American Rusty Strawn may have solidified himself as the best senior golfer in North America on Friday this golf season.
Just a week after winning the U.S. Senior Amateur, Strawn continued his winning ways and took home the 2022 Canadian Men’s Senior Amateur at the Red Deer Golf and Country Club.
After four days of tough competition, Strawn stood tall above his opponents with an impressive five-under-par performance, which was three strokes ahead of fellow American Mike Lohner.
“I’m very excited and very blessed,” Strawn told the Advocate. “It’s been a wonderful week. The club of Red Deer just embraced me and all the participants and just did a wonderful job… It was a tough week.”
This was Strawn’s first time playing in a Canadian Men’s Senior Championship and has been eligible for a number of years but was unable to participate previously because of the COVID-19 pandemic. With two back-to-back senior championship titles, Strawn has been on quite a run.
After Strawn won the U.S. Senior Amateur he earned an exemption into the U.S. Mid-Amateur tournament, which would have happened at the same time as the tournament in Red Deer. Instead, he decided to compete in the Canadian Men’s Senior Amateur, and looking back at it he’s glad he did.
“It worked out really well for me,” he said.
When asked where the Canadian Senior Championship ranks on his list of golf accomplishments the McDonough, Georgia native said it’s right at the top alongside the U.S. Senior Amateur.
“I’m so proud to be the Canadian Senior champion, I’m very proud of it and I’ll make Canada proud I’m their champion,” he added.
With the win in central Alberta Strawn, who has played four years of senior golf, can now play in the 2023 U.S. Senior Amateur and the 2023 Canadian Men’s Senior Championship.
Strawn has played numerous golf courses around the world and he said the course was in perfect condition. More specifically the greens, which he said were some of the best he has putted on all year long.
Strawn is also no stranger to Alberta, in September of each year he and some friends make the trip to just west of Strathmore to go duck hunting.
“Very familiar with this area and I love the people. I’ve made so many good friends up here and it’s been awesome,” he said.
Strawn gave credit to his father who taught him the game and took him to the driving range as a boy. He still plays occasionally with his father who is now 86 years old because of the joy it brings them.
Red Deer’s Ken Griffith finished third in the tournament at even par and had the best score out of his fellow members on his home turf.
“What an honour I mean it’s been a fantastic week. Rusty’s a great champion, Mike as well as the two Americans I played with for two days just real gentlemen on the golf course. We really enjoyed each other’s time together they’re great competitors,” he said.
The course conditions he added were second to none and explained the Red Deer Golf and Country Club is a top five course in the province.
“Anybody that I know that comes here they walk away going ‘Man I love Red Deer.’ It’s a great course to play and I think that says a lot to Heath and his greens crew and how they work so hard every year to get it in great shape like this,” Griffith said.
He was also ranked the top Canadian in the Canadian Men’s Senior Championship and Griffith said this experience is ranked as the best of his career. Griffith was also part of Team Alberta who won their second interprovincial championship in two years alongside teammates Senan Foley and Kelly Risling.
“This is something that I’ll treasure for the rest of my life,” he said.
Camrose’s Frank Van Dornick won the Super Senior Championship in the tournament after a four-over-par round.