Minnedosa hosting future of Canadian golf

KEN WIEBE -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 7:23 AM ET

There's an additional carrot out there for the young golfers playing in the CN Future Links Prairie Championship next week.

The top-5 finishers in the Royal Canadian Golf Association sanctioned event will automatically qualify for the national junior championship -- the junior boys advance to the tournament in Ile Bizard, Que., and the girls draw into the field in London, Ont.

In year's past, the RCGA guaranteed Manitoba a quota of eight players for both boys and girls national championships. That number has been reduced to four, but with the prospect of gaining an additional five spots through each Future Links event.

"If you look at almost every junior, their goal is probably to play in the Canadian junior," said Golf Manitoba director of player development Garth Goodbrandson. "With us having the Future Links in Manitoba before the Manitoba junior, if they can come in the top 5, boy, that sure takes a lot of pressure off playing in the Manitoba junior."

The Prairie Championship usually alternates between Manitoba and Saskatchewan, but is being held here for the second consecutive year before returning to Saskatchewan in 2008.

"The quality of the field has really improved," said Goodbrandson. "At one time, basically it was just Manitoba and Saskatchewan kids but now there are players from almost every province wanting to get into it."

Local tournament director Deb Pritchard said 75 players had registered. The Minnedosa Country Club will host the 54-hole junior event June 26 to 28.

ON TAP: The RCGA Canadian Club Champions championship gets underway this morning at the Sunshine Coast Club in Gibbons, B.C.

Manitoba will be represented by Scott Borsa of Selkirk, Scott Markham of Niakwa, Robert Oliphant of Rossmere and Kurt Scherle of Larters at St. Andrews.

"Any time you can play in a national event, all it's going to do is help your game," said Goodbrandson, who coaches Borsa and Markham with the Manitoba Bisons golf team. "It'll be great for those guys to play in it."

Dale Goehring, the 1990 Manitoba Junior Champion who now plays out of Glencoe in Calgary, is also in the field.

The four-day event wraps up Friday.

This weekend, Niakwa will host the Women's City and District Championship and South Interlake will host the Junior Bantam Championship (players aged 10 to 14 as of Aug. 9, 2007).

Both tournaments feature 36 holes of stroke play.

For those hoping to play in the Men's Amateur Qualifier, the entry deadline is June 21.

The deadline for the Women's Amateur and Senior Championship is June 26.

MIXED WINNERS: Tyson Ehnes of Minnewasta and Rhonda Orr of Southwood captured the Manitoba Mixed Team Championship held last weekend at Minnewasta Golf & Country Club in Morden.

The pair shot 71-72 for a two-round total of 1-under 143, giving them a four shot edge over Troy Ehnes and Karen Foster of Minnewasta (71-76-147).

Mindy Lichtman and J.J. Wiens of Grand Pines (76-73-149) tied for third place with Greg Dawyduk and Angela Martens of Elmhurst (76-73-149).


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