Kirton beats heat

SCOTT UNGER -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 8:43 AM ET

This one didn't hold nearly the same amount of drama, but it was still as sweet.

After a one-under-par 69 on the final day at the Rossmere Golf and Country here in Winnipeg, Pine Ridge's Brad Kirton didn't receive much competition from his competition en route to his first Manitoba Mid-Amateur Golf Championship with a four-day total of eight-under-par 272, which was nine shots better than Breezy Bend's Brad DePape.

Kirton won the Manitoba Amateur title last week at the Minnewasta Golf and Country Club in Morden and was under par in all four of his rounds this week.

"I made a lot of solid par putts and a lot of leg putts, or else it could have easily been a bigger number," Kirton said after getting kudos from the many friends and family members who followed him through his final round. "Probably my putter was the best club in my bag."

"It was a boost to see my family here. Whenever I would have a tough hole, I would see my nephew and my niece running around that would calm me down."

The extreme heat this province has had this past week helped to light Kirton's game on fire.

"It made sure you were concentrating on what you were doing," he said. "You had to be there mentally for all 18. If you weren't, you could easily slip up and make a double (bogey)."

Yesterday, Kirton fired a one-under-par 35 on the front nine before coming in at an even-par 34 on the back in a rollercoaster final nine. He bogeyed hole 11 before rattling off birdies on 13, 15 and 16 and double bogeying the final hole after an errant tee shot went out of bounds.

Last week, Kirton dedicated his win to his late grandfather, who recently passed away. This week, he had fellow golfer and best friend Scott Loewen as a caddie. Loewen's dad was recently diagnosed with cancer.

"It's a really emotional time right now," Kirton said, fighting back tears for the second straight week.

In the Mid-Masters portion of the event, Manitoba amateur golf legend and Breezy Bend's Garth Collings gassed a one-shot lead on the over the final four holes and saw St. Boniface's Mike Walker pass him for the win by one stroke at seven-over-par 287.

Collings has won this event in four out of the past five years, but with the age drop from 40 to 25 this year, it opened up the field to a much larger population of great golfers.

Kirton, DePape, Walker and Collings will form Team Manitoba for the national championships in the Mid-Amateur division from Aug. 20 to 25 at The Oaks Golf Club in Delaware, Ont.


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