Wasylowich feels pressure in Skins Game

A four-year member of the Canadian Professional Golf Tour Kris Wasylowich knows what it’s like to play under pressure.

Kris Wasylowich tees off on the  third hole of the 12th Annual Skins Game at the Red Deer Golf and Country Club on Wednesday. The game brought professionals James Love

Kris Wasylowich tees off on the third hole of the 12th Annual Skins Game at the Red Deer Golf and Country Club on Wednesday. The game brought professionals James Love

A four-year member of the Canadian Professional Golf Tour Kris Wasylowich knows what it’s like to play under pressure.

But the native of Lethbridge felt even more pressure as he teed off for the 12th annual Red Deer Golf and Country Club Skins Game Tuesday afternoon.

“I don’t know what it is but I feel more pressure here than I do at normal (tour) events,” he said. “I got over some shots and I was pretty nervous. But a good nervous. because if you’re not nervous it’s not good.”

Wasylowich calmed some of those nerves when he drained a six-foot birdie putt on the 205-yard par-three fifth to pocket $3,000.

“When I made that putt it felt great as I was shutout last year,” said Wasylowich, who was up against Canadian Tour rivals Wes Heffernan and James Love of Calgary, Mike Mezei of Lethbridge and RDGCC host and head pro Ken Frame.

Wasylowich added another $2,000 on the par-four ninth in a chip-off with Heffernan.

The two had the only birdies on the ninth, sending them back to the 100-yard marker. Neither came that close on the chip, but Wasylowich finished a yard closer.

“I’m not sure who hit the worst shot,” he said with a smile. “But overall it was a lot of fun. It’s something I look forward to every year, so I hope they ask me back next year.”

Wasylowich went home with $5,600 overall, including $100 for each of five birdies and a $100 for closest to the pin on No. 5.

His total was$ 173 more than he’s won on three stops of the Canadian Tour this season.

“I haven’t had my best stuff this year as my timing and alignment has been off, but I’ve scraped together a couple of decent finishes. I’m trying to build on that as I’m playing OK without my best stuff. I just have to go from here.”

Wasylowich tried to qualify for the PGA Tour a couple of years ago, but said he wasn’t ready.

“My short game was lacking,” he said. “I hit it OK, but you have to have a short game.”

Mezei won the only other skin, pocketing $1,750 when he chipped in from the edge of the green on the 398-yard par-four seventh.

Mezei also had $300 for birdies and $100 for closest to the pin on the par-three second hole.

Love had $200 for winning both long drives and $200 for birdies. Heffernan had a pair of birdies.

Heffernan hasn’t had a great year on the Canadian Tour as he’s won only $1,745 in three starts. But he more than made up for that as he won $16,539 for his 71st place finish in the US Open at Congressional in Washington, DC. two weeks ago.

“That was a lot of fun,” he said. “It was nice to finally make a cut on the PGA Tour.”

The US Open was Heffernan’s ninth PGA event and the first time he’s made a cut.

He did that by shooting a sparkling 31 on the back nine Friday when he shot a 71.

“I played well into the weekend. I didn’t play well on Sunday, but until that point I thought I played well and was pleased with that.”

What he hasn’t been pleased with is his game since returning home.

“I’ve worked on some changes in the off season and they started to feel pretty good at the US Open, but lately they’ve went the other way and I’ve been terrible since the Open.”

But some of that is getting over the pressure of competing at a major event.

“By Sunday (of the Open) I was fried mentally,” he said. “You have to be into every shot, even on the driving range they have 10,000 people watching and you need to hit a good shot or they wonder ‘who’s that guy and why is he here’. You’re completely focused on every shot all week. It’s a weird situation. I’m sure once you’re into it more often you’d be better, but it’s draining and I returned home last week and played in Fort McMurray and I just couldn’t focus. The Open took so much out of me.”

However, Heffernan can look back at the 31 he shot Friday and know that he can play with the best of them.

“I was also in the top 10 after 13 holes. I had a couple of bad holes thrown in, but I had a lot of stretches where I was hitting the ball well, which felt good. And the 31, especially at the US Open, has to give anyone confidence.”

It was the second time Heffernan played in the Open, missing the cut in 2001.

“It was my third pro event and I was a wide-eyed and nervous. That really didn’t help me this year. I think what helped more than anything was playing in the World Cup with Mike Weir in 2007 and with Graham Delaet in China in 2008. The crowds in China were huge, bigger than at the Open and I was comfortable there. It’s not a major, but it’s on a big stage.”

The 34-year-old hopes to get his game back and will attend the PGA Q school.

“Because I made the cut at the Open I can skip the first round of qualifying. I did that once before when I finished in the top two on the Canadian Tour, but I didn’t play well. Hopefully I can get it done this year and get my card, or at least play on the Nationwide Tour. There’s more events and more money.

“The Canadian Tour is good and a good place to play, but I’m looking to take the next step up.”

The Canadian Tour stops in Calgary beginning Thursday.

drode@bprda.wpengine.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Asymptomatic testing will now be available for "priority groups" who are most likely to spread the COVID-19 virus to vulnerable or at-risk populations. File photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS
Alberta identifies 1,183 new COVID-19 cases on Sunday

50.5% of all active cases are variants of concern

Whistle Stop Cafe owner Christopher Scott and his sister Melodie pose for a photo at the Mirror restaurant. (File photo by Advocate staff)
Alberta Health Services delivers ‘closure order’ to Mirror restaurant

Alberta Health Services says it has delivered a closure order to a… Continue reading

Flags bearers hold the Canadian flag high during the Flags of Remembrance ceremony in Sylvan Lake in this October file photo. (Photo by Sean McIntosh/Advocate staff)
New project to pay tribute to Canadians killed in Afghanistan

Flags of Remembrance scheduled for Sept. 11

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Alberta vaccine rollout expanding to front-line health-care workers

More than 240,000 eligible health-care workers can begin booking vaccine appointments starting… Continue reading

File photo
Security and police block the entrance to GraceLife Church as a fence goes up around it near Edmonton on Wednesday April 7, 2021. The Alberta government has closed down and fenced off a church that has been charged with refusing to follow COVID-19 health rules. Alberta Health Services, in a statement, says GraceLife church will remain closed until it shows it will comply with public-health measures meant to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Hundreds gather to support Alberta church shut down for ignoring COVID-19 orders

SPRUCE GROVE, Alta. — Hundreds of people are gathered outside an Alberta… Continue reading

Members of the Canadian Armed Forces march during the Calgary Stampede parade in Calgary, Friday, July 8, 2016. The Canadian Armed Forces is developing contingency plans to keep COVID-19 from affecting its ability to defend the country and continue its missions overseas amid concerns potential adversaries could try to take advantage of the crisis. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Canadian special forces supported major Iraqi military assault on ISIL last month

OTTAWA — Some Canadian soldiers supported a major military offensive last month… Continue reading

A woman pays her repects at a roadblock in Portapique, N.S. on Wednesday, April 22, 2020. The joint public inquiry in response to the April mass shooting in Nova Scotia has announced a mandate that includes a probe of the RCMP response as well as the role of gender-based violence in the tragedy. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan
Creating permanent memorial to Nova Scotia mass shooting victims a delicate task

PORTAPIQUE, N.S. — Creating a memorial for those killed in Nova Scotia’s… Continue reading

Conservative leader Erin O'Toole holds a press conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, April 6, 2020. Top Tory leaders of past and present will speak with supporters today about what a conservative economic recovery from COVID-19 could look like. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Erin O’Toole says ‘I didn’t hide who I was’ running for Conservative leader

OTTAWA — Erin O’Toole assured Conservative supporters that he never hid who… Continue reading

Calgary Flames' Johnny Gaudreau, second from left, celebrates his goal with teammates, from left to right, Matthew Tkachuk, Noah Hanifin and Rasmus Andersson, of Sweden, during second period NHL hockey action against the Edmonton Oilers, in Calgary, Alta., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Larry MacDougal
Jacob Markstrom earns shutout as Flames blank Oilers 5-0 in Battle of Alberta

CALGARY — It took Sean Monahan breaking out of his goal-scoring slump… Continue reading

B.C. Premier John Horgan responds to questions during a postelection news conference in Vancouver, on Sunday, October 25, 2020. British Columbia's opposition Liberals and Greens acknowledge the COVID-19 pandemic has presented huge challenges for Horgan's government, but they say Monday's throne speech must outline a coherent plan for the province's economic, health, social and environmental future. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Horgan’s NDP to bring in throne speech in B.C., Opposition wants coherent plan

VICTORIA — British Columbia’s opposition parties acknowledge the COVID-19 pandemic has presented… Continue reading

A grizzly bear walks on a treadmill as Dr. Charles Robbins, right, offers treats as rewards at Washington State University's Bear Research, Education, and Conservation Center in this undated handout photo. Grizzly bears seem to favour gently sloping or flat trails like those commonly used by people, which can affect land management practices in wild areas, says an expert who has written a paper on their travel patterns. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, Anthony Carnahan *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Grizzly bears prefer walking on gentle slopes at a leisurely pace like humans: study

VANCOUVER — Grizzly bears seem to favour gently sloping or flat trails… Continue reading

FILE - In this July 27, 2020, file photo, nurse Kathe Olmstead prepares a shot that is part of a possible COVID-19 vaccine, developed by the National Institutes of Health and Moderna Inc., in Binghamton, N.Y. Moderna said Monday, Nov. 16, 2020, its COVID-19 shot provides strong protection against the coronavirus that's surging in the U.S. and around the world. (AP Photo/Hans Pennink, File)
The COVID-19 wasteland: searching for clues to the pandemic in the sewers

OTTAWA — When Ottawa Public Health officials are trying to decide whether… Continue reading

Most Read