Klughart wins third straight Saskatchewan Men’s Mid-Amateur title

Photo Courtesy of Clark Stork/Golf Saskatchewan Prince Albert's Danny Klughart fires a shot off the tee during the second round of the Saskatchewan Men's Mid-Amateur Championship on Wednesday.

Danny Klughart entered some rarified air on Thursday evening at the Elmwood Golf Club in Swift Current.

The Prince Albert product became just the second golfer to win the Saskatchewan Men’s Mid-Amateur tournament on three straight occasions as he completed the three round event with a eight-under-par score of 208 to defeat North Battleford’s Scott Thompson by three shots.

“Any time you can win a tournament, it’s always a good feeling, especially when you are trying to defend your title,” Klughart said. “To be able to win this event three times in a row is something special.”

The only other golfer to win three straight Mid-Amateur titles is Garth Collings, who captured four consecutive crowns from 2003 to 2006 before losing a playoff to Warren Gnam in a playoff in 2007.

Collings, who is from Matlock, Man., is tied with Saskatchewan golf legend Jim Scissons for the most championships in the event’s history.

Klughart led the tournament from start-to-finish as he shot a four-under-par 68 on Tuesday to take a two-shot lead over Michael Smith of Saskatoon.

He kept that cushion on Wednesday with a two-under-par round of 70, which he also shot in the final round.

“I kind of struggled a bit with my short irons and the wedges on Tuesday as I couldn’t get much close, but I putted really well,” Klughart said.

“It was kind of the same thing over the last two days, but I wasn’t hitting the ball well off the tee on Wednesday. Everything just came together today (Thursday) though, despite it being a little tough to putt out there because of the grainy greens.”

Klughart also had to wait a little bit longer to start his round on Thursday as his tee time was pushed back to a little after 4 p.m. due to inclement weather earlier in the day.

“It was pretty hard to try and kill seven hours,” Klughart joked. “I came out to the course to watch my buddy Cory Selander, who I’m rooming with this week, and then I went back to the hotel to watch SportsCentre, but there wasn’t much to watch on there.

“You just have to try and stay patient though in those situations and I treated it like it was a men’s night round I guess, as that’s usually when you tee off.”

Smith, who entered the day in second spot, slid down one place in the final standings after Thompson shot a nice three-under-par round of 69.

Tyler Wright of Regina ended up in fourth, while Saskatoon’s David Stewart and Prince Albert’s Brett Henry rounded out the top five.

With the win, Klughart earned an exemption into the Mackenzie Tour – PGA Tour Canada’s Elk Ridge Open at the Elk Ridge Resort in Waskesiu in September.

However, he’s not sure if he’ll be able to take part in the tournament.

“I’m studying for my CPA exam and I write the next three days after that event,” Klughart said.

“Obviously I’ll try and see if I’m able to make it work, but we’ll have to see with how my schedule is heading into that week.”

Before he gears up for the 100th edition of the Men’s Northern Championship at Cooke Municipal Golf Course and the Canadian Mid-Amateur Championship in Fort McMurray, Alta. next month, Klughart will wrap up his stay in Swift Current on Friday by competing in the final round of the Saskatchewan Men’s Amateur.

He currently trails defending champion Ty Campbell of Saskatoon by four shots in the race for second place, but they are both well back of Saskatoon’s Roman Timmerman, who has posted an astonishing score of 20-under-par after three rounds.

“We’re trailing by quite a bit so it’s obviously going to be a bit of a gas pedal approach tomorrow,” Klughart said.

“I’m going to have to shoot something special to get up there, but I’ve done it before and there’s no reason to think that I can’t do it again.”

Yorkton’s Kade Johnson is one shot behind Klughart, with Thompson sitting in fifth place.

Photo Courtesy of Clark Stork/Golf Saskatchewan
Yorkton’s Ella Kozak poses with the Saskatchewan Women’s Amateur trophy following her win in Swift Current.

Kozak captures first Womens Amateur title

One of the top young golfers in Saskatchewan also nabbed a provincial crown on Thursday as Yorkton’s Ella Kozak edged out Regina’s Autumn Neiszner by a single stroke to win the Women’s Amateur.

“It was a battle out there,” the 15-year-old Kozak said to Golf Saskatchewan’s Clark Stork. “I was pretty nervous at the end (when Autumn closed in) but I just tried to stay in the zone and it turned out okay, but it was pretty close.”

After starting the tournament six shots back of opening round leader Alexandra Schmidt of Regina, Kozak rebounded with a even-par-round of 72 on Wednesday to move two shots ahead of Schmidt.

“That round was the turning point of the tournament,” Kozak said.  

“I felt like my irons were definitely the key to my week. I had a few bad mistakes at times, but I thought my game was really solid overall.”

Neiszner, who started the day five shots off the lead, made things interesting with a one-over-par round of 73 on Thursday, but was unable to complete the comeback.

Schmidt and defending champion Brooklin Fry of Shell Lake were five shots back of Kozak and finished in a tie for third.

Saskatoon’s Sarah Grieve rounded out the top five.

Kozak, who won her last two events on the Maple Leaf Junior Tour prior to coming to Swift Current, will look to keep up her winning ways next week as she’ll take part in the Junior Amateur Championships at the Hillcrest Golf Club in Moose Jaw.