Kirton happy just to hang in there

KEN WIEBE -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 7:36 AM ET

This was what you might call hanging tough.

Aside from bringing home a lifetime of precious memories, Winnipegger Brad Kirton learned he wasn't overmatched against many of the greatest university golfers on the planet.

"I maybe left a couple (strokes) out there, but I know I can hang with pretty much most of the university golfers in the world," said Kirton, who returned from Turin, Italy on Sunday after finishing in a tie for 31st at the World University Golf Championship. "That's definitely a big positive. It's satisfying to know you put in all the hard work and you finally get something out of it and something to show for it."

Kirton carded rounds of 74-71-72-75 to finish at 4-over 292, which was 19 shots behind winner Yuta Ikeda of Japan.

"I just saw it as a chance to go and enjoy the experience, I wasn't too concerned about anything," said Kirton, who plays out of Elmhurst and is gearing up for his second season with the Manitoba Bisons golf program. "It was an awesome time."

Canada (853) was fourth in the team competition, finishing two strokes behind Great Britain for the bronze medal and hanging tough with the United States (847), which took silver. Japan won the 15-team tournament with an 841 total.

"This says a lot about university golf in Canada and about the Bisons," said Kirton. "The team as a whole, we got along well and had a whole lot a laughs."

What did Kirton think of the golf course itself?

"It was similar to a Pine Ridge or Elmhurst or St. Charles, where you have to hit shots and be patient," he explained. "You definitely had to hit fairways. If you were anywhere wayward you had to try and create something out of the trees and try to get up and down for par. You had to be very precise with yardage, there wasn't a lot of run-up and you had to shape your shots. It was a real shot-maker's golf course and that's why I was so consistent and able to do as well as I did."

One of the things Kirton talked about heading into the event was enjoying the culture of the country that hosted the 2006 Olympics and recently captured soccer's prestigious World Cup.

"It's a very proud country," said Kirton. "We drove by the Juventus soccer stadium, which was on the way to the golf course. Just walking around, there is fashion everywhere. There's no shopping malls, just little shops that have a bunch of different things. It was pretty cool to walk around on marble and granite sidewalks. It's really laid back over there."


Videos

Photos