golf Manitoba is going to wait until 2007 to make its mid-am a 25-plus event, but this summer it will use three of its 11 allotted spots in the national mid-am tournament on those between 25 and 39.

"We're fortunate we have enough spots to be able to appease everyone," said Golf Manitoba executive director Dave Comaskey.

The RCGA changed the minimum age requirement from 40 to 25 in February, primarily because most amateur championships are dominated by college players. The USGA has always used the 25-and-over format for its mid-am.

Some provinces, like B.C., Saskatchewan, Ontario and New Brunswick, are complying with the RCGA change immediately, while Manitoba, Alberta and Quebec are waiting until 2007.

That means the top four finishers in this year's Manitoba mid-am will form the provincial team. In addition, the fifth- through eighth-place finishers will also earn a spot in the national mid-am, which is slated for late August in St. Jean-sur-Richelieu, Que.

"If you take the team out of there, it's relatively close to being equal," said Comaskey of the split between age groups.

Manitoba won the interprovincial competition at last year's national mid-am in Charlottetown.

BANG FOR YOUR BUCK: Golf Manitoba is once again offering green fee discounts to people who buy 2006 memberships.

A Golf Manitoba card, at a cost of between $15 and $20, will get golfers a 10% discount at 15 to 20 Manitoba golf courses.

Golf Manitoba started the program last year with 12 courses taking part, and 11 of them have signed up to participate again this year. Comaskey expects to add four to nine more courses to the roster.

"People want to know what they're getting for their 17 dollars and 10 cents," said Comaskey. "This is something a little more tangible that people can see."

FORE THE CURE: The provincial women's alternate shot championship will be held at Pine Ridge on June 5, but this year's version will also benefit a great cause.

The event will raise money for the RCGA's "Golf Fore The Cure" program, which collects funds for breast cancer research.

Golf Manitoba will make a donation to the program, and it will ask participants in the tournament to do the same or collect pledges.


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