Ken Griffith let out an exuberant fist pump when his putt on the 18th hole dropped.
It was a big moment for the 58-year-old, as he had finally captured his first Alberta Senior Men’s Championship.
He rolled in a 12-foot putt for birdie to win the tournament at the Derrick Golf and Winter Club in Edmonton Thursday during a drama-filled final round.
Brian Laubman drained back-to-back birdies to tie Griffith heading into the final hole and it took everything the Red Deer native had to pull out the victory.
Laubman striped his drive on the final hole and Griffith needed to follow it up. He did and Laubman had a birdie putt, which he missed, to open the door for Griffith.
“He had a lot of momentum, he hit a perfect drive and I had to stand up and follow that. Which I did and it’s exciting. You play for moments like that. It’s nerve-wracking but it’s also fun and exciting… it was one of those putts where you try to be aggressive and roll it in the back of the cup and it goes in the front,” Griffith said.
“Good feeling. Satisfaction from all the hard work you put in. Golf is one of these things where you lose a lot more than you ever win. It’s really more about the journey. The people you’re with and playing and just really appreciative to have an opportunity to do that.”
— Byron Hackett (@RDAbyronhackett) August 1, 2019
Griffith finished the 54-hole tournament with a two-over-par 212 and had carded the best score of the final round at even-par. He was one stroke back of Peter Major heading into Thursday.
Being in the hunt wasn’t necessarily unfamiliar territory for Griffith, he was third in the championship in 2018 and finished fifth at the Canadian Senior Amateur last summer.
Thursday, Laubman, Peter Major and Griffith battled back and forth all day long. Griffith said he tried not to pay too much attention to it but knew things were close heading into the final few holes.
“I knew Brian was closing the gap on me, but I was trying not to pay attention to him because we’ve gone through this a number of times where I’ve done that to him and he’s done that to me,” he said.
“I really had the blinders on and I didn’t want to know what he was doing… I could feel it building on the back nine… the more you start thinking about it, things start to go sideways on you pretty fast.”
Griffith, Brian Laubman and Camrose’s Frank Van Dornick will now be Alberta’s interprovincial representatives at the Cedar Brae Golf Club in Scarborough, Ont. from Sept. 10-13. Van Dornick was the super senior men’s champion and defeated Major on the first playoff hole to earn his spot on the provincial team. The trio won the national title two years ago and are hoping for a repeat.
“We’re just excited about going back to nationals again and being on the team. We did it a couple of years ago and had a blast. Team Alberta is back together. Frank won the playoff, so the three of us are back together again,” added Griffith.
Keith Newton of Olds Golf Club Association finished in a tie for sixth at seven-over, while Red Deer’s Len Powell was tied for 18th at 17-over. Mark Schultz of Olds was alone in 21st at plus-18.