Smithers born and raised golfer Grant Maskiewich became the first local resident to win the Northern Open in more than a decade, with his two-stroke victory over Kitimat’s Dave Venman during the Labour Day tournament.
“It’s been a dream of mine ever since I caddied for my dad as a kid,” Maskiewich told the crowd at the Smithers Golf and Country Club shortly after his victory.
“Thanks everyone for the support, my family for everything they have done for me, I couldn’t have done it without them, my playing partners. It was great playing with you. Dave Venman, sorry for ruining your streak — but not really –– I hope to see everyone next year.”
The three-day event came down to the final few holes. It was between Venman, current title holder of the Terrace Open, Prince Rupert Open and Kitimat Open, and Maskiewich.
With the hometown boy up by three strokes with only four holes to play, Maskiewich bogeyed the par five 15th, and Venman birdied to pull within one.
“I was definitely feeling nervous at that point,” Maskiewich said.
But on the following hole, Maskiewich settled down and rattled off the first of three straight pars. Venman bogeyed 16, and Maskewich held on for a two-stroke victory.
“I’m excited and relieved,” he said right after the tournament.
“I just wanted to give myself a chance to win and that’s all I can really ask for,” said Maskiewich.”
“It was a tough start, I was scrambling a little bit, but I made a few good putts and I held it together.”
It was a great day for local golfers in Smithers, who were happy to see one of their own take home the trophy.
“Yeah, it was nice to see him win,” said organizer Chris Herkel.
“It’s been a long time since the last local won it. Grant was a junior member here for years until he went off to school, it was nice to see him come out on top after all the hard work he’s done on his game.
He’s getting better and better all time.”
After the victory, Maskiewich celebrated the win and his 21st birthday with his family.
He’s has already gone back to school at Camosun College, where he is currently beginning his second-to-last year in his university program.
This month, Maskiewich and the Camosun golf team will travel to four different tournaments around the province in an an attempt to qualify for the nationals in Quebec.
Camosun has tied for first place in the province in each of the last two years.
Grant plans to finish off his degree at Camosun College and think about his golf career after that.
“Its going to depend on how my game progresses and where I’m at after college to decide if I want to pursue a career in golf or go elsewhere,” Maskiewich said.
Overall, the tournament was a rousing success. In total, 155 players competed in five different flights.
The course was in great shape, the weather held up and the players had fun.
After the tournament finished, players gathered at the restaurant to receive their prizes.
“We always want to keep players coming out to our event, and we think we run a very good event, especially for the out-of-towners,” Herkel said.
The only criticism from the weekend seemed to be the five- to six-hour rounds, which resulted in complaints of slow play. Chris Hinkel was pragmatic.
“It happens from time to time. We have so many people at different levels, so its not like everyone plays like a PGA tour player. We just have to deal with it.”
1st low gross in flight:
A) Dave Venman, 217
B) Randy Szylik, 236
C) Larry Steinke, 243
D) Dennis Rasmussen, 251
E) Dan Bate, 281
1st low net in flight:
A) Don Olson, 207
B) Ron VanDriel, 210
C) Teru Yamamoto, 210
D) Cody Latimer, 212
E) Gord Sebastian, 212
2nd low gross in flight:
A) Harold Feddersen, 219
B) Syd Koldyk, 238
C) Cory Jackson, 246
D) Wade Decoomen, 265
E) Gord WIlliams, 288
2nd low net in flight:
A) Rory little, 209
B) Bill Maskiewich, 211
C) Dana Atagi, 212
D) Don McMillan, 212
E) Sean Tome, 221
3rd low gross in flight:
A) Scott Rigler, 223
B) Darren Grange, 239
C) Roy Cage, 252
D) Joe Hirak, 267
E) Ken Zimmer
3rd low net in flight:
A) Dennis Wiliams, 217
B) Rod Gourlay, 214
C) Bruce Poulin, 218
D) Jeremy Alfred, 214
E) Walter Joseph, 224
A) Gross: Ian Robinso, 72. Net: Alex Stirling 68
B) Gross: Mel Young, 79. Net: Andrew Weissner, 70
C) Gross: Phillip Prince, 82 Net: Trevor Sandberg, 75
D) Gross: Larry Flynn, 88. Net: Mike Moore, 73
E) Gross: James Horne, 98.
Net: Gary McKinnon, 7