Top senior golfers enjoy Waskesiu’s pristine course

Gary Pearson
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Doug Kozak, 56, tees off from the first hole at yesterday's senior's final round at the Waskesiu Golf Course. Photo by Gary Pearson

--PRINCE ALBERT-- Barry Bates and Colin Coben stand victorious in their respective age groups after three rounds of laid back, skilled golf at this year’s Conexus Senior Men’s Lobstick Open.  

Bates finished yesterday’s round shooting a 75 to win his second championship in a row. The four-time winner won by six strokes, collecting yet another watch to keep in reserve. 

Jake Froese, 75, is yet to win the super senior event, but has three senior titles to his credit.  

There was nothing to choose between Bates and Froese going into yesterday’s final round, but Froese had a bit of a wayward day.  

“The chap that came second – we golf together in Saskatoon all the time – had a bad day,” said the 76-year-old champion. “We’re very close in scores all the time.” 

The Saskatoon-born champion used to caddy at Waskesiu Golf Course years ago and has enjoyed the area’s natural beauty since.  

“If you can imagine that’s back in the late ‘40s,” Bates said.   

Bates started swinging the driver when he was 12 years old and, thanks his lucky stars, is still able to compete at a premier level.  

“The one thing I need to improve on is to stop getting old,” Bates said in a mercurial manner. “And I can’t do that, it’s next to impossible.” 

Froese and Bates have known each other for most of their adult lives. They feed off one another, often being drawn in the same pairing.  

“We play for fun and everything else is a bonus,” Froese said.   Sometimes frustration can get the better of golfers – look to John Daly – but no morsel of annoyance shone through in Waskesiu this week. 

“I haven’t thrown a club for 30 years,” Barry Bates, super senior champion

“I haven’t thrown a club for 30 years,” said Bates. “No, I don’t get mad anymore. There’s no sense, being out here at 76 and being able to play golf is a real treat.” 

Colin Coben had a five-stroke lead before the senior men teed off for their final round, having shot two consecutive rounds of 69. He said he would have been ecstatic with the same score again in round three. 

“I would love to shoot another 69,” the 56-year-old said.  

Coben ended up doing one better. He won the tournament handily, finishing the tournament 4-under par.

Gary Tuffs and Jim Scissons followed behind, 11-strokes adrift.  

Participants at this year’s tournament said the course was in superb condition, which combined with sunny skies and rain-free weather, made for a rousing three-day success.  

Head professional Tyler Baker said the tradition and name of the golf course entices high-caliber golfers year after year.  

“A lot of these guys grew up in the area playing this golf course,” Baker said. “A lot of these guys come for the camaraderie. 

“You don’t hear many upset people around here.”  

Players must be 70 years old or over to compete in the super senior draw and between 55 and 70 to participate in the senior’s draw.

 

You can follow Gary Pearson on Twitter @newagejourno

Organizations: PRINCE ALBERT

Geographic location: Waskesiu, Saskatoon

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