Two-time defending champion Mitch Evanecz will be conspicuous by his absence at the 89th annual Sun Life Financial Central Alberta Amateur, which opens Saturday at the Red Deer Golf and Country Club.
Evanecz is competing in the Pacific Coast Amateur championship in California and will attempt to qualify for the US Amateur, beginning Tuesday in Los Angeles.
“We’d certainly like to have him here, but he’s off to bigger and better things,” said RDGCC head pro Ken Frame. “He wants to qualify for the US Open and good for him. We’ll still have an excellent field.”
The championship flight will have 44 entries this year, including former champions Kyle Morrison, Arthur Pendle, Matt Steinbach and Tom Skinner.
“Outside of the Alberta Amateur we have as good a field as there is,” stressed Frame. “There are a number of players, who do well provincially and there should be excellent competition in the other flights outside of the championship flight.”
Morrison, who won the title in 2008, was runner up to Evanecz last year. Chase Teron, Merv Dusyk, Brian Laubman, Jordan Krulicki, Pete Duncan, Senan Foley and Derek Crichton, all of whom finished in the top 10 last year, are also in the field.
“We have a couple of guys down from Grande Prairie (Jason Lainchbury and Kolby Kniel) in the championship flight and have good credentials,” said Frame.
The field also includes two of the top young players in the city with Jesse Teron in the championship flight and Matt Codd, the defending RDGCC junior champion, in the first flight.
The championship flight, along with the first, third, fifth and seventh flights tee off with a shot gun start at 12:30 p.m. Saturday and 7:30 a.m. Sunday. The other six flights tee off at 7:30 a.m. Saturday and 12:30 p.m. Sunday.
The leaders begin teeing off Monday at 12:09 until 2 p.m.