Having grown up in Prince Albert, the annual Men’s Northern Tournament at the Cooke Municipal Golf Course is an event that Greg Swenson has always wanted to win.
Swenson accomplished that goal on Monday afternoon as he drained a birdie putt on the 15th hole to capture the 100th edition of the event over Prince Albert’s Trevor Ring.
“It feels really special,” Swenson said. “This is a tournament that I’ve wanted to win for years and it’s the event that means the most to me.
“I always try to dial my game in going into this weekend and I felt like I played solid this year from start to finish. To be the winner of the 100th Northern is amazing. I can’t believe it.”
Swenson, who now calls Saskatoon home, had been in the final on three previous locations but had lost to Colin Coben in 2011, Brad Phelps in 2013 and Danny Klughart in 2020.
“Over the last few years, I felt like I was getting more comfortable in the situation of being in the final and I was able to play well and make the big shots when I needed to,” Swenson said.
“It was a lot of hard work to get this point and the whole week was amazing at home. This is the best-run tournament in the province and it’s at the best course in the province. The staff here does a great job of putting on the tournament and the greenskeeper did an excellent job with the course. I just want to thank everyone for the job they do.”
After earning the fourth seed in the championship flight in Saturday’s qualifying round, Swenson reached the final by defeating Diehl Normand and Shaun Dunphy on Sunday before beating Michael Smith in the semifinal on Monday morning.
“Someone said I had like 17 birdies for the weekend,” Swenson said. “I’m not sure what the exact number was, but I made a lot good shots and I kept that momentum going from start to finish.”
After falling behind by three holes early in the final, Ring would even up the match up by the eighth hole before Swenson started to pull away on the back nine.
“It was a bizarre round,” Ring said. “I started off super shaky but my putter started to warm up a bit and I was hitting shots when I needed to.
“Then at the end of the match, Greg started to get his putts going to make it a done deal. I was able to make shots, but I couldn’t find the extra gear this afternoon.”
“I think in every final I got out to an early lead but ended up giving the strokes back,” Swenson joked. “I was able to make putts though in the key situations, which is something I wasn’t able to do in the past.
“Trevor played well all weekend and I know what he’s feeling like right now after losing the final, but I know he’ll have another shot at winning this event.”
Although Ring missed out on joining his father Martin on the tournament trophy, Monday’s runner-up result was his best ever finish in the Men’s Northern.
“There’s just a small group of 16 guys that make it to the championship flight and they are all great golfers,” said Ring, who was the third overall seed and earned a spot in the final with wins over David Stewart, Travis Fehr and Wyatt Newman. “Just to be able to be in that field is a major accomplishment.
“I haven’t played a lot this year due to my work schedule and I’m taking my clubs back home today. My wife and I are expecting a child on Thursday and I was checking the phone during the round to make sure that I didn’t have to leave.”
Klughart, who shot a round of 65 on Saturday to earn low qualifier honours, saw his title defence end on Sunday with a quarter-final loss to Smith.
The results from Monday’s championship matches are as follows:
- Championship Flight Consolation: David Stewart over Cory Selander
- First Flight: Josh Guthrie over Shaun Strelau
- First Flight Consolation: Martin Ring over Darryl Czuy
- Second Flight: Jax Gipman over Garry Hagen
- Second Flight Consolation: Clay Mullis over Darren McDougall
- Third Flight: Jaret Nelson over Ken Gordon
- Third Flight Consolation: Glen Erickson over Brett Blakely
- Fourth Flight: Harry Bahnmann over Ryan Smith
- Fourth Flight Consolation: Keenan Strelau over Jeff McKeand
- Fifth Flight: Darryl Simmonds over Leo McDougall
- Fifth Flight Consolation: Justin Derkach over Tim Reid
- Sixth Flight: Dustin Rhoades over Jeff Joanette
- Sixth Flight Consolation: Ty Jaeger over Kelly Timmerman
- Seventh Flight: Richard Skopyk over Chris Gates
- Seventh Flight Consolation: Jason Burnell over Brett Ramage