WASAGAMING — Cliff Lenz debated whether to play in the senior or champion men’s event at the 81st annual Tamarack golf tournament, and now he’s sure he made the right choice.
The 68-year-old from Onanole opted for the senior event as he believed people closer to 50 would be more likely to go into the champion men’s event. On Saturday, he won his first Tamarack title after edging Hamiota’s Clay Wyborn 3 and 2 in the final at the Clear Lake Golf Course.
"It’s a great feeling," he said. "I’m forgetting how many years ago I lost the final to Keith Fawcett. To come back and win the final now, it really means a lot to me."
Lenz shot an 84 in the qualifying round and was the third seed going into match play. He dominated the front nine to win his first two matches but was 1 up through nine against Wyborn, the event’s fifth seed. Lenz won a couple more holes on the back nine to beat Wyborn, who paid the Onanole native one of the best compliments of his golfing career after they shook hands.
"I’m not sure if another (championship) will come along, so it’s nice to get one," Lenz said. "I was joking with Clay when we finished and he said that he has four at least and now I have at least one, so that was special."
Meanwhile, Arborg’s Ken Stadnek defeated Russell’s Brad Clement 3 and 2 in the final for the inaugural champion men’s event — which is for people 50 and over who want to play 36 holes of qualifying and four rounds of match play as opposed to 18 holes of qualifying and three rounds of match play.
No hole in the champion men’s final was halved and, even though Stadnek won the men’s title in 1997, he’ll treasure this one a little more.
"I think this one’s better, just because my kids said I couldn’t do it anymore," he said. "They said get away from playing with the young ones and go play with the old ones."
While the champion men’s event is new, Stadnek hopes it catches on and becomes more popular next year.
"We need to get more guys playing in this division and I talked to many and there will be a whole bunch more guys coming into here, and that’s good," he said. "That will clear up some space in the men’s division."