Expect battle at amateur

KEN WIEBE -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 7:39 AM ET

There are two things we know heading into the Manitoba Men's Amateur Championship:

One, you can expect some fantastic golf to be played at Transcona Golf Club and St. Charles Country Club during the next four days.

And two, a new champion will be crowned sometime on Friday evening.

The fact that two-time defending champ Jordan Krantz of Vermilion Bay, Ont., has turned pro and is beginning his journey on the Tight Lies Tour could be inspiring for some who wish to follow down the same road eventually.

But for now, it's going to be an all-out battle between some of Manitoba's best golfers for the big prize in the province.

Many of those top-flight amateurs played in the Canadian Tour's MTS Classic event last week and had varying degrees of success.

Some went away frustrated but most were able to take something positive from the experience of swinging with the pros.

Tyler Mancini of Pine Ridge was one of only two amateurs to make the cut and he cruised to the low amateur status with steady play on the weekend.

At times, Scott Loewen of Elmhurst probably wished he hadn't made the cut after struggling through rounds of 84 and 85, but he's the not the type of guy who will let those two frustrating days bother him come this morning. In fact, it may serve as additional motivation for him to regain his form.

Only a couple of uncommon penalty strokes prevented Garth Collings of Breezy Bend from making the cut (he missed by just one shot) but he's still coming off his fourth consecutive Saskatchewan Mid-Amateur title and must be considered among the favourites.

Collings thoroughly enjoys just about everything regarding the amateur, except for the sometimes excruciatingly slow pace of play that has been known to stretch rounds beyond six hours at times.

The good news for him is that he's first off the tee this morning and sure to be done at least one of his rounds in less than four hours.

But the list of challengers doesn't stop there.

Stewart Bannatyne of St. Charles was knocking on the door of his first title last year before Krantz came up with a brilliant final round.

STRONG SEASONS

Bannatyne, fellow St. Charles amateur Matt Johnston and Mike Keast of Niakwa are all coming off strong seasons of collegiate golf down south and should be in the mix.

Brad Kirton of Elmhurst is having himself a fantastic season of golf. Among his highlights to date are finishing tied for third at the Canadian University/College Championship and qualifying for the World University Golf Tournament in Torino, Italy, in September.

Peter More of Elmhurst won the Manitoba Men's Match Play title and has been playing solid golf this summer, Brian Kornelsen of Pine Ridge is one of the most improved amateurs during the past few seasons and Scott Markham of Niakwa had a breakthrough year as well.

The scary thing is the aforementioned golfers are just scratching the surface.

Several other players in the diverse field could ultimately claim the top prize, so if you didn't get your fill during the professional event held at Pine Ridge last week, fear not, as there is some great golf ahead.


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