Neepawa's golf course has proven itself as a good challenge for even the best talents the province has to offer.
Last Sunday and Monday the Neepawa Golf and Country Club hosted Golf Manitoba's Men's Rural Amateur Championship with 61 golfers taking part in the event.
And, after 36 holes of golf plus a playoff hole, Boissevain's Steven Martens shot par – shooting a 2-over 74 Sunday and 70 on Monday - to come away as the province's 2012 rural amateur champion.
Portage's Quentin Neff also shot par for the weekend – a 73 on Sunday and 71 on Monday – but struggled in the playoff hole and conceded the victory to Martens before either put the final putt away.
“It was a great two days of golf.” Neepawa golf pro Landon Cameron explained. “And it was good to see Steve win. I've known him since I was a kid and he's a great guy who deserves it and played well.”
Stony Mountain's Ryan Sholdice led the pack after the opening day, shooting a 2-under 70 which was good enough for a three-stroke lead.
The 19-year-old shot a 77 the next day to finish at 3-over which put him in a tie for third place overall and atop the junior category standings.
Martens and Sholdice tied for the best one-day total for the tournament at a 2-under 70.
This marked the first time Neepawa has hosted the provincial rural championship, and Cameron believes the course stood up to the challenge.
“I think people are starting to know in the provincial golf courses that we are one of the best, if not the best, golf courses in the province to host provincial golf tournaments like this,” Cameron said. “It was a fantastic showcase of our golf course.”
Hosting the tournament also coaxed a few of Neepawa's local talents out to the links for the weekend.
Joe Chartrand led the local contingent placing seventh with a 7-over total, while Grant Jacobsen wasn't far behind with a 9-over total for 11th place.
Neepawa's Kris Jacobsen and Austin Gwilt also competed in the main event while Chase Dusessoy placed second in the 12 & Under category.
“It was great to see the local guys out,” Cameron said.
Some of the competitors for the weekend included, photos clockwise from top left, Shilo's Rob Hall, Junior Champion Ryan Sholdice, Selkirk's Aaron Bell, Neepawa's Joe Chartrand, an area golfer, 12 & Under golfers Zane MacDonald, left, and Chase Dusessoy, South Interlake Golf Course's Nathan Wright and last year's Rural Amateur Champion Matt Burman.
Centre photo, from left, 2012 Junior Champion Ryan Sholdice, Neepawa golf pro Landon Cameron, 2012 Rural Amateur Champion Steven Martens, 2012 Senior Champion Mike Martin and, kneeling, 12 & Under Champion Zane MacDonald.