Holmes keen to play Sundre
Evan Holmes is excited. Honest. Some might assume that Holmes would prefer a lifetime of plugged bunker lies to a return trip to Sundre Golf Club, site of his final-round heartbreak at the 2013 Alberta Amateur Championship and now host of this week’s Scott Venturo Rudakoff Alberta Open, but the 22-year-old insists that’s simply not the case.
“Going back there for a practice round, I just remembered all the good things,” said Holmes, who has emerged as one of Calgary’s best birdie-makers and has quite a hardware collection to prove it. “Sure, there was one bad round, but it was definitely nice to see the course again and remember all the good shots that I hit throughout that week. A lot more positives than negatives, for sure.
“When we were back, it was just really fun to play it again, knowing that I have played well there.”
Just weeks after graduating from high school, Holmes was on cruise control through three days at the 2013 Alberta Amateur at Sundre, shaving 11 strokes off par and stretching his lead to nine entering the fourth and final round.
The wheels fell off on his last lap of the tree-lined test, though. Holmes struggled to a 7-over 77, watching as playing partner Riley Fleming whittled away the deficit and eventually drained a winning putt on No. 18.
“I think it was just learning what it takes — a lot more hard work, a lot more dedication, the mental side of it, too,” Holmes said.
“That definitely, I guess, opened my eyes to what you have to do to be successful as a golfer and I hope I’ve done a little bit of that along the way these last four years, so it’ll be nice to go back to there and see where my game is at, compared to then.”
Despite a back-in-the-pack finish this past week at the Glencoe Invitational, Holmes should rank among the favourites at the Scott Venturo Rudakoff Alberta Open, a two-day shootout that tees off Monday.
He is now — finally — Alberta’s reigning amateur champ and also triumphed earlier this month at the Canadian University/College Championship, winning the national title for the second time in a three-year span.
The front-runners at Sundre should also include Mackenzie Tour-PGA Tour Canada regular James Love and local teaching pros Wes Heffernan — a five-time Alberta Open victor, with each of those trophy presentations at Carnmoney — and Dustin Risdon.
The bulls-eye belongs to Calgary’s Brett Hogan, who will be back to defend his title. The 23-year-old Hogan drained a chip on his final assignment to win the 2016 Alberta Open at RedTail Landing, becoming just the second amateur in the past decade to claim the crown at Alberta Golf’s marquee event.
“It’s a tournament that I wanted to win for a long time, so it’s really cool to be back as a champion,” Hogan said. “I’m really excited. I’ve played two tournaments there — the Alberta Junior and Alberta Am — so it should be a good fit. I’m pretty comfortable with the course and I’m really looking forward to it.” So is Holmes. Honest. “If I do have a nine-shot lead again, hopefully I’ll do a little bit better,” he said with a grin.
After the Alberta Open winner is crowned Tuesday, the top 16 amateurs will stick around Sundre for the Alberta Match Play Championship … On the same day that Pryce Beshoory of Pearland, Texas, scratched out a onestroke victory at the Glencoe Invitational, reigning tournament champion Jared du Toit carded a course record in just his second event as a pro. Born in Calgary and raised in Kimberley, B.C., du Toit blistered to a 10-under 61 in the third round of the Mackenzie Tour’s GolfBC Championship at Gallagher’s Canyon in Kelowna. The 19-year-old Beshoory, meanwhile, headed home to Texas with both a course record and a trophy — firing a 6-under 66 on his first spin of Glencoe’s Forest Course and then winning the three-day amateur showdown at 4-under … Calgary’s Earl Grey G&CC played host to the PGA of Alberta Ladies’ Championship last week but the hardware is headed back to Edmonton with Kylie Barros (Glendale), who successfully defended her title … Silverwing Links regulars Reef Caulder and Ken Kajita joined forces to top the main-event leaderboard at the Calgary Golf Association’s Richmond Equity Best Ball at Speargrass, while the Country Hills duo of Tom Dixon and David Schultz scored bragging rights in the senior division.
Calgary golfer Evan Holmes looms as one of the favourites in the Scott Venturo Rudakoff Alberta Open beginning at the Sundre Golf Club.