Golfers flying in for Future Links Prairie Championship

Steven Mah
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The Elmwood Golf and Country Club will be the site of the most prestigious youth golf tournament ever to hit the city of Swift Current.

Elmwood will host the CN Future Links Prairie Championship this weekend with 95 golfers attempting to earn automatic bids to Nationals.  

There is a practice round today with the tournament beginning Friday and concluding Sunday.

Golfers will descend upon Swift Current from across Canada. The 95-golfer field includes entries from as far away as West Vancouver, B.C. and Mont-Royal, QC.

Elmwood Head Professional Jeff Chambers said this tournament will easily be the most prestigious youth tournament his course has ever hosted.

“It is a national championship that alternates between Manitoba and Saskatchewan. So yeah we are very fortunate to have it,” said Chambers.

“It will be the best that we have seen at the Elmwood Golf Course throughout the years. We have some of the top rated junior from across the country arriving to play and earn their spot to the National Championship,” he added.

Five local golfers will take part in the Future Links event. Swift Current’s Emily Bugera will be the lone local female in action. She will be joined by Swift Current’s Taylor Kinch, Austin Paulhus, and Logan Tisdale on the boy’s side, as well as Shaunavon’s Corey Bailey.

“Obviously some of them are doing it for the experience,” said Chambers. “We do have a couple other kids that I have been working closely with that kind of call Elmwood home now too. They have a chance at definitely making the top 10 there and if everything goes well you never know how good they get. I am just hoping that they give good representation, play they best they can, and be happy when they are done. Some of them are going to get to play with some absolutely phenomenal players so I think it is going to be a great experience no matter what.”

The top boys will earn spots at the Canadian Junior Boys Championship at Timberwolf Golf Club in Garson, Ontario on July 30 - August 2.

The top female golfers will earn berths at the Royale Cup Canadian Junior Girls Championship at Cherry Downs Golf & Country Club in Pickering, Ontario on July 30 - August 2.

Bailey, golfing out of the Rock Creek Golf Club in Shaunavon, will be looking for a strong showing against a talented field.  

“It is going to be pretty nerve-wracking,” said Bailey, who expects the level of competition to be very high. “It is going to be a pretty good experience I think. I will learn a lot hopefully.”

He has experience against top competition after earning a spot at the 2012 Canadian Junior Boys Championship in Bridgewater, Nova Scotia last summer.

Bailey’s goal is to finish the tournament under par over the three days. His best round at Elwood over the years is an even-par 71. “I would be really ecstatic if I could get top-six and then have the chance to go back to Nationals again this year.”

Bailey is coming off a fourth-place finish at a Maple Leaf Junior Golf event at Elmwood three weeks ago as his 2013 season continues.

“It has been going not bad. I have been working on my game and it has been going pretty good. I just gained 10 yards today so hopefully that will help. I am practicing hard and hopefully it will pay off.”

The 6,349-yard, par 71 course will provide some unique challenges for the field.

Bailey actually moved into Swift Current this semester to focus on his golf at Elmwood with coach Jeff Chambers. He is hoping that his familiarity with Elmwood will give him a home-course advantage this weekend.

“You obviously have to putt good, just like on every course. I think short game is going to be key, chipping around the greens, bunker shots, just getting up and down and stuff like that. Also, the par-fives are pretty big there, you have to do good on the last stretch of four holes,” said Bailey.

Chambers said that Bailey has made a huge commitment to golf this season, he even has a part-time job at Elmwood and has become a fixture at the course.

Bailey’s interview came late at night only once he was done practicing.

“He has been spending every possible minute he can out on the golf course,” said Chambers. “Him and I were out until dark again last night on the putting green working on the putting stroke. We are working on the swing and we are constantly working on it looking for ways to improve it.”

Chambers said that Bailey had added four extra miles per hour on his club head speed the previous evening with his driver.

“He is just an absolutely awesome person to work with. He listens to everything and he works very hard.”

Chambers hopes that Bailey’s experience at Nationals last season will help him deal with the pressure of competing against some extremely talented golfers from across the country.

“Corey has seen that already and he knows that he just has to stick to his game, do the best that he can. At the end of the day sometimes that can be good enough, they just have to learn to play their own game.”

Organizations: Future Links, Elmwood Golf and Country Club, Timberwolf Golf Club Cherry Downs Golf Country Club Rock Creek Golf Club

Geographic location: Elmwood, Swift Current, Shaunavon Canada West Vancouver Mont-Royal Manitoba Saskatchewan Ontario Garson Pickering Bridgewater Nova Scotia

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