Jay Thiesen defends Grey Owl title – Brandon Sun

WASAGAMING — Nerves, trees and tricky pin positions got the better of everyone but Jay Thiesen down the stretch.

The defending Grey Owl golf tournament champion plugged along, matching bogeys with birdies for the front nine. He locked in and didn’t drop a shot after the 10th hole as the leaders fell down the board. When the dust settled, his 1-under 71 to get to even-par 144 was good enough on Sunday for his second straight and fourth-overall Grey Owl title at Clear Lake Golf Course.

“It feels pretty cool, haven’t done that before in this tournament,” Thiesen said. “I didn’t really think I was going to be low enough today. I talked to Kolby [Day] there when he was on 10 and it sounded like he was having a pretty good day.”

Jay Thiesen defended his Grey Owl golf tournament title at Clear Lake Golf Course on Sunday. (Thomas Friesen/The Brandon Sun)

The Russell native was on a roller coaster to start. Three times he followed birdies with bogeys, once the other way around to sit at even par through 10 holes with just two pars on the card. He felt he was gripping his putter a little tight and changed his grip in time to birdie the eighth and ninth back-to-back.

Still, he figured he’d have to make a push but never knew exactly what was going on in the lead foursome behind him.

“A con [of being in the second-last group] is not really knowing if I have to push or not. I hit driver on 14 today because I was 1 over for the tournament so I thought I was going to have to get under par,” Thiesen said.

“When we were coming off, out of the corner of my eye I saw Kolby taking a drop so … on 15, I hit two-iron.”

Day, Ty Lewis and Nolan Ritchie were all ahead of Thiesen until the back nine. Day made a few uncharacteristic double-bogeys, Lewis slowly dropped shots on the par 5s and Ritchie gave away his lead with an untimely triple on the 14th.

Jay Thiesen defended his Grey Owl golf tournament title at Clear Lake Golf Course on Sunday. (Thomas Friesen/The Brandon Sun)

Jay Thiesen defended his Grey Owl golf tournament title at Clear Lake Golf Course on Sunday. (Thomas Friesen/The Brandon Sun)

Thiesen two-putt birdied the 16th hole to take some stress off the finishing holes and left no hope for the last group. It was far from the fireworks shows the tournament has seen over its 62 years as the winning score has hit double digits under par.

Since the course played tougher than usual on the weekend, the fact zero players finished under par is a testament to the saying “Par is a great score.”

“I was just plucking along,” Thiesen said.

The feel with the putter was not there this weekend but didn’t leave myself too many stressful putts, so that was all right.”

Lewis needed back-to-back birdies to force a playoff and gave his downhill slider a run on the 17th, leading to a bogey. He stuffed his approach on the next hole to a few feet and kicked in a birdie to finish alone in second.

Garth Collings won his fourth Greyer Owl (senior) title in a playoff over Jack McDiarmid. (Thomas Friesen/The Brandon Sun)

Garth Collings won his fourth Greyer Owl (senior) title in a playoff over Jack McDiarmid. (Thomas Friesen/The Brandon Sun)

“It was fun. I don’t play in a ton of tournaments so it was nice to play in a competitive setting,” the Brandonite said. “It’s a fun course. I enjoy getting up here. Greens are tricky, they got a few people today.

“The last three holes I knew [Thiesen] was making a push and unfortunately came up a couple short but it was a good day.”

• • •

Garth Collings defended the Greyer Owl title after firing a pair of 76s. He beat Jack McDiarmid on the first playoff hole with a birdie for his fourth senior crown to go with a record 11 main-event victories.

For the first time, the Grey Owl opted not to award a media-flight winner.

Patrick Perrin hits his tee shot on the 18th hole at Clear Lake Golf Course on Sunday. The defending Golf Manitoba mid-amateur champ finished tied for third. (Thomas Friesen/The Brandon Sun)

Patrick Perrin hits his tee shot on the 18th hole at Clear Lake Golf Course on Sunday. The defending Golf Manitoba mid-amateur champ finished tied for third. (Thomas Friesen/The Brandon Sun)

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Brandon's Nolan Ritchie, shown hitting his approaching into the 16th green, finished tied for third, three shots back of Thiesen. (Thomas Friesen/The Brandon Sun)

Brandon’s Nolan Ritchie, shown hitting his approaching into the 16th green, finished tied for third, three shots back of Thiesen. (Thomas Friesen/The Brandon Sun)

Brandon's Ty Lewis birdied the 18th hole to finish solo second at the Grey Owl on Sunday. (Thomas Friesen/The Brandon Sun)

Brandon’s Ty Lewis birdied the 18th hole to finish solo second at the Grey Owl on Sunday. (Thomas Friesen/The Brandon Sun)



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