Klughart captures fourth Lobstick title, Ring rallies to win consolation final

Photo from Waskesiu Golf Course Facebook Page Danny Klughart (left) is presented the 2024 Men’s Lobstick Trophy by Waskesiu Golf Course Head Professional Paul Schatz. Klughart defeated Payton Ochitwa in the final.

While the international golf spotlight may have been on the US Open at Pinehurst No. 2, some of the best golfers from across Saskatchewan made their way up to Waskesiu to play in the 2024 Men’s Lobstick this past week.

Prince Albert’s Danny Klughart took home his fourth career Lobstick title, and his first since 2019.

Klughart participated in both the Lobstick Open and the match play. In the Open, Klughart finished tied for fourth finishing with a 36-hole score of even par. Klughart recorded a three-over par round of 73 and a three-under round of 67. Phil Jonas fired two rounds of 68 to take home the Open title with a four-under par score.

Klughart says he has put in a lot of hours into his game early in the year.

“I played well. I’ve been practicing really hard here since the start of the season. (I) just addressed a few things that were kind of holding me back. Some short game stuff and just controlling my irons and mostly my short clubs coming into the green and just trying to tune up so I can get the ball closer to the hole.”

In the match play qualifying round, Klughart tied for 18th with a three-over round of 73. Klughart says he was feeling confident throughout the week attacking flags with his approach shots.

“My short iron and wedge game was just about as good as it can be out there this week. I was in full control from I’d say inside 150 yards and if I had a good lie in the fairway, I was just taking dead aim at the pin and expecting to hit it close.”

Northern Saskatchewan has experienced a significant amount of rain since the start of the month. Despite the large amount of precipitation, Klughart says the conditions on the course were excellent.

“The course up there is in fantastic shape. They’ve had so much rain since the start of June, with the Senior (Lobstick) being the week before we were up there. Then at the start of the week, there was just a ton of rain. The low areas are full of water and it’s very saturated. But overall, the course is in amazing shape.”

Klughart defeated Landon Klassen, Lucas Langlois, Andy Zaba, Scott Mackay and Payton Ochitwa on route to winning the Lobstick title in the match play.

Klughart says a big reason for his success was having a strong mental game in the match play format.

“Something I always struggle with in match play from time to time is just paying too much attention to my opponent rather than just playing my own game, trying to make a bunch of pars and some birdies as they come. That’s generally how I lead to success. Just try not to focus too much on what they’re doing. Just play the holes how I can, make a bunch of pars, and a couple birdie putts happen to go in. That was kind of my strategy this week.”

In his five matches, Klugart would only card a total of three bogeys. Klughart says he feels comfortable playing at Waskesiu and was managing the course well.

“I always find myself pretty in control of it off the tee up at Waskesiu. If I do happen to make bogeys, it’s generally just getting too aggressive to a back pin per se and short siding myself. I was still trying to be aggressive, but just to the right areas of the green.”

With the championship of the Lobstick taking place on Father’s Day weekend, it was extra special for Klughart. With his wife Keanna and 11-month-old son Cooper in attendance, he was able to close out the final match against Ochitwa.

“It was pretty cool, it was the first Lobstick with my little guy Cooper.” Klughart says. “My whole family was up there on Friday and Saturday. It was pretty special to have them up there. Winning is just so hard and you never know if it’s going to happen again. So it’s nice to have them there when it happens.”

With his fourth Lobstick title, Klughart tied Martin Ring in Lobstick match play titles. John Walsh is the record holder with six career Lobsticks.

Ring, who is also a member of Cooke Municipal Golf Course, is someone Klugart has had a friendly relationship with for many years. Klughart says he is hopeful to one day surpass Ring in career Lobstick wins.

“It is special. Well before I even started playing in the men’s lobstick, I had caddied Marty from time to time at some tournaments at Cooke and he was always somebody I looked up to. Having four lobsticks and he’s won a provincial championship and a bunch of other tournaments. Obviously a guy I looked up to and it’s great to catch him in the Lobstick. I hope someday to pass him.”

Ring storms consolation bracket

Martin Ring also experienced some success in the Lobstick match play.

In qualification, Ring would fire a two-over par round of 72 finishing in an eight-way tie for 10th place.

Ring would drop his opening match to Jordan Banivelic and fell to the consolation bracket. Despite a disappointing result in his first match, Ring says he didn’t have much time to dwell on the result.

“I wasn’t very pleased with my game on Wednesday. I didn’t play very well in the first match and I lost that first match and dropped down into the consolation side. You have to pick up your lip and get going again, because everybody’s up there to compete. Everybody wants to play and you enjoy the camaraderie, but at the same time, it’s a really good competition.”

Ring would go on to rattle off wins against Warren Gnam, Darryl Czuy and CJ Galvas. Ring would then defeat Landon Klassen in the consolation final.

Ring says the biggest difference maker for him in his later matches was his short game and putting himself in positions for success around the green.

“I give up quite a bit of distance when I’m playing (against) some of the younger guys. I’m hitting different clubs into some of those greens and the biggest thing was that if I did miss a green, I was finding ways to get up and down. My chipping was very solid as well as my putting. I made some really good putts to finish my last three matches.”

With plenty of moisture over the last couple weeks, Ring says Waskesiu was playing more difficult then the 6301 yards on the scorecard would indicate.

“As a whole, I thought the course played extremely long because it was so wet and just there’s zero rollout on shots and tee shots that you would normally get a little bit of extra help riding over the crest of a hill and getting some runoff. You just weren’t getting that on the course this past week. The younger guys, obviously they bomb it and always will and they just continue to get longer and I just found a way to get my ball around the hole.”