Sask. PGA pros proud of podium finish at national championship

L to r; Jeff Chambers, Dean Brown, John Greenough, and Scott Knapp.

Saskatchewan’s team of head professionals that competed at the PGA of Canada are basking in their best provincial finish in at least three decades.

John Greenough, Jeff Chambers, Dean Brown, and Scott Knapp placed third overall in the team portion of the event held at Wigwam Golf Resort near Phoenix, Arizona last week. Ontario won the team competition, Quebec placed second overall in the two-day portion of the three-round championship.

Greenough, the head pro at Deer Valley Golf Club led the way with a top-10 finish at one under par. He said he was optimistic going into the tournament.

“I had a good week, I felt like it was going to be a good week,” Greenough said. “Going into the fall I was playing well and won a couple of Saskatchewan events. Going there I knew I had a decent chance of playing well. I managed to keep it in play for most of the event and I putted the lights out. The amount of eight to 12-foot par putts I made was pretty sickening and I was proud of that.”

Greenough was playing the event for the fifth time in his career. Entering the event, he had never made a cut. Achieving that feat was on his list of goals for the 2018 championship.

“I wanted to not make a double-bogey, that didn’t last long,” he laughed. “I didn’t want to three-putt, I didn’t do that, I wanted to be the low Saskatchewan pro, that was a goal I accomplished. I wanted to be in the final group the last day, that didn’t materialize, but I wanted to be in the hunt. It’s exciting when you are playing well, there are people running around watching what you are doing. There was some buzz on the course, I wanted to feel that little bit of pressure and I did so that was nice.”

During PGA of Saskatchewan meetings this week executive director Ken Morrow couldn’t recount a year in the last 30 that the team finished that high. Despite the personal accomplishments Greenough is most proud of the top-three placing for the team.

“Everyone contributed, my 75 didn’t count day one but I got in there for day two. In day two Knapper (Scott) had a tough round but everyone on format team contributed so that was nice. No one was blowing the doors off shooting 67 or 64 but as a team we got it done so that was exciting,” he said.

The format for the provincial championship is that the top three of four scores are combined for the first two days. Cuts are made after the second round potentially eliminating golfers from the provincial teams. Elmwood Golf Club professional Jeff Chambers finished in a tie for 25th overall at four over par. He was pleased with his week at the event and shared Greenough’s excitement for the bronze medal finish.

“Our group of four, I don’t think it could get much better,” he told Golf Saskatchewan. “It was pretty awesome to be down there with the guys competing with one another and to finally break through and make the top three and beat out some of those big provinces it was pretty awesome.”

The championship capped a solid year for Chambers on a personal level and for the Elmwood club in Swift Current. He took home the coach of the year, pro developer of the year and junior promoter of the year at the PGA of Saskatchewan awards in October. Chambers said having his wife at the gala, Elmwood staff and some of his students contributed to a surreal evening.

“It was really special to have them all there. I was really hoping for the coach of the year when I got it, it felt good knowing my work had paid off. It was a nice surprise winning the junior promoter again, that’s my seventh time now. I think it feels more special every time I get it, it was the one award that choked me up a little bit,” Chambers said.

Much like Greenough’s Deer Valley course, the Elmwood has seen some extensive renovations over the last few years. The club replaced all 18 greens, rebuilt the driving range and constructed a new academy building. Chambers said to see the finished product this season was a highlight as well.

“It has been a four-year process of a lot of construction and everything going on so to finally see the result and all the grass filling in it was a great feeling. A lot of people came to check it out which was great,” he said.