Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Trio of 'Tobans qualify for Canadian amateur

Bandura, Doyle, Wiebe among five to earn spots

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The field is set after 30 amateur golfers from across Canada competed for only five spots in the Canadian Men's Amateur Championship qualifier at Elmhurst Golf and Country Club Friday.

There were clear skies and calm winds as Jay Doyle, Bobby Wiebe and Ben Bandura were among Manitobans able to earn a spot and move onto the four-round national championship beginning Monday. Alex Purdom (2-over 72) of London, Ont., and Russell Bowie (3-over 73) of Mississauga, Ont., were the other two qualifiers.

The first two rounds of the tournament will be divided between Southwood Golf and Country Club and Elmhurst. After the two-round cut, the final rounds will be played at Elmhurst.

For the veteran Doyle, he hasn't played competitive golf like this in nearly 10 years but managed to shoot a round-best one-over 71 and will be competing in his third Canadian amateur. Doyle struggled early, picking up double-bogeys on holes one and three.

He managed to find his groove midway through the front-nine with the help of a strong iron game that allowed him to accurately find the greens, picking up three birdies to sit at one-over after nine holes.

"You know what, I struggled really hard in the beginning, which I have all year and just started getting confident in my swing," said Doyle, who hit par on the back-nine. "On the fourth hole, I just said to myself, 'You're better than this, let's go.'"

Doyle said he received some useful putting advice coming into the round from long-time friend Todd Fanning, who recently won the Manitoba amateur championship and will also be competing next week.

"My expectations coming into today was to actually stay focused for 18 holes and not let myself get in my own way," he said.

Another veteran in Bandura qualified for his fourth Canadian amateur with a 72. Bandura started strong, going one-under through the first nine but picked up three bogeys in the back-nine to finish the round.

"I've had such a crappy year, all year," said Bandura, who became a member of Elmhurst earlier this year. "It's been probably one of my worst years in golf, I just wanted to come in to this focused and try to qualify for this to hopefully make the rest of my year not bad."

With the successful qualification, Bandura said this is likely to be his last Canadian amateur championship here at his home course.

"I just want to go out there and just play, I'm happy I'm there for the week," he said. "I think this going to be my last one; it's tough to play against these young kids all day... Yeah it's still nice to show them I can still play. We'll see what happens. I'm not expecting much.

"But I mean if I play good Monday and Tuesday, I'll make the cut and have fun playing here Wednesday, Thursday."

Headingley's Wiebe qualified with a score three-over 73 to finish in a fourth-place tie with Bowie.

It wasn't a great day for Scott Mazur, a golfer out of the University of Manitoba Bisons, who was in the first group to tee off early in the morning. Mazur shot a 4-over 74 to finish in a tie for sixth place.

Mazur struggled on the green, three-putting Nos. 1, 6 and 18, which would make him miss out on qualification for the first time in three years.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition August 2, 2014 C2

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