Jarod Crane (above) and Jay Thiesen, the past two Grey Owl champions, are into the Tamarack semifinals. (COLIN CORNEAU/BRANDON SUN)
David Glenn went to extra holes for the second straight match on Thursday. (COLIN CORNEAU/BRANDON SUN)
WASAGAMING — Jarod Crane is chasing history at the 80th annual Tamarack Golf Tournament.
Only one person has won both major golf tournaments hosted by the Clear Lake Golf Course — the Tamarack and the two-round stroke play Grey Owl event — in the same year, but Crane is two wins away from accomplishing the feat. Crane, who won the Grey Owl in June, beat fellow Brandonite Greg Clemmensen 2 and 1 in their Tamarack men’s championship flight quarter-final match on Thursday to advance to today’s semifinals.
If Crane can win his next two matches, he’ll join Minnedosa’s Jamie Stone as the only people to win both tournaments in the same year. Stone accomplished the feat in 1991. He was also the Tamarack men’s medallist that summer.
"That’s one of my goals now since I won the Grey Owl to try and win both," Crane said. "I see it as a Clear Lake Slam. I want to take both of them. And it’s the 80th year, so it’s kind of a special year as well. I’m trying to give it a good run this year."
Crane, however, isn’t the only one trying to add a Tamarack championship to a resumé that also includes a Grey Owl title.
Russell’s Jay Thiesen, who won the Grey Owl in 2012, also advanced to the Tamarack semifinals by beating Brandon’s Grant Coulter 6 and 4.
Although the 26-year-old is proud of his Grey Owl title, he admits a Tamarack championship would mean even more to him.
"This is one I would really like to win," said Thiesen, who has played in the men’s side for three straight years but is in the championship flight for the first time. "I played in the Tamarack when I was a junior and it’s always a fun tournament. It’s a fun week up here with friends and family around it would be nice to win."
While the Grey Owl is tough to win, both Crane and Thiesen agree that the Tamarack is even harder to emerge on top.
Not only do golfers have to play well enough in the two-round stroke play part of the competition to post one of the 16 best scores out of 240 competitors, but then they have to win four match-play matches.
"I’d have to say this one just because there’s more golf and match play is a way different game than stroke play," Thiesen said. "If it was stroke play, Robbie Hall would have lit us all up this week."
Thiesen took advantage of a struggling Coulter to win his match. He’ll face Onanole’s Kody Fawcett in today’s semifinal. Fawcett beat Brandon’s Pete LePage 2 and 1.
Crane, meanwhile, led most of the way to win his match. He will take on Winnipeg’s Tyler Rice today. Rice won the last two holes over Brandonite Greg Clemmensen to take the match 1 up. The semifinals tee off the first hole at 9:08 a.m.
None of the four semifinalists have won the Tamarack before.
In order to get to the final, Crane believes he needs to improve his putting, while Thiesen will focus on keeping his long tee shots on the course.
Although he doesn’t want to look too far ahead, Crane wouldn’t mind facing Thiesen in a final that would feature the two most recent Grey Owl winners.
"That would be good," Crane said. "Maybe we could talk about the Grey Owl while strolling down the fairway. Who knows? You’ve got to get there first though."
Semifinal Friday at the Tamarack will also feature matches in the women’s, senior men’s and junior girls’ divisions.
The senior men’s championship flight tees off on the 10th hole at 9:06 a.m. The women’s championship flight tees off on the 10th at 2 o’clock, followed by the junior girls at 2:18 p.m.
CHIP SHOT: Brandonite David Glenn has shown off his flair for the dramatic. He was the last one to come off the course to secure a spot in the championship flight during qualifying play, and he has gone to playoff holes in both of his matches, losing in the first round of the championship flight to Coulter in two extra holes before beating Kurt Martin in one extra hole in his consolation quarter-final on Thursday.
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition August 23, 2013