Carter Graf (left), Max Sekulic (middle) and Brett Hogan (right) battled down to the wire at the Sun Life Financial Alberta Men’s Amateur Championship on Friday in Ponoka. Hogan won the tournament on the second playoff hole. (Photo by Byron Hackett/Advocate Staff)

Brett Hogan wins Alberta Men’s Amateur Championship in wild playoff

Red Deer’s Carter Graf finishes third at nine-under par

Brett Hogan played one of the best rounds of the day Friday, yet still had to summon some golf trickery in a playoff to win the Sun Life Financial Alberta Men’s Amateur Championship.

The 23-year-old won the Alberta amateur in 2015 and became only the 19th person to win the trophy multiple times.

“It meant a lot to get the first one and this probably means just as much or maybe even more,” he said. “It’s not easy to win these things and this is definitely one of my favourite tournaments all year.”

For 17 holes on Friday, Hogan outpaced the final group of Carter Graf and Max Sekulic at the Ponoka Community Golf Club. He shot one-under, one of only four players in red numbers on the final day of play.

On the 72nd hole of the tournament, Sekulic, the leader for the last three days decided he wanted to play just a little bit longer.

The Rycroft native sat two strokes back of Hogan at 11-under when they teed off on the 18th hole Friday, after sitting on top most of the week.

Sekulic, 17, drained a long birdie on 18 and Hogan missed his par, which sent the tournament to extra holes.

“You have to convince yourself that it’s going in. I was fired up but I still had a job to do in the playoff so I was thinking ahead,” he said.

On the first playoff hole at number 10, Sekulic hit an errand tee shot, a flubbed second shot and third, but put the ball down for par, along with Hogan.

“Ultimately I wasn’t hitting it well enough to win. In the end I’m okay with what happened. I kind of mucked it around out there a bit. But I was happy to stay in it as long as I could,” Sekulic added.

Both players blasted tee shots on the second playoff hole back at 18, but Hogan ended up 100 or so yards out behind a tree.

Sekulic was in the middle of the fairway but his second shot carried to the back of the green.

Hogan wired a low burner around the tree that skipped several times up a hill to just a few feet from the hole. The 50 or so fans crowded around the shot marvelled in awe.

”I think it was the second round I had pretty much that exact same shot to almost a similar pin,” he said.

“I had the same yardage, so I kind of knew what I was doing. I had been practicing shots with all my irons to about 100 yards. It’s a little bit of guess work and you have to get a little lucky.”

He tapped in his putt to win and gave a big smile to Sekulic.

Graf, who represented the Red Deer Golf and Country Club dug deep to play along with the veteran group and at one point was two-under for the day before he started to struggle on the final few holes. Despite his one-over finish Friday, he was happy with the experience and how he played throughout the week.

“I’ll take confidence knowing that I finished the four days at nine-under,” he said.

“It’s good, I wasn’t expecting a third place finish here, I’m pretty happy.”

Graf, 16, was the only Central Alberta player to finish inside the top 15.

Hogan, Sekulic and Graf form the Alberta Willingdon Cup team that will represent the province at the Canadian Men’s Amateur Championship at The Toronto Golf Club & Islington Golf Club in Mississauga, Ont. from Aug. 7-10.

Brady McKinlay of Lacombe tied for 21st with a four-day total of 303. Jared Nicolls of Wolf Creek Golf Course ended

the week at 18-over.

Innisfail’s Jace Ouellette battled into a tie for 29th with a tournament total of 309.

Three players from Red Deer Golf and Country Club tied for 37th at plus-20, Chandler McDowell, Grant Numrich and Cole Morrison. Jaxon Lynn and Brandan Lyster tied for 49th.

Bobby Mckinlay finished 56th overall with a tournament total of 315.

byron.hackett@reddeeradvocate.com

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