Whitehorse’s Landon Kulych has his swing functioning like a well-oiled machine.
The 28-year-old won his second straight men’s title, and his third to date, at the Air North Yukon Golf Championships on Sunday at Mountain View Golf Course.
“I feel really good. I’m happy with my progress. My goal was to not make a lot of mistakes and keep working on what (club pro) Graham (Frey) and I have been working on out there, and it’s paying off,” said Kulych.
“I left the driver in the bag a lot today; I only hit it twice on the front nine and then sort of relied on my irons – my two-iron – and my short game around the green. I just kept it steady, didn’t make any big mistakes, didn’t make any big openings to let anyone back in, and I’m happy to hold on to the end again.”
Kulych, who won his first territorial title in 2007, carded a 75 Saturday and a 73 Sunday for an eight-stroke win. Dan King, the 2014 men’s champ, hit a 76 and 80 to finish a stroke ahead of third place’s Matt Gibson.
“It was closer than the scores portrayed. I didn’t feel relaxed until after I hit my tee shot on the 18th hole,” said Kulych.
Kulych’s win Sunday also marked his fourth straight tournament win in Yukon. He won last year’s championships, then the club championship and kicked off this season with a win in the Mountain View Golf Course Open last month.
He says the next one will be a challenge – the club championship beginning two days after he returns from his wedding and honeymoon on Maui.
“There’s a lot of pressure on the next one – the first one coming back from marriage,” said Kulych.
Whitehorse’s Bryce Anderson is probably better known for his slap shot than of his tee-shot. Still, the Whitehorse Mustangs hockey alumni picked up his first junior title at the championship.
The 15-year-old hit an 83 and a 78 for a 16-stroke win over Riley Smoler. Brett Walchuk placed third with a combined 202.
“The first (round), it was raining pretty hard, so I feel I played pretty good,” said Anderson. “Today, I knew I had a nine-shot lead over Riley, and then I had a triple on number six … Got the butterflies a little bit, every shot seemed to get a little harder, but I seemed to hold it together.”
“I wasn’t going for as many greens as yesterday, not really hunting pins like usual.”
Anderson’s 78 Sunday came despite a two-stroke penalty for playing another player’s ball that happened to be the same brand and number.
Anderson, who is set to play in the B.C. Major Midget League next hockey season, says he goes to hockey practice in the morning and hits the course right after.
“It’s a pretty good schedule,” he said.
Playing everyday in the week leading up to the championships paid off for Whitehorse’s Tom Amson. Amson regained his 2014 senior men’s title with a 79 Saturday and an 84 Sunday at the tournament, which is a qualifier for the Canadian Men’s Amateur Championship.
“To be honest, I was trying to get a spot at the Canadian amateur (championship). That was my focus until the back nine today,” said Amson. “I just couldn’t get it going, I couldn’t putt, and I’m a good putter.”
Defending champ Ken Taylor scratched together a pair of 83s for second and multi-time senior champ Matt Lafferty notched an 82 and 94 for third.
Amson will be Yukon’s lone competitor at the B.C. Senior Men’s Championships in Blind Bay next week. He will also represent Yukon at the Canada 55+ Games next month in Ontario. He won silver at the last 55+ Games in 2014.
“We are so fortunate to have what we have here to play golf on,” said Amson. “The work that Jeff (Wiggins) and Graham (Frey) and the staff here, and Derek (Wirth) the superintendent, on the grounds is incredible. This course will stand against any golf course I play and I’ve played tons of them.”
The Yukon women’s title will be leaving the territory this week. Edmonton’s June Coles was in town to visit a friend, ended up playing the championship and winning it.
She put together a 104 and 103 for first ahead of Whitehorse’s Elaine Sumner – the only other woman in the draw.
Coles is taking home a great souvenir from her trip. “I’m very proud of it,” she said. “I loved it. It’s a really nice course. The people here were so nice and accommodating to get me into the tournament. It’s been a great experience.… I can’t say enough good things about it.”
With an extra round Friday, three players qualified to represent Yukon at the Canadian Men’s Amateur Championship next month in Gatineau, Que. King, James McGrath and Gibson took the spots, and Rick Gingell is the alternate.
Contact Tom Patrick at firstname.lastname@example.org