In a dual of former champions on Monday at Cooke Municipal Golf Course, experience ultimately won out.
Colin Coben of Delisle beat Ashley Ziegeman of Prince Albert in the 91st annual Northern Men's Amateur Championship with a long putt on the 17th hole to clinch the match play final two and one.
Coben said it wasn’t easy.
“It was quite a roller coaster,” Coben said about the match, which had three distinct momentum swings.
Coben was up three after five holes, only to have Ziegeman roar back and win through holes 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10 to go two up.
Coben then won 13, 14, 15 and 16, meaning Ziegeman had to win 17 and 18 to extend the match.
With a long putt on 17 after chipping out of a bunker, Coben effectively slammed the door on the comeback.
“I didn’t play real great but I didn’t get into a lot of trouble,” Coben said of the final. “I made a few bogies; I short-sighted myself a couple of times and didn’t get up and down and that cost me. But I thought my driver was better this afternoon than it was this morning and my putting was good.”
Coben, 57, beat Ray Field, Jaret Nelson and the man who shot the low round of 68 on Friday, Danny Klughart, to advance.
For Ziegeman, who said he drove the ball well during the weekend, it will be a handful of shots that haunt him.
“I hit a couple of loose shots that more or less cost me the tournament,” he says. “Fourteen and 15, I’m going to have a tough time sleeping tonight thinking about those holes but I did a lot of good things.”
A good start in the final wasn’t one of them, he said.
“My goal was obviously to be in the final when I started this weekend,” he said. “When I got in the final I was a little jumpy off the start and the next thing I knew I was three down.”
It was a familiar position for the local golfer, who spotted four to Dave Stewart in a match on Saturday before roaring back. Even though Ziegeman eventually surged ahead, those early holes cost him.
“Colin’s a legend,” Ziegeman said. “He’s not going to give you much and he’s going to make a lot of putts.”
The entertaining match was exactly what Cooke head pro Darcy Myers expected.
“Colin came through strong,” Myers said. “He’s a five-time champion and Ashley’s won before so we knew it was going to be a good match and they showed us what it’s all about.”
Ziegeman, who shot 71 on Friday in the qualifying round, beat Dean Prosky in his first match, Stewart in his second and Justin Paradis in the semifinal to book his spot in the final.
Coben’s win was his fifth in eight appearances in the final. To put his achievement into context, there has only been one other person — Luke Sheard of Saskatoon — who has won even two since 1990.
Coben, who was named last week to the Saskatchewan Golf Hall Of Fame, had previously won the tournament in 2001, 2005, 2007 and 2011.
Ziegeman won in 2003.
Later this month Coben will play in the Canadian Men’s Senior Championship in Quebec and days later in the Canadian Mid-Amateur Championship in Vancouver.
Myers said that 91 years in, the tournament remains a hit.
“The tournament attracts players from all over,” he says. “We have a really strong field and the golf course is in just fantastic condition. Everybody loves this weekend. It’s a lot of fun, there’s a lot of good golf and it’s got a lot of history.”