Melville’s Mitchell Matichuk certainly showed the field at the Autumn Golf Classic his victory last year was no fluke.
Matichuk fired a two-day total of 141 with a 75 to open and a 66 Sunday to slam the door on the competition and claim the Championship Flite for the second straight year.
Doug Hildebrandt, the event’s low qualifier fired a 74 on day one and duplicated his score Sunday, leaving him in second spot, seven strokes off the pace with Stephen Nasby and Jason Rieger nabbing third and fourth respectively.
“The first day was a struggle – it was a real grind out there. You had to have a good short game because you weren’t going to hit greens in regulation,” admits the 19-yearold Matichuk, currently apprenticing as a club pro at Yorkton’s Deer Park Golf Course.
Saturday, Matichuk and the rest of the field faced a course which wasn’t going to be giving up any easy strokes as the wind gusted past the 60 kilometer-an-hour mark all day.
“The wind was unbelievable. I hit maybe five or six greens all day but my short game was good,” says Matichuk whose putter was hot and cold. “I never three-putt in Melville. I know every break and I know the speed and I still three-putted three times the first day and had a four-putt on day two.”
“Other than those holes I thought my putting was great.”
Day two’s 66 easily gave him enough of a cushion on his nearest competition as he won going away.
“Doug Hildebrandt played really well and he gave me a good push all the way through. He just kept going and I just tried to keep focused and play my game and make birdies, just like any other day.”
Matichuk will use the event as his jumping-off point for his collegiate season as he’s the captain of Lethbridge College’s golf team for the upcoming school year.
“I’m trying to keep my game consistent heading into the college season. I’m working really hard. If I can’t get out and golf, I’m on the range hitting balls
and trying to improve.”
According to the young golfer, who was once employed with the greenskeeping staff at his home course, this year’s crew deserves a pat on the back for the condition of the local links this year.
“This is the nicest I’ve seen Melville Golf and Country Club. The members deserve to have a course in this kind of shape. It might be the best I’ve ever seen it since I was maybe eight or nine. Hats off to the maintenance staff who got the course in this kind of condition.”