End of a Golden era

JIM BENDER -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 7:42 AM ET

One of the most prestigious golf tourneys in Manitoba history has come to a close.

The Golden Falcon will no longer fly at the Falcon Lake Golf Course because it has lost its talons.

"It is the end of a golden era," Sandy Kurceba, Falcon's pro, said yesterday. "When the Grey Owl got bigger and stronger, the Golden Falcon lost its lustre."

But for most of its 42 years, the Golden Falcon was the place to be for Manitoba's top club swingers.

"Anyone who won the Golden Falcon in June was probably going to win the (Manitoba) Amateur and make the Willingdon Cup team," Kurceba said. "It was who could play this game in Manitoba."

Ted Homenuik won it four times, Dave Lavallee, three, and Terry Hashimoto, twice. Other noteables who won the Falcon trophy include Nick Mikoski, Todd Fanning and Garth Collings.

"Golf has a lot of history and any time something of that nature ceases to continue, of course, it's sad," Manitoba Golf Association executive director Dave Comaskey said. "The only other tournament that has as high a profile is the Grey Owl."

The Owl too often conflicted with the Falcon, or came within a week or two of it.

"Times change," Kurceba said. "There are more courses and more tournaments now. And the committee was getting old. The average age of the committee is getting to 80 and the energy level had waned."

Kurceba had planned to host a Remembrance Day golf event next month to give golfers a chance to say goodbye but was forced to cancel it due to a lack of interest.

"It was going to be a 'Thanks for the Memories' type of Bob Hope clambake," Kurceba said. "I was disappointed because I would loved to have a day with 120 guys sitting around and telling stories about all of the Golden Falcons in the past."

Alas, only 18 had entered.

"I said, 'Let's put it to bed,'" Kurceba said. "It's 50 years for the golf course next year so maybe we can do something then."

MATCH PLAY-OFFS: Mindy Lichtman of Grand Pines defeated Elmhurst's Judi Lidstone one-up in the women's semifinal of MGA's Match Play Championship at the Niakwa Country Club on the weekend. Lichtman advances to Saturday's 36-hole final against St. Boniface's Tammy Gibson at Niakwa. Gibson beat Michelle Gisiger of Blumberg Birdie Girls 4 and 3 in the other semifinal.

In men's play, Niakwa's Terry James downed Carman's Kevin Giesbrecht 4 and 2; Niakwa's Joey Ringaert skinned Elmhurst's Brian Katchnoski 6 and 5; Selkirk's Ben Bandura beat Elmhurst's Peter More 2 and 1; Breezy Bend's Brad DePape blasted Niakwa's Spencer Harris 6 and 4; Kurt Scherle of Larters at St. Andrews downed Derek East of St. Charles 4 and 3; Stew Bannatyne of St. Charles whipped J.J. Wiens of Grand Pines 6 and 5; Dave Michaelski of Larters clipped Assiniboine's Dwayne Heinrichs 2 and 1; and Pine Ridge's Brad Kirton nipped Niakwa's Scott Markham by winning the fifth playoff hole.

The quarterfinals start at Niakwa today at 4 p.m. James plays Ringaert; Bandura faces DePape; Kirton takes on Scherle and Bannatyne will be against Michaelski.

UNIVERSITY NATIONALS: Tyler Mancini will lead the University of Manitoba's men's team into the Canadian University/College Golf Championship that start today in Fredericton, N.B. Joining Mancini there are: Lucas Skelton, Scott Borsa, Shayne Fredborg and Terry Reilly. The U of M women's team there is comprised of Angela Klindworth, Vanessa Watson, Ann Thorimbert, Lauren Rousseau and Faye Zachedniak. Manitoba's Kaitlin Troop is playing for UBC.


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