WASAGAMING — Colton Willms originally wasn’t planning on playing in the 81st annual Tamarack golf tournament at the Clear Lake Golf Course, but then he had a change of heart.
Earlier in the year, the 18-year-old Brandonite accepted a golf scholarship from Northern New Mexico College, which required him to be in Espanola, N.M., by Aug. 4. However, Willms debated whether it was worth going down south to take business administration when he wasn’t sure what to do with his future.
Ultimately, Willms decided to forgo the scholarship and stay home and work for a year to figure out his life.
"I didn’t really know and was confused at the time and decided to stay and wait and try to figure it out," he said. "The scholarship doesn’t mean a lot to me. I think I’m going to try to get another one possibly through a different school and we’ll see what I can do down there. As far as that goes, I’m not too upset with what I missed out on. I know what I was giving up and was OK with it. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have done it."
With his commitment to go to the United States over, Willms registered for the Tamarack and is now trying to improve on his runner-up finish in last year’s junior men’s event.
"It’s by far the funnest week of summer," he said. "You get up here and play golf all week, hang out with buddies. Nothing really beats the week-long match play golf tournaments."
Willms is off to a good start at this year’s Tamarack.
He shot a 73 in qualifying to become the fourth seed in the championship flight. On Wednesday, he overcame a rough start in the quarter-finals to beat Winnipeg’s Daniel Frick 4 and 2. Willms will meet fellow Brandonite Austin Dobrescu in this morning’s semifinals. Dobrescu won two of his first three holes and went on to a 5 and 3 win over Carberry’s Joel Baron.
The pair are good friends and Willms is expecting a great match.
"I’m sure we’re going to keep it light, but it’s still going to be competitive," Willms said. "He wins, I win, really in the end we both win. We’ll be cheering each other on and that’s the way it’s going to go. Either him or I will be in the final.
"Obviously you want to go out there and try to win, but if I go out there tomorrow and lose, I’m still going to be happy for Austin and wish him the best in the final, and I’m sure he’ll do the same for me."
In the other quarter-finals, Glenboro’s Zach Wytinck won five of his six holes after the turn to beat Brandonite Dylan Williamson 5 and 3, while Brandon’s Zach Whitecloud pushed LaSalle’s Steve Young to a playoff hole before the three-time champion made par to advance to the semifinals.
Whitecloud evened the match on No.8 — they started on the 10th hole — when Young hit his tee shot into the trees and Whitecloud put his second shot within a foot of the hole. They went back to the eighth tee for the playoff, and Whitecloud hit into the trees to the left of the green and couldn’t recover.
Whitecloud was disappointed he couldn’t pull off the upset, but Young was impressed with the way his opponent played.
"It’s the closest match I’ve had in three or four years and he played great today," Young said. "I was questioning every hole whether he’d throw another one tight or make another putt. He wasn’t making any mistakes and it was hard to keep up."
Young will meet Wytinck in today’s other semifinal, while Whitecloud drops to the consolation semifinals against Williamson.
MOTHER-DAUGHTER: The Brandon Sun/Taurus Golf Mother and Daughter Tournament is looking for entries. The event will be held on Sept. 7 at Northern Pines. The cost is $25 per team. To enter, send an email to Marlene Fitzsimmons at email@example.com.
CHIP SHOTS: Killarney will hold its Men’s Fall Classic on Sunday. Call the club at 204-523-8277 … MacGregor will host its Ladies’ Open on Saturday and Junior Open on Sunday. Its Mixed Senior Tournament is set for Sept. 3. Call the club for details … The Clear Lake Ladies’ Classic will be held on Monday. The cost of the tournament is $94, including cart rental. Call Pat at 204-848-7497 … Deer Ridge is hosting the Samaritan House Four Person Scramble on Aug. 29. Contact the club for more details … Neepawa’s Rose Bowl men’s match play event runs from Aug. 30 to Sept. 1. The cost is $90. Call the club for more information …Souris will host a Labour Day Tournament Aug. 30 to Sept. 1. Call the club for details.