Klughart gearing up to compete in Elk Ridge Open

Lucas Punkari/Daily Herald Danny Klughart makes a tee shot while Greg Swenson looks on during the final round of the 2020 Men’s Northern Championship at the Cooke Municipal Golf Course.

Danny Klughart is getting ready for the chance to play against the top golfers on the Mackenzie Tour – PGA Tour Canada circuit.

After capturing his third straight Saskatchewan Men’s Mid Amateur title at the Elmwood Golf Club in Swift Current in July, the Prince Albert golfer earned an exemption to the Elk Ridge Open, which will be held from Sept. 9-11 at the Elk Ridge Resort in Waskesiu.

“It’s really exciting to have my first pro start close to home,” Klughart said on Tuesday.

“The support that I’ve received so far from the management group up at Elk Ridge and the local golf community here in Prince Albert has been amazing. It’s going to be a very special experience next week.”

Klughart was one of six Saskatchewan golfers to earn sponsor exemptions for the tournament, as he’ll be joined by Saskatoon’s Phil Jonas, Elk Ridge head professional Ryan Wells, Saskatoon’s Josh Nagy and Men’s Lobstick champion Trevor Bloom, who grew up in Canwood and now calls Kelowna, B.C.

2021 Saskatchewan Amateur champion Roman Timmerman of Saskatoon also earned an invite, but he’ll be unable to attend as he’s getting ready to start his senior year at Southern Arkansas University.

“I’m not sure of the exact number but I think there’s going to be 12 to 15 golfers from Saskatchewan coming up for the tournament, so that’s going to be really exciting,” Klughart said.

“I’m going to be playing a practice round on Wednesday with (Saskatoon’s) Ty Campbell, (Kipling’s) Carson Harcourt and (Saskatoon’s) Steven Duchscher before the tournament, and I know that Kade Johnson (who is from Yorkton and turned pro last month) is also going to be here for the event.”

Klughart is just coming off of a trip to Fort McMurray, Alta. last week, where he finished in a tie for 25th at the Canadian Mid-Amateur Men’s Championship.

“I didn’t quite play as well as I wanted to up there,” Klughart said.

“I’ve been struggling a little bit off the tee for a couple of weeks now and that’s something that I’ve been working on here before I head up to Elk Ridge. If I can get better off the tee and I get my putter and short game tightened up, I should be okay.”

The Elk Ridge Open marks the first time that the Mackenzie Tour has been in Saskatchewan since 2016, when the Dakota Dunes Open wrapped up a nine year run at the Dakota Dunes Golf Links just south of Saskatoon.

“The course is similar to Waskesiu and Cooke,” Klughart said. “It’s fairly narrow and not overly long, but the biggest thing is to keep the ball between the trees. If you find yourself having to whack the ball out of the bush, you probably aren’t going to have a long week up there.

“The greens are also to be a lot faster than they usually are up there as well, so it’s going to be fun to play there under pro standards.”

Klughart isn’t setting any major goals for the tournament, but he hopes to make the cut for the three-round event.

“It would be a lot of fun to play the whole weekend, but I just want to enjoy the whole experience as it’s something I might not have the chance to do again,” Klughart added.

The tournament will officially get underway at 2 p.m. Tuesday with an opening ceremony, which will include a ceremonial tee-off by honorary chair Graham DeLaet and Premier Scott Moe.

That event, Wednesday’s practice round and the three-round tournament is free for fans to attend, thanks largely to the support by event sponsors Callaway Golf and Molson Coors.