King gets crowned, Baldwin repeats at golf championships

All hail the king. Dan King. The Whitehorse golfer topped the leaderboard both days to win his first men’s title at the 2014 Yukon Golf Championships.

All hail the king. Dan King.

The Whitehorse golfer topped the leaderboard both days to win his first men’s title at the 2014 Yukon Golf Championships on Sunday at Whitehorse’s Mountain View Golf Course.

The 31-year-old carded a 77 Saturday and a 75 Sunday for the trophy.

“It feels good,” said King. “I shot three rounds in the 70s (including Friday’s national qualifier), which I don’t often do, so it was fun.”

Yukon’s 2007 champ, Landon Kulych, came second with an 80 and 76 to finish four strokes back.

Rick Gingell, who took the low net, placed third overall with a combined 161. Gingell teed off a stroke behind King in second on Sunday before a quadruple bogey on Hole 5 derailed his run.

King kept his lead intact with his putting on Sunday’s back nine, “or else Landon probably would have had it,” he said. “I made three birdies on the back. I was pretty happy with that.

“I started off a little rough. I bogeyed the first couple holes and then got it together.”

King, who placed third at last year’s championship, is one of three Yukoners to earn spots at the 2014 Canadian Men’s Amateur Golf Championship over the weekend. Kulych and Steve Estey, who moved to Whitehorse from New Brunswick last fall, will join King at the championship in Winnipeg this August. Scores from the championship and a round Friday evening in the rain determined Yukon’s roster for the nationals. (Gingell and Dan Hogberg are the alternates.)

“(Kulych) probably had the round of the weekend on Friday – shot a 76 in the pouring rain,” said King. “It was really impressive and he’s a good guy to play with.”

Whitehorse’s Nicole Baldwin etched her name on the women’s trophy a second year in a row. Baldwin topped the field of four women golfers with an 88 and 84.

“I just went out there to play my own game and have some good shots for myself,” said the 33-year-old. “I wanted to be in the 80s and I succeeded.”

“Nothing outstanding really stood out today other than from (Hole) 2 to 6, I paired every hole,” she added.

Elaine Sumner claimed second place with a combined score of 222, one stroke in front of Sheila Stockton, who won low net.

Whitehorse’s James McGrath made his last season as a junior count. The 18-year-old penciled in a 90 Saturday and 86 Sunday to defend his junior title from last year.

“Not the greatest (score), but it held up,” said McGrath. “I thought Riley Smoler was going to get me there after the first day.

“I played a lot better today than yesterday,” he added.

Parker Olson chipped out a second place finish with a 90 and 89, ending one shot in front of Smoler in third.

Olson missed Sunday’s award ceremony having already hopped a plane south to play in the B.C. Junior Boys Championship this week in Pitt Meadows.

Even though still a junior, McGrath is set to represent Yukon at the B.C. Amateur Championship next week in North Vancouver.

“I’m really excited to go down,” said McGrath. “I played the juniors last year … before the (Canada) Summer Games, and now I have some experience in big tournaments like that and I think I’m ready to go.”

The 18th green was good to Whitehorse’s Tom Amson on Sunday. Amson drained a 60-foot putt to win his first senior men’s title by a stroke.

“That putt was really great,” said Amson. “It was a really lucky putt.

“I was five-over on the front (nine) and then I started to settle down.”

The three-time open men’s champ hit an 85 and 83 over the weekend, beating second place’s Dan Hogberg, who bogeyed 18 on Sunday, by one stroke.

“It’s not that good. I guess old guys aren’t that good,” he added with a laugh.

“I think it’s the first time I’ve played as a senior. It was fun.”

Vic Istchenko, the 2011 senior men’s champ, placed third after starting Sunday with a five-stroke lead over both Amson and Hogberg. Istchenko opened the back nine with four straight bogeys followed by a quadruple on 14.

“Vic really had the lead and he blew up on the back nine,” said Amson. “Dan and I were tied going into today and I wasn’t really paying attention to Dan, I was paying attention to what Vic was doing.”

Istchenko is slated to represent Yukon at the B.C. Senior Championships later this month in Christina Lake. Amson will compete for Team Yukon at the Canada 55+ Games in Strathcona County outside of Edmonton at the end of August.

“(Course superintendent) Derek Wirth and his crew did a really good job getting the course ready,” said King. “I think he’s had some challenges this spring with how the weather’s been, but he always does a good job.

“(Club director) Jeff (Wiggins) and his staff did a really good job organizing the tournament. It’s a lot of work every year.”

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