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Collings not thrilled by seventh title

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For golfer Garth Collings, lucky number seven didn’t feel all that special.

Collings parred the 54th hole of the Golf Manitoba Men’s Mid-Amateur Championship to capture his seventh title with an impressive three-round score of 10-under 206, edging out fellow Breezy Bend member and tournament first-timer Eric Johnson.

So what should have been a time for celebration was instead filled with a taste unlike that of sweet victory.

"You know what, it’s good but it’s not good, I’m very disappointed for Eric," said Collings, who finished the round with three birdies and one bogey for a two-under 70. "Eric should have won today. Unfortunately for me it worked out but I feel bad for Eric. Eric played really well the whole tournament and then one bad swing."

That swing came on the 16th hole when Johnson — at the time, two shots up on Collings — heeled a tee-shot over a hill near water and out of the sight of tournament officials.

"I saw it go over the hill and bounce a few times and I thought it was going to be OK," said Johnson in an interview following the final hole. "But when we went down there we couldn’t find the ball and the rule is if you don’t see the ball go in to the hazard, you can’t declare it a hazard."

Sure enough, not a single tournament official could claim seeing the ball enter the water, forcing Johnson to trek back in the blazing heat to shoot another ball.

It would be the beginning of the end of Johnson’s chance at claiming his first-ever MGA tournament.

Johnson’s second attempt on the tee landed in the fairway bunker, followed by a recovery shot in to the water.

"I was kind of rattled from not finding the ball and I tried to hit kind of a hero shot, which ended in the water," said Johnson of the shot he says cost him the tournament.

Johnson would eventually finish the hole with a nine, ending any chance of an eventual comeback.

But not all was lost for Johnson, as his second-place finish — an overall tournament score of six-under 210 — earned him a spot on Manitoba’s provincial team set to compete in the National Mid-Amateur Cup beginning Sept. 24 at Point Grey Golf and Country Club in Vancouver, B.C.

"I’m pretty pumped about that. That was my goal at the beginning of the week to make the team," said Johnson. "It changed on the back nine today. I really wanted to win but I’m still happy overall."

Johnson will join Collings on Team Manitoba along with Dean Stowell, who shot an eight-over 224.

"Garth is a great player and we have a good relationship," said Johnson. "I’ve learned a lot from him over the years watching him."

*  *  *

The Manitoba Women's Amateur ended Wednesday in nail-biting fashion with Elmhurst's Bri-ann Tokariwski defeating Glendale's Jenna Roadley in a sudden-death playoff hole to capture her first amateur championship.

Roadley, coming off a Manitoba Junior Championship title last week, was tied with Tokariwski heading into the final round but a bogey on the deciding hole would lead to her demise as Tokariwski finished with a birdie and the win.

Jeff.hamilton@freepress.mb.ca

History

Updated on Wednesday, July 11, 2012 at 4:09 PM CDT: changes photo

4:28 PM: Adds info on Manitoba Women's Amateur

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