The talk of a Dean-asty may now begin.
Carman Golf Club head pro Dean North claimed his third straight Titleist Footjoy PGA Championship of Manitoba on Wednesday, rolling nearly unchallenged through the third and final round for a two-stroke victory at St. Boniface Golf Club.
North’s even-par 216 total bested Dauphin Lake’s Henry Hemmes by a pair and host pro and 2006 Manitoba champion Geoff Kehler by four.
It was North’s smallest margin of his three-year run — eight, three and now two shots were the advantages — but this one was undramatic on a windy afternoon at 6,348-yard St. Boniface.
North said he “kicked it home,” with bogeys at each of the final three holes.
“I think I had a six-shot lead with three to play,” North said. “With the wind being up, maybe I let my guard down a little bit and made some comfortable bogeys coming in.”
North has been first or second in each in the last seven Manitoba PGA championships.
He won in 2005 then finished second three times in a row before winning again in 2009.
“Yeah, I’m happy about winning three in a row,” he said after Wednesday’s four-over 76. “It just feels good to win. I put a lot of expectations on myself to play well and I try to tell myself that the results don’t matter, that I just want to shoot good scores and if I do that and somebody beats me, I can live with that. Whether I believe that I’m not sure.
“Luckily, I’ve improved the happiness after losing a few.”
North’s first-place cheque of $3,000 does plenty for the happy meter, too.
“When you’re knocking on the door and losing constantly, I guess there’s probably a certain motivation and pressure that goes with that,” he said of 2006-2008. “You can be very motivated to put your best foot forward, but there is pressure and nerves you feel.
“It’s like I told you a couple of years ago about the demons. They can tickle away in your brain but when you have a comfortable lead, they go away.”
Hemmes shot 75 on the final day to earn the runner-up spot, while Kehler was a steady 73 to pull up to third.
Thunder Bay’s Walt Keating, Jr., shot 74 for 221 and fourth place, five back of the winner, and first-day leader Glen Mills of Assiniboine rounded out the top five with 78-223.
John Irwin of Phantom Lake took the PGA of Manitoba senior division, winning the 36-hole competition over Quarry Oaks’ Dave Lavallee by three shots.
North, who started the final day with a three-shot advantage, three-putted the first hole but bounced right back with a birdie at No. 2.
A mid-round adjustment on Tuesday also helped matters.
Earlier this month, North turned over his left ankle during some horseplay, and has found it tender and delicate on the golf course since.
“When I rotate (during his swing) it just won’t allow it properly,” he said. “So I took my foot and opened it up (pointed more left) and did that mid-round Tuesday and I had been struggling and all of a sudden I could rotate and could hit it nice.
“I went five-under on the last 12 yesterday.”
And he rode that Wednesday all the way to his three-peat.
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