Local golfer qualifies for berth at the Canadian Men's Amateur Championship
At times this week Leighton Bearchell was great.
Leighton Bearchell. File photo
At other moments, less so.
In the end, he was more than good enough.
Bearchell shot a four-over 75 for the second straight round to finished tied for eighth place. That was good enough to claim one of the final two Saskatchewan quota spots at the Canadian Men's Amateur Golf Championships in Winnipeg.
"All in all it was pretty successful. I got a quota spot to go to nationals, so that's obviously a good thing. I wanted to be on the provincial team, of course, but I'm not complaining about going," said Bearchell who will make his Canadian Men's Amateur debut in 10 days. "The goal at the start of the week was to make it there, so I guess you could say: mission accomplished."
Bearchell finished eight-over for the tournament. He got off to a fast start with a two-under 69 to open, but carded a 73 and two 75s to close out the event.
"After that first day I was right in the thick of things, but that second day set me back a little bit," he said. "I just battled the last two days. (Wednesday) was difficult. I got off to a bad start and was six-over through 10 (holes) and not really loving life a whole lot, but I got it back. (Thursday) I started well and didn't finish as strong, but that's golf I guess."
Bearchell finished with 16 birdies over the four rounds, which was more than any other golfer in the tournament.
"I made enough birdies this week to be able to hold that trophy," said Bearchell. "It's tough in that regard. It's positive, but I certainly have a lot of things to work on. I need to make more pars instead of birdies and bogeys. Consistency is something that is going to have to be a stronger part of my game."
He had five double-bogeys over the final two rounds — including two on the back nine Thursday — which marred some otherwise very strong rounds.
"You look at my scores and there's nothing too crazy, but you open up my scorecard and that's another thing," said Bearchell.
"Once I had things rolling I would take a double and bring things to a halt. All of the momentum you build up through the round can change a lot in one hole."
Bearchell won the Saskatchewan men's junior title a year ago and didn't play in the Saskatchewan Amateur Men's Championship.
The Elk Ridge golfer finished tied for 31st the last time he was at the provincial men's championship. Bearchell just finished his freshman season at Weyland Baptist University in Texas and his game continues to evolve and improve.
"I certainly have things to work on, but I'm pretty happy with how I'm hitting the ball right now," said Bearchell. "Being able to play and practice every day in Texas certainly helps my game. I feel like I can play well at the Canadian Am."
Bearchell said he had a few bad swings over his four rounds and lamented his two double-bogeys on a pair of par-threes Thursday.
"Just one bad swing will cost you. There are some holes out here that will make you pay and I definitely found that out today," he said.
Bearchell made three birdies on the front nine and was one-under at the turn Thursday.
"I had things going on the front. I made a pretty good par-save on 11… Five-over (on the back nine) maybe seems bad, but it could have been a lot worse," he said.
"You can't take anything for granted out there. You have to just focus on every shot."
Beachell was the only local golfer to make the cut in Prince Albert.
Martin Ring from the Cooke Municipal Golf Course saw the home course advantage pay off as he won with a final round 74. That was a shot better Unity's Justin Wood. Regina's Tyler Wright earned the final spot on the provincial Wellingdon Cup team.
Scott Thompson from St. Walburg shot a six-under 65 Thursday, the low round of the tournament, and finished tied for fourth.
The Canadian Men's Amateur will take place at the Elmhurst Golf & Country Club and the Southwood Golf & Country Club from Aug. 4-7. Each golfer plays one round at each course before the cut and then the final two rounds are held at the Elmhurst.