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Top talent tees off in Sundre

Coyote Creek hosts Alberta Golf's first post lockdown championship

SUNDRE — Coyote Creek Golf & RV Resort recently hosted Alberta Golf’s first tournament of the season, drawing out top talent from around the province.

The 2020 Alberta Mens Mid Amateur Championship ran June 23-25 and brought out about 120 competitors ages 25 and over. Among them was former Sundre resident Ryan Swelin, who now lives in Calgary. Swelin performed admirably, ending up among the finalists in third place.

“It was a fun week,” Swelin said June 26 during a phone interview. “I enjoyed getting the competitive juices back in the system. It’s been a while since I’ve played competitive golf."

While he years ago used to play at a higher level more frequently during his time in university, Swelin said family life and raising two young children while balancing a career has since taken priority.

“So, it was nice to get back into the swing of things,” he said, adding there was no pun intended. “It’s been a while, and since the tournament was in Sundre, made sense to come back and play.”

First picking up a golf club at the age of four or five, he said his father Les Swelin — who in 2017 was inducted into the Alberta Golf hall of fame for his contributions to the discipline in the province — not only introduced him to the sport, but also instructed him along the way.

Players and organizers could not have hoped for much better weather during the final round last Thursday, when sun and blue skies combined with a refreshing breeze dominated the day.

Swelin, who grew up in Sundre, started the day with a three-shot lead over Ryan O'Donnell of Lethbridge and a four-shot cushion over Alex Large of Canmore, reads an Alberta Golf press release.

On hole 9, Swelin was 30 seconds away from having a lost ball and shooting a big number, but the ball was found and he made an incredible up-and-down for par to take a one-shot lead over Large to the back nine. But that’s where Large played large and took over the tournament with seven consecutive birdies from hole 8 to 14 to take a four-shot lead that he would never give back, states the release.

Large, with the Canmore Golf & Country Club, placed first with a finish of 10 under par. Zander Ritson, with Inglewood Golf & Curling, placed second with a final score of six under par, while Swelin finished in third place with a respectable five under par.

Sundre’s Dane Thorogood also competed in the championship, and tied for 19th place with five over par.

Swelin said he came in with no expectations other than to just “play a normal round of golf.”

Looking back, he surmised that not putting pressure on himself helped ensure that he “played relatively decent.”

Although he was a bit disappointed by his performance in the final round, he said there’s no shame in coming up a bit short behind someone who excelled, as Large did.

“Alex played a phenomenal round of golf with seven birdies,” he said, adding if one has to lose, best it be against “a guy who plays like that!”

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