Last year Wes Heffernan finished one stroke back of eventual champion Dustin Ridson at the PGA of Alberta Championship and this year he’s hoping to re-write that story.
Heffernan came out guns blazing in the opening round at River Bend Golf and Recreation Area, shooting a six-under 66 to lead the way.
Ridson isn’t far behind though, as he shot a four-under 68. Albert Pistorius and Dallas Cantera finished at 67 and two others tied with Ridson at four-under.
River Bend GM Brian Miller said that’s what he expected coming into the tournament with some of the top professionals from around the province testing their talent in Red Deer.
“I think it’s great for us, we’ve had it here a few times and it’s always nice to have the weather… the golf course is in great shape, I’m happy with it all,” he said. “There’s some great players in Alberta, strong competition. Wes Heffernan is in the lead, he just finished second at the Mackenzie Tour event at Country Hills. Brett Burgeson has won here before, Randy Robb has always been a good player.”
The low Central Alberta golfer after day one was Scott Anderson, tournament coordinator at River Bend. Anderson shot 74 and said after a few bogies on the opening nine holes, he rallied a bit of the back nine.
“Struggled a bit today, the pins were good. I hit it on the wrong side a couple times but went a little better on the back nine,” he said. “It’s different, but it’s good. Great to have it here and I think all the guys are liking it. Course is in great shape.”
Anderson added that he wasn’t aggresive enough early and left too many shots above the hole leading to tricky down hill putts. He hopes to change that approach during the final day Tuesday.
“If I was just playing with the boys on a Saturday afternoon I probably would have been a little bit more aggressive but hopefully I’ll be able to do that (Tuesday) and hopefully it works a little better,” he said.
Miller had the second best round of any local players, cashing in on three birdies in his final four holes for a 77. Kevin Broderson of Lacombe also finished at 77 while Wolf Creek Golf Resort’s Kolby Vold shot 78. Jordan Krulicki of Red Deer Golf and Country Club fired a 79 and tied with Tye Friesen (Lacombe) and Todd Fiske (River Bend). Mark Di Ubaldo Red Deer GCC) shot 82.
First tee time on Tuesday is at 7 a.m. with the final group expected to tee off at 12:20 p.m.