Dan Couillard claims club championship for first time
by Randy Pascal
Sitting in a tie for third place and trailing the leader by three strokes after day one of the Men's Club Championship in Lively, Dan Couillard
had the field right where he wanted them.
"I felt better chasing than I do sitting in the lead," said the 30 year old golfer, less than an hour after edging Max Kallio by one stroke, and
bettering both Brent Hatton and Nico Presot by a pair in claiming club bragging rights for the very first time.
"I find it a lot easier to come at it from behind than it is trying to hold on to a lead." Luckily, the first time winner was paired with some of the
lead pack, including Kallio, as they battled back and forth on a gorgeous Sunday afternoon.
"My game was a little shaky, but I got through and pulled it off," said Couillard. "Putting was a little off, but I grinded it out and made a nice putt
on eighteen for the win."
A member of the 2017 Ryder Cup championship team from Lively, Couillard is confident that his game is progressing, even as he targets at least
one primary goal on his golf wish list in the coming years.
"I definitely want to take a run at the Idylwylde Invitational," he stated. "I was top eight last year and this year, didn't really perform that
well - but that is one of the goals, for sure."
"My short game is getting better, but ball striking has come a long way, a lot more consistent." In Junior action, 17 year old Justin Karcz
enjoyed the round of his life, firing a 69 on day two and cruising to a ten shot victory over 2014 winner Conrad Naponse.
"That's the best round I've ever shot," exclaimed Karcz. "My ball striking today was just phenomenal, I didn't miss a lot of greens. And when I needed a
big putt, I made putts and got up and downs."
Carding a 76 on Saturday and holding a three stroke lead, Karcz realized early the potential that something a little extra special might be taking place
on day two. "Once I made the turn at one under, I had never broken par on the front nine before," he said.
"I made birdie on 11 and kind of rode the wave. I had a bogey on 13, which was a bit of a hiccup, but got that back with a nice birdie on 16 and finished
off with pars." Yet another contender into what should be an outstanding field at the 2017 SDSSAA playdowns come late September, Karcz noted that one key
focus has really helped his game this summer.
"Driving the ball, for sure, getting off the tee and keeping the play in play. Accuracy is the most important thing, in my mind." In the remaining
divisions, Annette McDonald made it three straight Ladies titles, besting Rochelle Hatton by eight strokes, while Brent Hatton claimed
senior bragging rights at 149, three better than Terry Hamilton (152).
The win by Couillard makes it three different men's champs in as many years, as he follows in the footsteps of Tom Cunningham (2016) and Hatton