WASAGAMING — Jay Thiesen has had some success at the Clear Lake Golf Course, winning the 2012 Grey Owl tournament and reaching the Tamarack semifinals last year.
If he wants to post a new best finish at the 81st annual Tamarack golf tournament, the Russell native will have to beat someone who has dominated the course for the last 20 years. Thiesen is set to meet Brandonite Jared Jacobson — who has won four men’s since 2001 and two junior men’s titles before that — in one of today’s men’s semifinals, and he expects to have his hands full.
"It’s nervous, for sure," Thiesen said. "He likes this course, he’s very experienced and he’s won it a bunch of times, but you have to play him eventually, so it’s in the semis and we’ll see how it goes. It will be fun."
Thiesen advanced to the semifinals with a 3 and 2 win over Brandon’s Greg Clemmensen on Thursday, while Jacobson beat fellow Brandonite Jarod Crane 1 up. Crane missed a 12-foot putt on the final hole that would have forced extras.
Thiesen wasn’t too happy with his game, especially on the greens, and knows that he will have to putt better if he wants to reach Saturday’s final.
"I haven’t really putted the ball too well all week," said Thiesen, who lost to Kody Fawcett in last year’s semifinals. "They’re just not falling right now so hopefully I can get some to fall tomorrow."
The other men’s semifinal will feature Brandon’s Dale Coulter taking on Toronto’s Kevin Pratt. Pratt won the last two holes to defeat Brandonite Rob Klassen 1 up in their quarter-final, while Coulter led most of the way in his 3 and 2 win over Jason Thorpe, who’s also from the Wheat City.
This past week has been a tough week for people from Russell with a pair of residents in their 20s dying in collisions. While Thiesen hasn’t heard all the details, he hopes that his success at the Tamarack can bring some joy to the community in mourning.
"It’s too bad," he said. "Through social media I know something has happened, but not too sure what the situation was. … That would be nice if something like that would bring some joy back to Russell. That would be great."
Brad Clement, also of Russell, is trying to do the same thing in the champion men’s division. Clement won all eight holes of his quarter-final match against Erickson’s Dan Deonarine before Deonarine decided to call it quits.
Clement will take on LaSalle’s Brent Young, who beat Carberry’s Lorry Broatch 6 and 5, in today’s semifinals.
Meanwhile, Onanole’s Keith Fawcett edged Calgary’s Don McDougall 1 up in a match that Fawcett led by four after four holes while shooting 3-under par. He’ll take on Arborg’s Ken Stadnek today. Stadnek, the champion men’s medallist, advanced to the semifinals with a 3 and 2 win over Melita’s Gene Banks.
In the cubs division, Braxton Kuntz shot an 81 at Clear Lake to win the boys’ title, while Cali Yates carded a 90 at Elkhorn Ranch to claim the girls’ crown. The Cubs event, for kids 12 and under, had more than 80 golfers this year.
The Tamarack continues today with the men’s, champion men’s, senior men’s, women’s and junior women’s semifinals.