Photo by JOSH ALDRICH/Advocate staff -- for Josh's story -- Kyle Morrison

Rivals get rewarded at Central Alberta Am

For the first time in its 92-year history, the Sunlife Financial Central Alberta Amateur golf championship has a co-champion. Due to inclement weather, the final round was cut short after nine holes, turning the three-day tournament into a 45-hole event. When all the scores were added two former champions were left standing: Tom McKinlay, Jr. and Kyle Morrison.

For the first time in its 92-year history, the Sunlife Financial Central Alberta Amateur golf championship has a co-champion.

Due to inclement weather, the final round was cut short after nine holes, turning the three-day tournament into a 45-hole event. When all the scores were added two former champions were left standing: Tom McKinlay, Jr. and Kyle Morrison.

McKinlay and Morrison shot a final score of 185, topping Dan Souley’s 187 while Derrick Chrichton finished third at 189 and Jason Ricalton and Brett Pasula tied at 190.

“I took some time off from playing it, but to get back and be a winner again is awesome,” said McKinlay, 42, who previously won in 1993. “Right now I’m a once a week golfer, it’s a tougher game when you only do it that much but it’s nice to still be able to do it at this level when you’re only playing this much.”

With a challenging set up, it was almost survival of the fittest for Morrison, 27.

“It was fun out there, me and Tom played decent, but the course is tougher now with the changes on the front now, it’s way longer and it’s tougher and the greens out here, everyone has a hard time reading them,” he said. “I play it every day and it’s just hard out here, to come out here and win, it’s fun.”

The two champs have more than just previous Central Alberta Amateur titles in common, they’ve actually turned into friendly rivals the last few years.

They have constantly butted heads at seemingly every tournament between Lacombe and Red Deer, often one or the other coming out on top. Earlier this year, Morrison got the edge on McKinlay at his home tournament at the Lacombe Golf Club. He was hoping for some revenge this weekend but it did not pan out due to the weather.

“We made a rivalry the last three or four years and it definitely would have been fun to play the last seven holes,” said Morrison.

For McKinlay, however, golf is just a past time at this point. Morrison, however, is still hard out on the trail and enjoying one of his better summers, having won the Red Deer Golf and Country Club championship, the River Bend Championship and the CA Amateur horse race. Up next for him is the Grande Prairie Open before he heads out to the Canadian Mid Amateur in Barrie, Ont., Sept. 16-19.

Up until the rain, the tournament was running smoothly, with 183 golfer taking part. Both co-champs noted the top condition of the course and the challenges it presents.

Tournament co-chairman and club head pro Ken Frame was disappointed they could not finish it, however, as the event is often the highlight of their summer.

“I can’t remember it ever ending like this … there’s just nothing we could do we just had to roll with the punches,” said Frame.

“It’s probably one of the biggest tournaments in Western Canada and we’re proud to host it.”

Todd Blundell shot a 188 to win the first flight, Darren Bellerose shot a 234 to win the second flight, Tom McKinlay, Sr. a 199 to win the third flight, Phil Pattison a 243 to take the fourth flight, Mike Ross and Ron Olney both shot a 208 to win the fifth flight, Dana Nolan fires a 249 to take the sixth flight, Jay Jokisch a 268 to win the seventh flight and Peter Seredea a 245 to win the senior division.

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