Since he made his debut at the Men’s Northern Golf Tournament at the age of 17, Cory Sawchuk had yet to be anywhere near the championship round.
That all changed Monday during his fourth time competing in the event as he topped Danny Klughart in an all Prince Albert final at the Cooke Municipal Golf Course in the 97th edition of the tournament.
“My best result prior to this was winning the championship consolation flight, so I don’t think my brain has really processed what has happened yet,” Sawchuk said.
“My hat goes off to Danny as he was able to claw his way back after I got off to a good start. It was a heck of a match.”
In front of a gallery that grew in size as the round went on, Sawchuk birdied the first three holes to take an early lead on Klughart in the match play style event.
Klughart, who was also looking to his win his first Northern crown, started to inch his way closer as the afternoon progressed after going down by two holes.
He also benefited from a bit of luck on the 14th green as his ball went off Sawchuk’s ball and into the hole for an eagle.
“I’ve only seen that happen once before on television,” Klughart said. “There was a bit of luck obviously on that one. Cory had hit his shot to within a couple of feet, and my shot from 110 yards out skipped towards the hole and hit his ball on the way there.”
“When that happened, I began to think that maybe it just wouldn’t be my day,” Sawchuk added. “Before that, his ball hit a root and kicked out on the fairway so it was just his hole. I just kept sticking with it though and figured something would happen.”
Sawchuk got momentum back on his side as he made a pair of birdie putts on the 16th and 17th holes to go one-up on Klughart as they headed to the par-four 18th.
“Danny had made a pretty good tee shot on the 16th so I knew that I had to make something happen,” Sawchuk said. “I was able to get on the green to get an eagle on that hole earlier in the weekend, so I was confident that I would be able to get on the green with a good shot, which I did.
“On the 17th, I think it helped me out to see what Danny had on the putt right before that. I was able to see the little break there and I was able to get a good read off of what his putt did.”
After Sawchuk missed a birdie putt to win the match on the last hole, Klughart had a chance to sink a putt from around 15 feet to force a playoff, but the ball would end up skimming past the edge of the cup.
“I played well all weekend, but I just didn’t putt great in the last two matches,” Klughart said.
“I was hitting the ball really well during the tournament, but it’s tough when you run into a guy who’s able to make six or seven birdies like Cory did today.”
The complete results from Monday’s final rounds are listed below:
- Championship Flight Consolation: Ashley Ziegeman over Denver Grolla
- First Flight: Wyatt Newman over Brett Blakely
- First Flight Consolation: Dave Curniski over Aaron Robinson
- Second Flight: Milt Grolla over Ken Gordon
- Second Flight Consolation: Tom Ross over Max Coben
- Third Flight: Ian Harnett over Donn Goertz
- Third Flight Consolation: George Majeran over Jamie Harris
- Fourth Flight: Justin Derkach over Chris Gates
- Fourth Flight Consolation: Duane Friesen over Ian Harris
- Fifth Flight: Toby Jaeger over Dwight Krauss
- Fifth Flight Consolation: Jim Walker over Tim Labelle