The fourth time was the charm for David Bird at the Senior Men’s Northern Golf Championship on Thursday.
Bird shot 38 on the front nine and 36 on the back for an 18-hole total of 74 on Thursday. That score, combined with the round of 73 he shot on Wednesday, was enough to win his first Men’s Northern tournament at Cooke Municipal Golf Course.
“Growing up on this golf course, it was one of my life goals to win this tournament,” said Bird, who was born and raised in Prince Albert but now lives in Saskatoon. “I can scratch that off my bucket list.”
The 2023 tournament was Bird’s first win after three third place finishes. He said it was an honour to receive the Bob Hemsworth Trophy since the two were good friends before Hemsworth’s passing in 2017.
“I played pretty well today and I thought of Bob Hemsworth a couple times because I’ve known Bob for years,” Bird said. “I was an RCMP member as well as he was, and he was very good to me for advice and that, so I was very pleased to get my name on his trophy today.”
Bird led from beginning to end at the two-day tournament. He began Thursday with a one stroke lead and finished two strokes ahead of reigning champions Martin Ring, and hard-charging Brad Phelps, who shot a tournament-best 71 on the final day.
Bird said his putting wasn’t as good as he’d hoped, but his chipping and driving helped make up the difference.
“I didn’t make a lot of putts, but when I missed the green I managed to get up and down pretty good,” he said. “I was pretty consistent from start to finish. I drove the ball very well and I chipped very well, but I made the putts when I had to.”
Ring and Phelps tied for second with a two-day score of 149. Colin Coben finished third in the Championship Flight with a two-day score of 150.
Kevin Sanderson took first in the First Flight with a two-day score of 156, narrowly edging out Darren Jenkins who finished second. Tom Rose took first in the Second Flight with a two-day score of 160.
Bill Cameron took first in the Super Senior Championship, shooting 79 on day one and 73 on day two for a combined 152. John Batiuk finished second with a two-day score of 161, and Yvon Desgagnes finished third with a combined score of 163.
Bird said the competition at this year’s tournament was top knotch, and Cooke Municipal Golf Course was in the best shape he’s ever seen. That has him eager to return in 2024 to defend his title.
“This is always a great tournament,” he said. “The competition is always very good. It’s first rate with the way it’s handled with the volunteers and everything.”