Hnatiuk within striking distance

KEN WIEBE -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 7:10 AM ET

Selkirk product Glen Hnatiuk didn't hesitate to use the word when asked to describe his golf season on the Nationwide Tour to date -- "Mediocre."

Very mediocre actually," Hnatiuk said yesterday from St. Cloud, Minn., while driving home for tomorrow's 4th annual Investors Group Glen Hnatiuk Open at Selkirk Golf and Country Club. "I've seen a lot of bright spots in my swing and ball striking and even putting but I get all kinds of things within the same round, which tells me the consistency is just not there.

"I feel like I'm improving, which is important, but I still have a lot of work to do and a lot of improving to do."

The good news is that Hnatiuk is within striking distance of where he wants to get back to.

'COMBINATION OF THINGS'

He currently sits 54th on the money list with $48,164 in earnings and needs to finish in the Top-20 in order to restore his exempt privileges on the PGA Tour.

"It's a combination of things," said Hnatiuk, who has made eight of 12 cuts and produced a pair of Top-10 finishes, including a season-best tie for fifth at the Rheem Classic. "If you're not getting the ball close enough, the (numbers) can be misconstrued. It looks like you're not putting well, but if you're not getting the ball close it makes a big difference.

"At the same time, I'm missing a lot of makeable putts. The short game and putting is not as sharp as it should be but then again, there's time when my iron play isn't as sharp. It's a little bit of everything."

The four-time winner on the Nationwide Tour said it's been interesting going back to his roots after his medical exemption on the PGA Tour expired late last year ($185,162 in 21 events to finish 199th on the money list).

"It brings back a lot of memories," said Hnatiuk, who hadn't played on the Nationwide (then the Nike) Tour since 1999. "I'm playing a lot of different golf courses. The competition is very, very tough. The golf courses we play week in and week out might not be as tough as those on the regular tour but the scores show the competition is still good because the scoring is so low.

"Coming back, I don't know many names but guys I've never heard of are winning. The competition is very, very strong everywhere."

As for his health, Hnatiuk says his elbow and knee, which required surgery in January, are feeling pretty good.

"It's fine," said Hnatiuk. "The elbow pretty good. Every once and a while it gets a little bit sore, but nothing to where I can't swing. The knee seems to be pretty good. It's not 100% but it's a lot better than it was."

After spending a few days at home with his family, Hnatiuk plans to play in the next four Nationwide Tour events and see where that brings him.

"It depends on where I'm at at that point in time," said Hnatiuk. "There may come a time I need to play most of them in order to reach my goal. We'll wait and see and re-evaluate after that."

One thing Hnatiuk never needs to re-evaluate is how enjoyable a trip to his home province can be.

"It's a lot of fun obviously," said Hnatiuk. "Being able to do it at Selkirk is great. I get to see my parents, my brothers and my wife and daughters get to see everybody.

"It's great to see what's grown and what hasn't. It's a blast."


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