Matt Burman topped the MGI Wealth Golf Tour last year. (FILE PHOTO)
Brandon’s Matt Burman has been looking forward to this weekend for a while.
The first two events on the MGI Wealth Golf Tour calendar tee off on Saturday at the Neepawa Golf and Country Club and Sunday at the Carberry Sandhills Golf and Country Club, and Burman can’t wait to step out of those courses’ clubhouses to begin the defence of his 2011 tour championship.
"It’s just fun," he said. "Normally you just go out and play with your friends and a few quarters here or there. (On the tour), you go out on weekends and it gives you something to look forward to. It gives you good competition and a way of just keeping your game in tone."
Although last year was Burman’s first-ever MGI championship, he’s not approaching the year any differently. His goal is to tour the local courses, have fun and play as well as he can.
However, his level of play may not be at as high right now as it was last season. Burman admits his short game isn’t where he would like it to be, but he’s hoping the tour events in Neepawa and Carberry can help him solve his problems before he plays in the tour’s first ‘major’ — The Grey Owl at Clear Lake — from June 8-10.
"It’s good to play in these tournaments, too, because it gets you toned for the bigger events like the Manitoba Amateur and Grey Owl and stuff like that," he said. "I’m looking forward to playing in Neepawa and Carberry just to see where my game is at and see where I need to practise before going into the Grey Owl next weekend."
Playing in Neepawa can also give golfers an advantage later in this season. Neepawa will host the Manitoba Rural Amateur on Aug. 12-13, with Burman the event’s defending champion.
Tour organizer Dean Oakden is happy that Neepawa gets to showcase its course twice on the MGI Tour this season, especially after half the course was covered in floodwater last spring.
"I think they’re excited to have some different guys on the course and it should be fun," Oakden said. "With them hosting the Rural Amateur this year, I’m sure there will be a lot of guys (on Saturday). I’d be surprised if they didn’t have 80 guys out there."
Oakden, who also plays on the tour and was the Mike Jones Player of the Year in 2008, is also looking forward to the tour starting this weekend. He said the cool spring hasn’t helped a lot of golfers practise for the events, but he hopes they’ll have nice weather to play in on the weekend.
"I think a lot of people will be excited just to get out and play some golf on a couple nice courses this weekend," Oakden said. "I bet there will be a lot of guys who play in both this weekend. The weather is going to be so nice and both are nice tracks. I think people will enjoy themselves this weekend."
CHIP SHOTS: The Glen Lea Reesor’s Ladies Senior Open will be held Wednesday afternoon ... The Killarney Men’s Open, another MGI Tour stop, is also being held on June 10 … The 17th annual Huntington’s Society Golf Tournament will be held at the Glen Lea Golf Course on Sunday … The Souris & Glenwood Golf Course is hosting ‘A Day of Golf with Andy Murray’ on June 9. Murray will also be honoured for being inducted the International Ice Hockey Federation’s Hall of Fame at a supper on June 8 … The Sunnyside Golf Club is hosting a mother-daughter alternate shot tournament on June 9 starting at 1 p.m.
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition May 31, 2012