Menard wins first Mackenzie Tour title at Elk Ridge Open

Lucas Punkari / Daily Herald Raoul Menard pulls his fist after emptying a birdie putt on the 18th hole to win the Elk Ridge Open on Saturday.

Yorkton’s Johnson secures third consecutive top ten

By his own admission, the 2021 season has been odd for Raoul Menard from Ange-Gardien, Que.

The 29-year-old has spent most of the year in Florida and competed in Monday’s qualifiers for the PGA Tour, Korn Ferry Tour and Forme Tour competitions before heading to Elk Ridge Resort this week to compete in the Mackenzie Tour. . Elk Ridge Open.

“I haven’t played a three or four round tournament in a while, so I was really curious about how this week was going to go,” Menard said.

The decision to travel to Saskatchewan turned out to be an excellent decision as Menard won his first Mackenzie Tour title with an aggregate score of nine under par for the 54-hole event to defeat Torontonian Sebastian Szirmak by four. shots.

“I’ve been working hard for a while now and I’m really happy to have had a week like this and to end with a win,” said Menard. “I’m already looking forward to the future as I will be heading to Calgary for next week’s event with the tour and then going to the Korn Ferry Tour qualifying event in West Palm Beach, Florida. “

With Menard having a five-stroke advantage heading into Saturday’s final round, he missed three of the first four holes, allowing Szirmak to close the lead to two.

Menard returned to form on the returning nine, however, as he birdied the 10th par-five hole to regain a three-stroke advantage and also birdied the 16th and 18th par-fours to end the event with a nice a normal sub-round of 69.

“I started off slow and just told myself to go with the game plan and be patient,” Menard said. “This approach worked as I found my rhythm and hit my goal of finishing the tournament with a sub par.

“I wasn’t trying to pay too much attention to what was going on with other golfers, but it’s always on your mind. Having said that, I know I really had to focus on what I was doing and not what the other guys in my group were doing or the guys in front of me.

Although Menard’s previous competitive golf experience in Saskatchewan took place at a junior event at Riverside Country Club in Saskatoon several years ago, he was able to use recent experience in his home province to his advantage at Elk Ridge.

“I got to play on a course called Owl’s Head (which is located in Mansonville, Que.) And it’s very similar to the one here,” said Menard. “It’s hilly and in the woods and you have to hit straight because you can’t go too far to the left or to the right.

“I also like riding the course before playing practice laps and I was able to do that as soon as I got here. I think it really helped me as I got to see the intricacies of the course and where I needed to hit the ball.

Travis Fredborg from Selkirk, Man. and Franklin Huang of Poway, Calif., tied for third place and finished five strokes behind Menard, while Meridian, Taeksoo Kim of Idaho and Kade Johnson of Yorkton came in fifth.

Lucas Punkari / Daily Herald
Kade Johnson of Yorkton receives congratulations from his playing partner Franklin Huang on Saturday after the final round of the Mackenzie Tour Open Elk Ridge.

Johnson’s result was his best yet on the Mackenzie Tour and his third top ten in as many events since turning pro last month.

“It was a pretty surreal experience,” Johnson said after watching the last three holes of the day and receiving thunderous applause from the crowd. “I have never had so many people cheering or supporting me before.

“It shows how much everyone in the province loves local sports and it means a lot to me to be one of a number of Saskatchewan guys who were near the top of the standings this week.”

Other Saskatchewan golfers who qualified this week were Brennan Rumancik of Swift Current (tied for 32nd), Jerry Christiansen of La Ronge (tied for 36th), Josh Nagy of Saskatoon (tied for 40th), Tayden Wallin de Humboldt (tied for 40th), Clint Schiller of Lloydminster (tied for 43rd) and Alex Swinnerton of Saskatoon (tied for 53rd).

The Mackenzie Tour is scheduled to return to Waskesiu for the second Elk Ridge Open from June 20-26, 2022.

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