Golfers digging in

KEN WIEBE -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 10:07 AM ET

If you're a fan of golf in this province, it's time to dust off your spikes and get ready to dig in.

Starting this morning at Glendale, Golf Manitoba's tournament season is about to kick into high gear.

With all due respect to the men's and women's match play championships and the women's city and district tournament, things really begin to heat up this week with the 2007 Women's Amateur and Senior Championship.

Brandon's Kaitlin Troop, who captured both the junior women's and women's amateur championships a year ago, is looking to defend her amateur title.

EVEN BETTER?

The scary thing is that after spending a season with the University of British Columbia Thunderbirds golf program and finishing fourth overall at the Canadian College/University Championship, Troop might be playing even better than she was at this point last season.

Two of Troop's main competitors, 2005 women's amateur champion Stacey Bieber and 2004 women's amateur champ Jill Hardy won't be in the field this week.

Bieber is spending the summer in Texas, while Hardy is attempting to qualify for the U.S. Women's Amateur later this week.

Troop, who plays out of Clear Lake, isn't expecting an easy title defence but the smart money is that she will defend her crown.

The following week, the junior men's and women's championships will be played at Southwood and Transcona.

On the day the juniors are wrapping up, the focus will shift to Pine Ridge for Manitoba's lone stop on the Canadian Tour, the Manitoba Classic.

The Classic is considered one of the best-run events on the circuit and the field is always top-notch.

Since its the final tour stop before the Canadian Open at Angus Glen, there is much more at stake than just the coveted winner's cheque.

Players will be jockeying for position on the final day in an effort to get an exemption into Canada's only PGA Tour stop.

As soon as the pros leave town, the chase for the 2007 Manitoba Men's Amateur title will begin.

Matt Johnstson of St. Charles will attempt to defend, but there are a host of emerging players looking to win for the first time and several others, like cagey veteran Garth Collings of Breezy Bend, who would love to get back to the winner's circle.

The season contines with the rural men's junior championship in Killarney and the men's mid-amateur championship at Rossmere.

Before August long weekend hits, the lucky ladies will head to the national amateur championship in Stouffville, Ont. and the senior men will tee it up at Larters.

Now that's what you call an exciting month of golf.


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