In one of the most bizarre finishes to a golf round, Riley Fleming was crowned champion at the 18th annual Red Deer Golf and Country Club Skins Game.
On the seventh hole, as the players lined up for their approach shots, tornado-like winds ripped through the course uprooting massive trees and whipping branches across every fairway and greens like toothpicks.
The extreme wind caused safety concerns for both the players and spectators and forced officials to call the skins game two holes early.
“It was absolutely mayhem, trees getting ripped out of the ground. It was scary. There was a lot of people out there,” Fleming said in a dark clubhouse before power was restored.
The event featured pros Riley Wheeldon, Steven Lecuyer, Brad Clapp and Fleming.
Fleming picked up his second straight title at the event, cashing in $1,750 worth of skins with the win. The pro from Airdrie said it was some of the craziest weather he’d seen on a golf course.
“The day was awesome. We’re quite lucky to have an event like this to come play. It’s so fun; the day was perfect,” Fleming said post round.
“I can’t believe what’s going on. I’ve never seen anything like it. I’m just really glad everyone is safe. I can’t believe no one got injured in that stuff out there.”
The former B.C. amateur champion and two-time Alberta amateur champion returned to Red Deer for the third time around this year at the skins game. He said he loves the way the course plays.
“Just a great golf course, no gimmicky stuff out here, greens are so good,” he said. “That’s what I like about it. I seem to read them well. It’s a fun atmosphere, relaxed. There’s money on the line but I still really enjoy it.”
Fleming considered himself the “default” champion in 2017, so he hopes to return next year to reclaim the legitimate title.
“If I get invited, I’ll one hundred per cent be back,” he said.
Clapp also reeled in an extra $100 for a 349-yard drive on the par five sixth hole.