POS­I­TIVE AP­PROACH

Holmes keen to play Sun­dre

Calgary Herald - - SPORTS - WES GILBERTSON wgilbert­son@post­media.com

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.

CHIP SHOTS

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.

MCLEOD RYAN

Cal­gary golfer Evan Holmes looms as one of the favourites in the Scott Ven­turo Ru­dakoff Al­berta Open be­gin­ning at the Sun­dre Golf Club.

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