Seniors Bear down for title

TODD SAELHOF -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 7:15 AM ET

The three R's -- reading, riding the wind and hitting it right at the pin -- will separate the field at the 2007 Johnson Insurance Alberta Men's Senior Golf Championship at Bearspaw Country Club.

"At this particular course, it'll come down to putting and the pin placement," said defending champion Peter Duncan of the Red Deer Golf and Country Club heading into the 56-hole event beginning today.

"The other factor is how bad the winds are going to blow."

He'll get no argument from fellow favourites competing at Bearspaw, which is known to bring in a brisk wind that wreaks havoc with shots.

"It'll be a good test of golf, especially if the wind kicks up," said 2005 winner Howard Broun of Calgary's Earl Grey Golf Club. "With the wind, a score of 75 might win it here.

"Even without the wind, this is not an easy course."

Certainly Bearspaw boasts its share of difficult holes, including a couple of tricky Par 4s -- the 450-yard No. 3 and the 410-yard No. 11. Then there's back-to-back Par 5 holes on Nos. 7 and 8 and a lengthy 560-yarder on 17.

But still the consensus focus among the field of 131 Alberta golfers aged 55 and older is how to play the greens.

"If you get your approach shots on the right quadrant of the green, that's key," Broun said. "The greens are so big and not that easy to read."

Calgary's Al Dowdell, a two-time event winner, agrees.

"Putting is going to play a huge roll," said Dowdell of Pinebrook Golf and Country Club. "Guys from this course like Stu Nicholson are going to have a distinct advantage."


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