Austin Dobrescu’s return to the TS&M Woodlawn Golf Course was a triumphant one.
Dobrescu, a former Estevan resident who moved to Brandon, Man., with his family in 2013, won the men’s event of the Frametech Classic at Woodlawn from Aug. 1-3.
He shot a 5-over-par 77 during the final round on Monday, and finished the tournament with a 7-under-par total of 209 (63-69-77). Estevan’s Jayden Dudas was two strokes back at 211, followed by Kipling’s Carson Harcourt (212) and Brandon’s Drew Jones (214).
“I hit my wedge well and my short game was really good,” Dobrescu told the Mercury. “My irons were solid, and really good at times. Really, my only weakness this week was hitting off the tee. Luckily for me, a lot of these holes are pretty forgiving and I’d still be able to recover.”
He was also pleased with his putting throughout the weekend.
The 63 he had for the opening round tied the course record set in 2015. An eagle on the par 5 18th hole enabled him to tie the mark.
Dobrescu also won the Dave Price Memorial Horse Race on Sunday that featured the 12 golfers in the classic’s championship flight.
“It would have been more fun playing in it like previous years, when there’s a couple of hundred people around and everyone’s in the same group, but it was run really well and it was a lot of fun.”
The horse race was held on the back nine at Woodlawn, with one or two golfers eliminated from each hole.
Dobrescu eliminated Ty Mryglod on the 18th hole to win.
The other golfers in the horse race were Dudas, Jones, Harcourt, Theoren West, Daryl Donovan, Lonnie Jones, Jace Carlisle, Mark Spencer, Carter Hilkewich and Chase Gedak.
The 12 golfers were divided into three groups of four, instead of the traditional group of 12. The field was eventually reduced to two groups and then to one.
Spectators were not able to gather to watch the horse race, but there was a live stream presented by Woodlawn, the Cheap Seats podcast and Robert Godfrey, with members of the Cheap Seats providing commentary.
Dobrescu struggled at times in the final round, but still had a four-stroke lead entering the 17th hole. Dudas gained two strokes on the last hole.
He noted that this weekend was the first time he had played at Woodlawn since moving to Brandon, which meant it was the first time he had played the back nine since its rebuild was complete in 2013.
It felt great to be back at the course where he learned the game and where he played in junior tournaments.
“I played a lot of junior golf here. This is where I got started, so it was cool to get back.”
Since leaving Estevan, he spent a year playing golf for the College of the Canyons, a junior college in California, and then he spent three years at Chicago State University, a Division 1 NCAA school, on a scholarship.
Most years the Canadian Men’s Amateur would be held on the August long weekend, and Dobrescu would be playing in that event rather than the classic. But due to COVID, he couldn’t play in the amateur, so he and Jones, a good friend, decided to play in the classic instead.
“We were looking for events to play in, and this was one my dad could play in as well.”
He praised the condition of the course, and the staff for their work to organize the tournament.
The other flight winners for the men’s event were: Kade Johnson, first flight, 218; Ryan Stovin, second flight, 227; Parnell Pidhorny, third flight, 235; Darien Herlick, fourth flight, 250; and David Buttner, fifth flight, 251.
Mike Ross won the senior men’s championship flight with a three-round total of 219 (68-72-79), which was two strokes better than Weyburn’s Rick Hallberg. Paul Grimes of Kenosee Lake was third at 229.
Senior men’s flight winners were Bill Martyn in the first flight at 242 and Bruce Firth in the second flight at 266.
Bernadette Wright won the women’s championship this year. It was a two-round tournament that ended Sunday. She shot an 82 in the first round and an 84 in the second to finish with a 166 total, 10 strokes better than Paige Wheeler. Maxine Starkewski and Tenille Wilhelm were tied for third at 180.
This marked the first time that Wright has played in the classic since it started offering a women’s division a few years ago.
“Normally I’m away this weekend, usually at family gatherings, but this year with COVID, here I am, I stayed in Estevan and decided to play in the Frametech.”
She also praised the course conditions.
“The staff is doing an amazing job, and the course is beautiful. I retired a few months ago, and I’ve been playing a lot more,” she said.
Nine golfers were entered in the women’s division.
Nearly 120 golfers competed in this year’s tournament between the men’s, senior men’s and women’s events.
than Paige Wheeler.