Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Wytinck nails the Amateur

Playoff birdie on first hole wins trophy for student

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It's hard to explain, but the losing almost always comes before the winning.

When the dust settled on a wild and windy final day at the Nott Autocorp Manitoba Men's Amateur at Glendale, it fit just about everyone's angle on the finish.

Pine Ridge's Josh Wytinck, the 20-year-old Glenboro native, prevailed with a birdie on the first hole of the four-man playoff to take home the trophy presented by the Manitoba Free Press.

Wytinck, the first champion from western Manitoba in eons, finished second at last year's Am.

It's believed to be the championship's first-ever four-man playoff.

Extra holes have been required just twice in the last 25 years and Breezy Bend's Garth Collings has been on the short end both times, including Thursday.

He lost to Brad Kirton in 2008.

Also suffering playoff disappointment Thursday were Southwood's Charlie Boyechko, who was three strokes ahead with two holes to play, and Teulon's Aaron Cockerill, the 2012 match-play champ, who was fifth at last year's Amateur.

All four players struggled in at one-over 289, as nobody in the field broke par Thursday. In the playoff at the par-5 17th, Wytinck made four with a three-foot birdie putt, Cockerill made a par, Collings three-putted for six and Boyechko made a second consecutive double-bogey seven on the hole.

"I feel bad for Charlie because he's a good friend," Wytinck said of his U of M Bisons golf teammate, who caddied for him just two weeks ago when he made the cut at the Players Cup. "We go to the Dome pretty much every day in the winter. He'll have his chance."

Wytinck said his caddy, former Glenboro club champ Ryan Diehl, was a factor all week.

"I kind of lost it for a bit (on the back nine), but I'm lucky to have such a good guy like Ryan on the bag," Wytinck said. "He calmed me down and I got going again.

"This means a lot to me. I've put a lot of hard work into it."

Wytinck said it was just time to move to Winnipeg about two years ago, when he enrolled at the U of M.

"I had played the same nine holes for 14 years. I figured maybe time for a change, so I play at the Ridge and I've got a lot of people to thank there," he said.

Boyechko, just 19, finished bogey-double-bogey to fall back into the playoff. He made an absolute hash of the 17th in regulation play. He couldn't get up and down from right in front of the green for what would have been a winning par on the 72nd hole.

"It's an experience, what happened on 17," Boyechko said. "That's all I can take from it. It's tough to swallow, but not much you can do."

Collings, the 54-year-old phenom who has three Amateur titles to his credit, has now finished second nine times. In the last 25 years, he has only been out of the top seven at the Amateur three times.

"I'm not going to give up," said Collings, who started the day tied for the lead with Boyechko. "Too old and grumpy to give up. The toughest thing is to finish. I feel sorry for Charlie, but Eric (Johnson, in the Mid-Am) did the same thing two weeks ago. The hardest thing is to finish.

"There's a learning curve. I hate to say that, but there is. You have to learn how to lose before you learn how to win. He (Boyechko) is a pretty good player."

tim.campbell@freepress.mb.ca

LEADERBOARD

at Glendale

x-Josh Wytinck +1

Garth Collings +1

Charlie Boyechko +1

Aaron Cockerill +1

Bryce Barr +2

Thomas Strandemo +2

x-won playoff with birdie 4 on the first extra hole (17th).

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition July 27, 2012 C6

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