With a total score of 284 through four rounds, Prince Albert golfer Martin Ring took home the 2014 Saskatchewan Amateur Men's golf championship title on Thursday at Cooke Municipal Golf Course. Ring shot rounds of 71, 69, 70 and 74 at the tournament and became the first Prince Albert product since Dave Stewart in 2008 to win the championship. Herald photo by Andrew Schopp
Martin Ring took a break from his seat at Prince Albert city council to win the 2014 Saskatchewan Amateur Men’s golf championship on Thursday at Cooke Municipal Golf Course.
Ring, councillor of Prince Albert’s Ward 6, edged out Unity’s Justin Wood by just a single stroke to win the 103rd annual tournament at the ripe age of 51, finishing with a score of 284 through four rounds.
“I turned back the clock a little bit,” Ring said. “I’m not the longest hitter, the young guys, they blow it by me."
After shooting a 70-stroke round three on Wednesday, Ring finished off the tournament with an even 74 on Thursday, birdieing the 11th hole.
Ring had a tough going on the 13th tee, where he recorded his only double bogey of the day while Wood and Regina’s Tyler Wright nipped at his heels.
“I got myself into trouble on 13,” he said. “That was the only hole that gave me a bit of a fit. I got myself into trouble on 16 late in the round but I was able to make a great up and down and save par.”
While the final group was finishing up on the 17th green, tournament directors put a halt to play due to a lightning warning. Play resumed after an hour-long delay, which “felt like an eternity” for Ring.
“Weather delays are interesting,” Ring said. “You have to keep your wits about you.”
Entering Thursday’s action No. 1 on the leaderboard, Wood struggled in the final round, dropping five bogeys to finish the day with a tournament-high 75-strokes.
As the field was cut in half following round three, Ring, Clayton Mullis, Cam Bergen and Brett Henry were the only Prince Albert golfers remaining in the tournament, which includes competitors from Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia.
Since 2000, no player born outside of Saskatchewan has won the tournament with the last four champions; David Stewart, Tyler Frank, Troy Bulmer and Ring all hailing from either Saskatoon or Prince Albert.
Defending his title, Stewart dropped eight bogeys on Thursday to finish the tournament in a two-way tie for sixth place with a total score of 291.
Cooke last hosted the Amateur Championship in 2007 when Stewart’s father Ron took home his third provincial title.
As Mullis told The Herald following round two on Tuesday, Ring agreed that playing on home turf gave him and the strong contingent of other local golfers competing in the tournament a bit of an edge.
“Home course advantage at Cooke is a pretty big advantage,” Ring said. ”The guys from out-of-town, they’re fighting the greens. For us locals, we stand up there and we know where the putt’s going to break.”
Other Prince Albert golfers hitting their hometown links at Cooke included; Mullis (14th), Danny Klughart (T10th), Cam Bergen (27th), Travis Jenkins (MC), Justin Paradis (MC), Cory Selander (T8th), Zach Hurd (T19th), Brett Henry (T10th), Cory Sawchuk (MC), Ashley Ziegeman (15th), Zach Hurd (T19), Kenneth Cotterill (T24th) and Jaret Nelson (T24th).
The top three finishers each earned a spot on the Wellingdon Cup team that will represent Saskatchewan at the Canadian Men’s Amateur Championship in Winnipeg on Aug. 5-8.
Ring, however, has decided not to attend the national tournament, handing a spot on the Saskatchewan team to St. Walburg’s Scott Thompson, who finished tied for fourth place with Irondale, Alta., product Torrie Coghlin.
Finishing third on Thursday, Wright will join Thompson and Wood in Winnipeg as they represent Saskatchewan for the national amateur title.