WASAGAMING — The most decorated golfer in Tamarack history has returned to the Clear Lake Golf Course, and he’s loving every minute of it.
Winnipeg’s Bruce North became a legend at the eight-day event by winning the men’s title seven times — most recently in 2003. However, 2004 for was his last event as he chose to compete in national mid-amateur championships instead. He missed last year’s Tamarack for the Canadian senior men’s event.
This year, the 56-year-old chose the Tamarack over the senior national championship, and he has no regrets about his decision.
"I love the tournament," he said. "It’s as good a golf tournament as anywhere you play. The golf course is in wonderful shape. It’s esthetically pleasing. The people are so friendly and the camaraderie. The tournament itself is always at the top of my list. … This year I decided I was coming to it no matter what and I backed out of the national event."
North later realized the senior championship will be played next week, but opted not to enter.
The Winnipegger played well in the opening weekend of his return to the Tamarack. He made the championship flight after shooting a 72 on Saturday and a 71 on Sunday.
He said he has loved every minute of the event so far and is thinking about making the Tamarack an annual stop on his golf tour again.
"I would like to," he said.
"I love the course and the challenge of it all. With my golf, I should probably play in the seniors, but I made it in the championship flight this year so I think I’ll stick around and compete as long as I can."
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Tamarack president Dean Larkin said no junior player will be turned away from playing in the tournament, but he’s pleased with the jump in the junior women’s competition.
Only two people competed in the age group last year and it has jumped up to seven this week. Larkin won’t take any credit for the increase, but gave a lot to Rod Klassen.
"He brings them in through the Cubs and has done an excellent job with the Cubs," Larkin said.
"He’s had some excellent young girls come through the Cubs and now they’re in juniors and now we’re hoping they’ll stay.
"He doesn’t train them," he continued. "He just makes it fun to golf and to keep golfing. No one’s going to make a living being the best golfer in Manitoba. He just teaches them that golf is fun and it’s fun to come out and compete with other kids."
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There has never been any preferential treatment given to talented golfer in order to get into the Tamarack — except for former champions — and that tradition continues.
Despite becoming the first golfer from Westman to win the Manitoba Men’s Amateur Championship in July, Glenboro’s Josh Wytinck was left on the wait list for the Tamarack and never got called to play.
» Chris Jaster is the Brandon Sun’s golf reporter.
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition August 20, 2012