Schmidt reacts to first career win; Baker, Loeppky finish fall seasons

Alex Schmidt has her first college win.

Regina’s Alex Schmidt is a collegiate golf champion.

The senior at Lewis-Clark State College has had several podium finishes over her career but she can finally add a tournament win to her resume. Schmidt won the Bushnell Invitational in Creswell, Oregon on Monday by six strokes with a two-round score of 3-over, 147. She said finally breaking through at the college level is something she will remember for a long time as she was able to share the moment with her mom and dad.

“It was super exciting, it was definitely a fun way to end the fall season,” she said. “I have been putting a tonne of work into my game and to have it all pay off was a pretty special moment and to have my parents there to see it happen and hug me on the 18th green was even more special.”

The Royal Regina Golf Club member had a half dozen shot lead going into the final round, but it took some perseverance for Schmidt to seal the win in round two.

“I started out the round pretty nervous, I made five bogeys in my first six holes. My coach came over to me after that and got me a little more settled in and walked with me for a couple holes. I finally got some things rolling and made some birdies and got a little bit more comfortable and was able to close out the day,” Schmidt explained.

The win came at the last event of the fall golf season. The team will take a break and begin again in the new year. Schmidt said the victory elevates her confidence going into the second half of her last year, but for now she’s going to relish in this win.

“I set some big goals for myself this year and winning a tournament was one of them so to be able to do that is pretty great,” she said.

The team was second overall.

You can hear more from Schmidt below in her interview with Golf Saskatchewan’s Clark Stork.

Elsewhere in the United States on the college golf scene Prince Albert’s TJ Baker closed his fall season with the University of Arkansas at Monticello at the Ranger Invitational at Meadowlake Golf Course in Enid, Oklahoma on Monday.

Baker shot 84 in round one but rebounded with a 75 in the second round to finish at 17-over par. He tied for 28th. The team placed fifth overall.

Saskatoon’s Caden Loeppky was also in action this week with his Waldorf University teammates in Ankeny, Indiana on Sunday and Monday. Loeppky shot rounds of 76 and 80 at Otter Creek Golf Course. He placed in a tie for 37th at 156 in his final event of his freshman fall season with the Warriors.

Several other Saskatchewan student-athletes will be in action next week before the winter break kicks in.

Pochylko celebrates “first big win”

Photo - Maple Leaf Junior Golf Tour

Chase Pochylko has returned to Saskatchewan as a Maple Leaf Junior Golf Tour (MJT) national champion.

The 17-year-old won the junior boys division over the Thanksgiving weekend at Morgan Creek Golf Course with a three-round score of 213. The Saskatoon product said he had expectations of bringing home a championship, but nothing was assured.

“I knew I could perform with all those guys from my performances the rest of the summer,” he said. “I was feeling really good with my swing that. I expected to finish in the top five at least but a win wasn’t guaranteed.”

Pochylko shot 77 during the opening round not putting himself in a great position to win the age group (he finished second overall in players from the maximum yardage) but he had a special day during round two shooting a stealthy 66. He said everything fell into place on moving day.

“My game was really good that day. I was hitting a lot of greens, I missed two greens all day and one of those was on the fringe. I was able to save par when I missed the green and the putts were dropping,” he said.

Pochylko went on to shoot 70 in the final day winning his age group by five strokes. Going into the final round with the lead, he said he leaned on other Saskatchewan champions for advice during similar situations this year in Saskatchewan based events.

“I was asking Jeff (Chambers) about the thought process when leading a tournament or playing in the final group. Throughout the summer I asked Josh Nagy and Ty Campbell, some of those guys and their thought process when leading a tournament. That of course helped me in B.C.,” Pochylko explained.

Jayden Dudas was the last Saskatchewan boy to win an age group at the national event. Dudas won the bantam age division in 2016. In 2015 Roman Timmerman and Kade Johnson each won their age brackets as well. Pochylko said being named among that group is great to hear.

“It feels great to win at that level. This is really my first big win as a junior,” he said.

Although he hasn’t been officially informed regarding an exemption into the IMG Junior World Florida Challenge in December in Florida, Pochylko said the potential of competing at that event is exciting.

“Yeah, it would be sweet. I don’t really know too much comes with that but I know it would be great,” he concluded.

Nagy continues impressive season down south; Kydd shows well at home event

Josh Nagy continues his strong season at Robert Morris University. Photo - rmucolonials.com

Saskatoon’s Josh Nagy once again led the Robert Morris University (RMU) Colonials golf team this past weekend.

Coming off a third-place finish earlier this month, Nagy was the top Colonial at the Bucknell Invitational in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania on Oct. 10 to 12 where the junior was tied for 13th. He carded rounds of 71, 70, and 72 to finish at 3-over, 213.

As a team RMU was seventh out of 15. Their next event is on Oct. 23 – 24 in Grasonville, Maryland at the Prospect Bay Golf Club for the Towson Fall Invitational.

Jacob Kydd’s school, Indiana Wesleyan University hosted the IWU Fall Invitational on Oct. 8 and 9 at the Purgatory Golf Club in Noblesville, Indiana. The Regina product finished in a tie for 21st with rounds of 76, 78, and 74.

The Wildcats return to action on Oct. 22 and 23 in Laconia, Indiana for the Shootout at Chariot’s Run.

Jace Carlisle of Estevan was back in action this week, the Post University sophomore competed in the Eagles Invitational at the Watertown Golf Club in Watertown, Connecticut on Oct. 11 and 12. He shot rounds of 75, 84, and 81 for a 54-hole score of 27-over, 240. He tied for 59th out of an 81-player field.

Post claimed second place overall as a team at 26-over par.

Their next tournament is the Lemoyne College Fall Invitational on Oct. 15 and 16.

Will Danielson of Saskatoon recently played in a one-day event alongside his Milsaps College teammates.

The team battled Centenary College in a dual play format on Oct. 7 at the Black Bear Golf Club in Dehli, Louisiana. The team carded a score of 310, six better than their opposition. Danielson posted an 80, he was third on his team.

Milsaps will be in Rome, Georgia for the Chick-Fil-A Collegiate Invitational on Oct. 25 – 26.

Symone Ripley out of Saskatoon who competes for the UBC Okanagan Heat women’s golf team played in the Battle of the Bear on Oct. 10 and 11. Ripley was 28-over, 172 for the 36-hole event.

According to the Heat’s website, there is no more scheduled events for the season.

Cooke Municipal named host for 2022 Saskatchewan Amateur Championships

Prince Albert’s Cooke Municipal Golf Course will welcome the province’s best amateur golfers for the 2022 Women’s Amateur Championship, the Men’s Amateur Championship, and the Men’s Mid-Amateur Championship next July.

The course hasn’t hosted a Saskatchewan provincial championship since 2014 when hometown golfer Martin Ring won the men’s amateur championship. Cooke Head Professional Darcy Myers said the club is ecstatic to play host to the marquee event.

“We’re really excited to host this event,” Myers said. “It’s been quite awhile since we have had the amateur and mid-amateur, a lot has changed here since then and we’re looking forward to showcasing our golf course to the province.”

In recent memory Cooke hosted the men’s amateur in 2007, Prince Albert product Ron Stewart won that year. In 1995 Colin Coben won the first of his two amateur titles at Cooke as well. Melfort’s Kim Brozer won the Women’s Amateur Championship at Cooke in 1991, Gerri Street was the senior women’s winner that year at the club while Ray Marsh captured the senior men’s trophy that same year. Myers said the course will provide all the golfers with a supreme test on a premier Saskatchewan course.

“We’re hoping for much of the same conditions wise for next year,” Myers said. “If we get a normal winter, we will come out really great in the spring again and we’ll have a chance to prepare the course for the event. Cooke is always a good test of golf, and we can’t wait to host the province’s best women and men.”

The women’s and mid-amateur championships will run from July 12 – 14, the men’s championship will be four rounds with a champion crowned on July 15. Golf Saskatchewan Manager of Championships Steve Ryde said it’s great to have Cooke back on the provincial schedule and will be a wonderful host.

“Cooke is a premier golf course in the province with arguably the top conditions tee to green in Saskatchewan this year. Darcy and the entire crew at the club, in the heart of a great city with all the amenities we expect the 2022 amateur championships to be a week our organization remembers and the participants that compete in the three coinciding championships,” Ryde said.

Roman Timmerman is the defending amateur men’s champion, Prince Albert’s Danny Klughart will seek his fourth straight mid-amateur championship, Ella Kozak is the reigning women’s amateur champion.

Registration will open in April of 2022.

RBC Scramble a “trip of a lifetime”

The team from Deer Valley Golf Resort is still basking in the moment of a trip to the RBC Scramble National Championship at Cabot in Cape Breton, N.S.

The team of Travis Fifi, Curtis Addison, Ward Komonosky, Chris Campbell, and John Greenough won the local qualifier at Deer Valley before narrowly escaping the regional event at Wascana Country Club. Greenough said following the National Championship the team looked back on a crazy road just to get to Cabot.

“Every little thing along the journey, like what could have happened. If we don’t make a 60-foot putt on hole 17 at Wascana we’re not at Cabot. Everything fell in place, we were low team at Wascana by 0.9 stokes, one stroke one way or another and we’re not the qualifying team. They took one team from the Saskatchewan zone, they (PGA of Canada) flew us out there and gave us the trip of a lifetime,” Greenough explained.

The 54-hole event started at Cabot Links before shifting to Cabot Cliffs for the middle of the three rounds. Greenough said they started well on day one before some struggles on day two but just playing the highly touted courses for the first time was incredible.

“On day two we played Cabot Cliffs, fantastic golf course, I didn’t realize the Cliffs was ranked higher than the Links, I just knew they were both awesome. I was like oh, we get to play an even better golf course tomorrow. Alright I’m in,” he laughed. “We struggled there but it was a very challenging day. The scores were up, it’s a tougher course, we were out there for a while, by the time we got to 16, 17, 18, the three holes you want to enjoy, it felt like it was -2 degrees and blowing about 70 kilometers an hour. It was interesting playing those holes, starting tee balls over the ocean, and letting the wind bring it back, we’ve seen Saskatchewan wind, but this was new to me.”

Overall, the team ended the championship with a sixth-place finish. Greenough said from an early upgrade of the accommodations for the amateurs to the host facility the championship was one he will remember for a long time.

“I have played in national championships before and it felt like a national championship,” he added. “it’s obviously different as it’s a scramble and tunes are playing on the first tee, there is a more social aspect, but it truly felt like a national event. The golf course was first class the whole way, all the amenities were there, PGA of Canada ran an absolutely fabulous event.”

Fifi echoed the sentiments of team pro Greenough of the trip. He said the road to get to Cabot was longer for him. He attempted to get to the championship through the Avonlea qualifier as well as the tournament in Warman at the Legends. The team eventually got to the Wascana with a 0.1 stroke win at the Deer Valley qualifier. He said many things could have changed their fate.

“On hole 18 at the Wascana, our guy was going to hit five-iron, we said man this is the most wide-open hole in Saskatchewan, go driver. He put it onto 10, we hit it, we make par and win by 0.9. Between the two qualifiers we win by one shot,” he said.

Along with the mentioned upgrades in rooms the team also received signed Corey Connors flags, a video message from Connors wishing the team luck plus some wine for the trip. Fifi said those perks were fantastic and they hadn’t played the courses yet. The team also played a night round at a 10-hole, par-3 facility at Cabot. Fifi also entered a par-three contest with TSN’s Bob Weekes on hand for introductions. He said potentially returning next year with the group would be great.

“I would think so if we are allowed to,” he added. “I don’t think we will do other qualifiers. The pro from the course you qualify at goes with you. Johnny is a great golfer and guy, all day we want him with us.”

Fifi is a veteran among the amateur circuit in Saskatchewan and has attended several Golf Canada Canadian Championships in his career. He said those events are great to attend but the trip to Cabot provided a different experience overall.

“The course is not close, both of them, they are by far the best. I played the Victoria Golf Club for the mid-am and it was amazing, that was my favourite course until I played Cabot. This course is just, unbeatable. It’s not even close to as stressful as playing your own ball, you have four other guys to depend on. You can go to the halfway shack and grab a beer, it’s just a different type of fun,” Fifi concluded.

Pochylko wins MJT National Championship

Saskatoon’s Chase Pochylko is a national Maple Leaf Junior Tour champion.

The 17-year-old posted rounds of 77, 66, and 70 this weekend at Morgan Creek Golf Course in Surrey, B.C. to claim the juvenile boys division with a 54-hole score of 213. He was five shots better than St. Albert, Alta. product Ethan Wilson.

Pochylko finished second overall in the event, Ryan Vest, a 15-year-old from Vernon, B.C. was the lowest shooter from the 6,670 yards the course was set at at 207.

Pochylko will receive and exemption into the IMG Junior World Florida Challenge from Dec. 18 – 20.

Theoren West of Wawota and Waskesiu golfer Guillermo Salazar were tied at 233. Saskatchewan junior champion Hunter Kutcher of Regina shot 236.

Tommy Danielson was the top local juvenile boy, he carded a three-round total of 235. Max Regier, also of Saskatoon was a shot behind Danielson at 236. Weyburn’s Darien Herlick shot 238, Ryan Chernoff of Estevan fired a 239.

The top Saskatchewan player in the bantam boys division was Kerr Cuddmore of Wawota. The 14-year-old shot 245. Warman’s Dane Giesbrecht finished with 249, Elias Haukeness shot 264 and Sucker River’s Dade Bernatchez put up a 265.

Aricin Franklin of Saskatoon placed fifth in the peewee boys age group. He shot 237 from 5,721 yards. Fellow Saskatoon golfer Lucas Sturgeon placed ninth at 252.

The complete results can be seen here.

*Golf Saskatchewan will have more from the event this week including reaction from Pochylko and others.

Perdue Oasis Golf Course welcomes students for clinic

Purdue Oasis Golf Course collaborated with the Prairie Spirit School Division – Central Valley Athletic Conference and Golf Saskatchewan for a golf clinic in late August.

Perdue’s Oasis Golf Course recently took advantage of the warm Autumn weather and hosted a golf clinic in partnership with Golf Saskatchewan and the Prairie Spirit School Division – Central Valley Athletic Conference (CVAC).

The clinic was divided into groups of novice golfers and more experienced players and conducted by Golf Saskatchewan Sport Development Manager Steve Ryde. The novice group played nine holes after the clinic while the more experienced players played 18 holes. Oasis Golf Club Proshop Manager Andrea Bodnar said the club is always looking for ways to promote the game and working with the school division is a great avenue to do that.

“Several years ago, we were approached by the Central Valley Athletic Conference about hosting a tournament for them,” Bodnar explained. “We are always looking for ways to promote the game of golf, especially among young players. So, we were very excited about the opportunity to work with CVAC. The planning begins early on in the season, and we work with the CVAC coordinator to bring it all together.”

Bodnar added that the kids have always shown plenty of enthusiasm with events such as this. She said the golf course hopes to see some of the kids come back in the future.

“Over the last few years, we have seen an increase in the number of youths from our community taking up the game of golf. They come with their friends, and we see them coming out with their families. We will continue to work with the school in finding ways to encourage both boys and girls to get involved in the game,” Bodnar said.

Golf Saskatchewan partnered with several clubs across the province this season to grow the game and provide basic tips to both youth and adults. With the weather turning and the season ending at the end of October the organization will turn their focus to Golf in Schools. Bodnar recommends clubs or schools to reach out and have clinics or events of their own.

“Absolutely,” she beamed. “The lesson for the novice group was very well organized. Steve was able to arrange the kids into three different stations and rotate them through. It was easy to see the kids were highly engaged and having a lot of fun. With the lesson prior to their round of golf, the kids were able to apply their learning.”

If any school is interested in learning more about Golf Saskatchewan’s clinics or Golf in Schools contact Ryde at 306.975.0834.

14 Sask. players set for MJT Nationals

Morgan Creek Golf Course is hosting the MJT Nationals this weekend.

The Maple Leaf Junior Golf Tour (MJT) National Championship will tee off Saturday in Surrey, British Columbia at the Morgan Creek Golf Course.

The 54-hole, three-day championship features golfers from across Canada. The top two spots in each age group in female and male will receive exemptions into the IMG Junior World Florida Challenge in December.

Round one will get underway on Saturday at 10:30 a.m. Saskatchewan time. Tee times begin at 10:30 a.m. for all three rounds.

Golfers competing from Saskatchewan in alphabetical order are:
Dade Bernatchez (Sucker River)
Ryan Chernoff (Estevan)
Kerr Cudmore (Wawota)
Tommy Danielson (Saskatoon)
Aricin Franklin (Saskatoon)
Dane Giesbrecht (Warman)
Elias Haukeness (Buena Vista)
Darien Herlick (Weyburn)
Hunter Kutcher (Regina)
Chase Pochylko (Saskatoon)
Max Regier (Saskatoon)
Guillermo Salazar (Waskesiu)
Lucas Sturgeon (Saskatoon)
Theoren West (Wawota)

For more details on the MJT Nationals click here.


After three decades Happy’s Golf Car Sales and Service changes owners

With what started as a side venture to assist a friend and subsidize farming transitioned to three decades of the Happy’s Golf Car Sales and Service serving the golf industry in Saskatchewan and beyond. In a Facebook post this week, Marie Happy announced she has sold the business to Wynyard NAPA and will retire.

Marie and her husband Don officially started the cart retail and service business in 1992, again as a side job along with farming but as their business grew farming was no longer possible and in 1998, they relocated to a property near Good Spirit north of Yorkton for its centralized location. Marie said as their business grew they watched courses such as Green Acres in Balgonie, the Wynyard Golf Club, Sherwood Forest, Flowing Springs and others develop as well over the years.

“We watched them blossom, some started with basically four cars in their fleets. These courses have grown to large fleets and new clubhouses. They have really blossomed over the years,” she said.

Don was highly regarded as a golf car mechanic and word travelled far and wide. Marie said in the founding days of the business he was on the road a lot paving his way to find work as well as customers that became vey loyal over the 30 years of their operation.

“That’s what really got our name out there,” Marie added. “Everyone recognized Don’s truck and he was at the regular courses we had fleets at or sold fleets to. He was there once every couple weeks kind of thing and when he was there they always said it was like someone threw fresh meat out because the flies just flocked, the customers would just show up.”

Over the years Marie said she got quite good at stocking Don’s truck with parts and items regular customers needed allowing him to do the work people required. She said clients from as far as Ontario would bring work to them. One gentleman transported a torn apart cart engine all the way to Saskatchewan to have Don rebuilt it for his cart. They serviced Manitoba regularly plus Alberta clients with Yorkton ties.

After Don passed away in 2018 Marie admitted she couldn’t just step away, their clients relied on them. Despite not having a mechanic anymore she continued with the business for three more years.

“I had become pretty good at diagnosing over the phone in a lot of cases,” she chuckled. “I followed Don around a lot as a gopher, so I was able to pick up on a lot of things. I just didn’t want to leave our customers empty handed; they had relied on us for 30 years.”

Aside from watching courses grow and develop into community hubs and meeting places Marie said they watched the overall sport develop from a white-collar senior based crowd into a game for everyone to enjoy, especially families taking up the game.

“When we started it was the well-established senior retirees kind of thing more so than the everyday working class, at least that’s what it seemed like from our perspective. Then it grew after that especially in the rural courses, it was the families and junior golf has really taken off,” she added.

As mentioned, Wynyard NAPA will take over the business and Marie will take time to herself likely devoting much of that to her two grandchildren and her daughter’s family. She said she hopes to find more time to golf now as well. She did want to send a message to their devoted clients over the 30 years of Happy’s.

“I just want to say thank you for the loyalty that everyone gave us over the years. It was really overwhelming that people kept coming,” she concluded.

Rookie honours for Dudas; podium finishes for Schmidt and Nagy

Jayden Dudas has had an excellent rookie season with the Medicine Hat Rattlers college golf team.

Estevan born golfer Jayden Dudas has been named the 2021 Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference (ACAC) Rookie and Male Golfer of the Year after his first year at Medicine Hat College.

Dudas recently won the ACAC Championship after a three-round score of 213 (74, 69, 70) at the Alberta Springs Golf Resort. Dudas was three shots better than fellow Saskatchewanian and teammate Colby Friedrich. Friedrich, from North Battleford posted rounds of 72, 74, and 70 for a 54-hole total of 216.

The team won the championship at plus-14. Both Dudas and Friedrich will compete in the Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association in Windsor, Ontario starting on Oct. 12.

(*Golf Saskatchewan will hear from both players following their appearances at the national championship.)

Josh Nagy has his best college event under his belt. The Saskatoon product finished tied for third at the Tom Tontimonia Invitational in Lakewood, Ohio on Oct. 4 and 5.

Nagy drained nine birdies over the two days of the tournament to finish with a two-round score of 140 (71, 69). He helped the Colonials place seventh overall in the event. Nagy and his Robert Morris University teammates will travel to Lewisburg, Pennsylvania on Oct. 10 – 12 for the Bucknell Invitational.

Roman Timmerman has another college top-20 performance on his resume after the Saskatoon born Southern Arkansas University Mulerider placed in a tie for 19th at the Battle of the Belt in Hot Springs, Arkansas on Oct. 4 and 5.

The senior shot rounds of 74, 72, and 73 at the Hot Springs Country Club. As a team the Muleriders placed third out of 11 teams.

The teams next event is the Tulsa Cup in Tulsa, Oklahoma on Oct. 25 and 26.

The University of Arkansas at Monticello also competed in the Battle for the Belt this week including Prince Albert’s TJ Baker. The second-year Weevil carded rounds of 78, 80, and 79, good enough for a 52nd place finish. The team placed ninth overall at the 54-hole tournament.

Next up for the Weevils is the Sixth annual Ranger Fall Invite on Oct. 18 and 19 in Enid, Oklahoma.

Prince Albert golfer Josh Guthrie was in action for the University of Alberta on Oct. 4 and 5. Guthrie competed in the Can West Championships at the Squamish Valley Golf Club. Guthrie shot rounds of 76 and 79, he placed in a tie for 33rd at plus-11.

Regina’s Alex Schmidt had another solid performance for the Lewis-Clark State College Warriors on Oct. 2 and 3 at the Culturame Classic. Schmidt led the team and placed third overall in the event with a three-over-par 147 (71, 73).

The Warriors team also placed third at the event. The squad will finish the Fall season at the Bushnell Invitational on Oct. 17 and 18.

 Other Saskatchewan student-athletes in action over the next few days are Will Danielson (Oct. 7), Jacob Kydd (Oct. 8-9), and Connor Scissons (Oct 11-12).