Four score and off to senior finale

TODD SAELHOF -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 7:33 AM ET

It's a feat that's hard to swing, but Team Alberta is actually Team Calgary at the 2007 Canadian Senior Men's Golf Championship.

Must be something in the city water that drove four Calgarians -- Stuart Nicholson, Al Dowdell, Howard Broun and Dwight Sandquist -- to the top scores at the provincial event, giving them the right to represent Alberta at the upcoming nationals.

"I have no idea why that happened," said Nicholson of Bearspaw Country Club. "They've all been champions before, so that's why they're on the team. Me? I thought I had a reasonable chance to make the Alberta team, but the stars must have been aligned for me to win the provincial event."

No matter, as king of Alberta's seniors, he leads the provincial squad into the 54-hole national senior championship that begins tomorrow in Peterborough, Ont.

It's the 63-year-old's third shot representing Alberta and his eighth time playing in the event.

"My game has to be steady and the other guys have to be off a bit for me to win it," said Nicholson, who beat two-time provincial champion Dowdell by one stroke Aug. 23 to take the Alberta title on his home course.

The last time four Calgarians comprised Alberta's senior team entry at the nationals was in 2002. And that was Nicholson's last time at the event, joining Frank Sutton of Earl Grey Country Club and Glencoe Golf and Country Club's Jim Christie and Rob Bannister.

And this year's foursome, including Dowdell of Pinehurst Golf and Country Club, Broun of Earl Grey Golf and Country Club and Sandquist of Calgary Elks Lodge and Golf Club, will shoot to defend the inter-provincial team title won by Alberta.

Broun was part of last year's winning Alberta side which smoked the field, finishing 10 strokes up on runner-up Ontario. It was the province's ninth senior team title.

"There's always a bit of pressure, because you always want to do as well as you can, especially after last year," said Broun, 59. "On paper, we're a pretty strong team -- we've all played in the team event before. But you still get a little nervous."

Broun, himself, wants to avenge his individual effort of last year.

After posting early rounds of 69 and 72 to lead the tournament and the Alberta team, he fell shy of the individual national title by two strokes. He lost to B.C.'s Peter Howe when Broun's 78 on the third and final day cost him the lead and the championship. A double-bogey on the final hole did him in.

"I hit it into the trees on 18," said Broun, recalling the disappointing finish on his second trip to the senior nationals. "And Peter had an albatross on a par 5 -- that doesn't happen very often. I've never had one.

"Hopefully this year, I'll be better," added Broun of his third trip to the senior nationals. "I'd like to win that tournament."


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