Carman's North wins on home turf

Bruce North drains a par putt on 18 to win his first Golf Manitoba Senior Men's Championship at the Carman Golf and Curling Club Wednesday, June 25. (THOMAS FRIESEN, Valley Leader)

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In golf, some say you play against the course, not your opponent.

Bruce North has spent sixty years battling the Carman Golf and Curling Club. He usually wins.

This week, he beat the course and the rest of the 54-man field to capture Golf Manitoba’s Senior Men’s Championship.

“Let’s face it, this is the old guys, on my backyard,” said North. “If I wasn’t able to defend my own turf, I’d be very disappointed.”

North held and eight-shot lead going into Wednesday’s final round, and played with fellow Carman member Wayne Giesbrecht and Randy Westby of the Vardon Golf Club in North Dakota.

Giesbrecht struggled on day three, but Westby caught fire, playing the front nine in 32. North’s lead was down to five.

“He made more feet of putts than I’ve ever seen on TV or in person,” North said of Westby.

“He got within three at one point, but I hit some really good golf shots when it got close.”

Home course advantage proved to help North.

“I’ve been playing golf since I was two years old at this golf club, and I’m 62 now,” he said. “It’s a huge advantage.”

“I’m walking on old footsteps here.”

While many players ride carts for these tournaments, North walks the course. And he does it in what appear to be moccasins or slippers of some sort. Forget top-of-the-line technology, or even basic FootJoy’s with golf spikes, North plays golf his own way.

Golf Manitoba Hall of Fame member Garth Collings (left) congratulates Bruce North on his win.

As competitor Mike Berney said earlier in the week, North plays the course differently than other players as well.

“I probably play hole 12 different than everybody else because I usually pound the driver.”

“It’s not a very smart shot, I’ll be the first to admit. But I play aggressive golf, and it just suits me.”

This was North’s third attempt the Senior title, and first time raising the trophy at the end.

Asked where it ranks in his golf career, North said, “about sixth or seventh.”

“National competitions I’ve always played better, and I’ve had better achievements on tougher courses in tougher fields. I usually start practicing after I make the team.”

North played the week 68-71-75, good for +1 overall on the par-71 course.

After the round, North was undecided as to whether he’d accept his spot on the three-man team representing Manitoba at the Canadian Senior Men’s Championship.

The event runs August 6-9 at the Gowan Brae Golf and Country Club in Bathurst, New Brunswick.