Selander defends Northern title in playoff

Nathan Reiter/Daily Herald. Cory Selander poses with the Northern Championship on the 18th green at Cooke Municipal Golf Course on Monday afternoon.

It took an extra hole, but Cory Selander successfully defended his Northern Men’s Amateur title at Cooke Municipal Golf Course on Monday afternoon.

Selander defeated Travis Fehr on the first playoff hole to win his third Northern title in the last five years. The last confirmed playoff in a Northern was back in 1996 when Rick Genest defeated Colin Coben on the fifth playoff hole.

Selander says he was happy to come away with the victory.

“It’s super exciting. It’s always fun to win this event. You know, you have so many of the best players in the province coming here each long weekend. It really is an honor to win this tournament, and hats off to Travis. We battled in that final, but at the end of the day, it’s never easy to win this tournament.”

The final match between Selander and Fehr was neck-and-neck. The biggest lead of the afternoon for either player was when Fehr was two up after six holes, but Selander would bring the match to all square at the turn.

Heading into the 18th, Fehr was one up on Selander. However, his tee shot would end up left into the trees which caused him to take an unplayable lie and take his shot off the cart path. Fehr would not convert on the 30-foot par putt and the match would head into a sudden death playoff.

Fehr and Selander would make the turn and play the Par 4 first hole, which plays at 433 yards from the blue tees.

Fehr’s tee shot would end up lodged against a tree on the right-hand side of the fairway, and his only option was to play a chip back into the fairway. Selander’s tee shot would also end up in the rough on the right of the fairway, but he would have a direct angle to the flag on his second shot.

Both players would hit their approach shots onto the back fringe of the green, with Fehr being pin high for par and Selander being just over.

Selander’s putt for birdie would roll three feet past the hole and Fehr would come up just short on his par putt giving Selander a chance to win the Northern with a birdie. The defending champ would make no mistake as he would secure his title by draining the putt dead center of the cup.

Selander says he didn’t make the best shots during the final match, but he was able to stay within striking distance.

“There’s always luck in golf. You can’t deny that. I find my success comes from trying not to get frustrated. As you guys saw, today wasn’t our best day, but I just stuck with the process and kept trying to hang in there and wait for more opportunities and go from there.”

Nathan Reiter/Daily Herald. Travis Fehr (left) shakes hands with Cory Selander (right) after the playoff hole during the 2023 Men’s Northern Amateur Championship at Cooke Municipal Golf Course Monday.

Family also played an important role for Selander at the Northern. His father Cliff was on the bag for him during the final match. He says it was special having his dad alongside him.

“He’s been my idol since I grew up. He taught me how to play when I was a baby. A couple of weeks ago there when he was in contention in the senior, I left work to come caddie for him. I’ll do it every time and I know he will be there on the bag for me. I think that is special. I love it and I don’t take it for granted at all.”

Moments after sinking the final putt, Selander was also approached on the green by his five-year-old niece Lacey and three-year-old nephew Carson.

He says they were both thrilled to see him come out with the win.

“I love it so much. They don’t see me play as much as they would like or as much as I would like to, because it’s not that type of sport. They don’t have the opportunities to come out, but when they do have the opportunity on a day like this, they’re always out here with bells on and they love it and I love it, and they’re probably happier than I am right now, if I’m being honest.”

Selander will play at the Canadian Mid-Amateur Championship later this month at the Algonquin Golf Course in St. Andrews, New Brunswick from Aug. 21-24.