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2014-07-18 at 15:34

Local golfers revel in Staal Foundation Open experience

By Leith Dunick,
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Robbie Untinen says he learned his game needs a little work if he wants to compete on the PGA Tour Canada.

But he made just enough shots to know his game’s not that far off.

Playing alongside fellow Thunder Bay golfers Jeff Hunter and Evan DeGrazia, Untinen improved by two shots on Friday, shooting a four-over 76 for a two-day 154 total.

Untinen, who like his fellow Lakehead golfers won’t survive the halfway cut, said there was a lot to like about his round.

“It was good. I started off with a birdie on one. But it was tough out there. It was my first time in a PGA Tour Canada event and I was just trying to keep it together all day and play consistent.”

He wouldn’t trade the experience for anything.

“I liked it a lot. It was a lot of fun and I actually can’t wait for next year because the crowds are great and you just had to get used to it. It’s just a different feel, with all the eyes on you hitting golf shots,” Untinen said.

“For the first couple of holes I had a tough time even feeling my golf clubs. Everything felt really light in my hands and it was just adrenaline going through my body. But once you get used to it, it was just like any other day out there playing golf.”

Like Untinen, Hunter, De Grazia and Keating all improved on Day 2 at Whitewater Golf Club.

Keating, a former touring pro, was the best of the bunch, dropping a birdie on 18 to finish the day at even par 72.

It wasn’t the 64 he was hoping for after a seven-over 79 the day prior, but a much better finish, he said.

“I played a lot better than even par today. I just didn’t score, my iron play, I just didn’t get the ball close enough to the hole,” he said.

“I drove it pretty good, my putter was pretty good. Even par was probably as bad as I could have done, but it was a lot better than yesterday.”

DeGrazia, who shot a six-over 78 to finish at 13-over 157, nonetheless enjoyed his two days on tour.

“It was a real fun experience, my first time out here,” he said. “I didn’t know what to expect, but I just honestly felt like a tour player, inside the ropes, fans cheering you on, family and friends. It was really fun.”

Like Untinen, he was nervous on the opening tee.

“I can tell you I was shaking on the first tee,” said DeGrazia, an aspiring pro whose group of local players drew the largest galleries on the first two days of the tournament.

“I managed to put in play. I still got off to a rocky start, but that’s just how it is, the first time I’m here.”

Hunter, playing on a sponsor’s exemption, carded a six-over 78 and called it a good experience. It was also an eye-opener.

“It’s a completely different level of golf than what we’re used to playing locally,” he said. “The golf course is different, the speed, the firmness and the level of play is unbelievable. The guys are shooting eight-under par, playing in the wind.”

Thunder Bay’s Jamie Depiero had a tough day, recording a 12-over 84 for a two-day 160 total.

Vermillion Bay’s Jordan Krantz fired a four-under 68 and will play the weekend. He'll tee of at 11:30 a.m. on Saturday. The final group, leaders Wes Homan and Greg Eason, start their rounds at 1:10 p.m.


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We've improved our comment system.
rocketship says:
What a great event for our community, and a wonderful opportunity for n/w Ontario golfers!!
7/19/2014 8:40:36 AM
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