Tom Skinner is far from out of the running for the Guardian Capital Senior Men’s Golf Championship at the Red Deer Golf and Country Club and he knows exactly what he needs to do to stay in contention.
“My putter needs to cooperate,” he said following an opening round two-over par 74 Tuesday.
“My putting was suspect, especially on the back nine,” he said. “My front nine was solid, but the back nine I had three or four three putts. I had four or five putts inside 15 feet and they just weren’t going in.”
But Skinner hasn’t had the opportunity to work on his putting as much as he would like. He’s suffering from a bad back, which bothers him when he’s bending over to putt.
“It’s funny it doesn’t bother me to swing, but standing or walking is another matter,” he said. “I have to ride to be able to play. And I just can’t practice putting as much as I would like.”
As it was Skinner, who won the provincial senior title in 2010 in a playoff with Floyd Kilgore of the Mighty Peace Golf and Country Club, had a 36-38 Tuesday. He had all pars on the front with three bogeys and a birdie on the back.
“Overall my ball striking was OK and my course management was good, after all I know the course like the back of my hand.”
Skinner has seen all the pin placements, over the years except for one.
“No. 4 was the only one I have never seen before,” he said.
Playing on his home course should be an advantage, but it also adds a bit of pressure, said the 62-year-old.
“Personally I didn’t feel any pressure, in fact I was excited about playing here,” he said. “I’m confident I know the course and what to expect and know where the misses are. But then again there is a bit of pressure in that you’re expected to do well because you do know the course.”
Skinner goes into the second round of the 54-hole event, tied for seventh, four strokes back of Jim Russell of Bearspaw, who won in 2011, and 2013 champion Kilgore.
Merv Dusyk of the RDGCC and Robert Legros of Canal at Delacour Golf Club are tied with Skinner.
Dusyk has seven top 20 finishes in the last 10 years including a second behind RDGCC’s Pete Duncan in 2006. He shot 36-38 with five bogeys and three birdies.
Russell had a 35-35 and Kilgore a 33-37, which leaves them one stroke up on David Schultz of Calgary Country Hills and Frank Sutter of Calgary’s Earl Grey. Kelly Risling of Desert Blume in Medicine Hat and Dave Crowshaw of Calgary’s Glencoe Club are tied for fifth at 73.
Eric Brodie of the RDGCC finished at 75 and in a tie for 10th with Howard Broun of Earl Grey, Randy Fleet of Banff Springs and Alan Stewart of Grande Prairie.
Ken Evanecz of the RDGCC, who tied for eighth last year, shot a four-over 76 and is tied for 14th while Duncan had a 77 and is tied for 20th.
Dale Bingham, also out of the RDGCC, shook off a tough front nine where he shot a 44, and came in with a 78 which tied him for 30th. Ron Skoreyko of Lacombe also shot a 78 while Rick Young of Sundre is tied for 49th after an 80.
Les Swelin of Sundre shot an 81 and is tied for 61st while Tom McKinlay Sr. of Lacombe had an 82 which left him in a tie for 72nd.
Boman Husted of the RDGCC had an 83 and Tim Gyori of the RDGCC an 88.
Action continued this morning at 7 a.m. with the final group going off at 1:30 p.m. Dusyk tees off at 11:50 a.m. and Skinner at 12:10 p.m.
The leaders are expected to tee off at around 10:30 a.m. on Thursday.