There are plenty of hockey players that have emerged from the Dryden area.
Future hall-of-famer Chris Pronger and his brother Sean immediately come to mind. But professional golfers are few and far between.
Count Vermilion Bay’s Jordan Krantz among the few.
The 33-year-old has been bouncing around the golf world for the past few seasons, winning his PGA Tour Canada card back this spring with a gold-medal performance at Q-School, firing a final-round 66 to take the title and earn his playing privileges for 2014.
In six events, including this week’s Staal Foundation Open, he’s played the weekend four times, although he’s yet to crack the top 10.
“I played quite nicely at Q-School this year. It was nice to win down there in Florida. It was a really tough golf course, so it was nice to play well,” Krantz said Saturday, following an even-par round that left him four-under par through 54 holes.
“I played when this was the Canadian Tour in 2008 and 2009. So I had quite a bit of experience and I’ve played a bunch of mini tours and a bit overseas. It’s great to be back up here and there’s so much opportunity here now with the PGA Tour having bought the tour.”
Through all his struggles, it’s the love of the game that keeps him going.
“The passion never left. Sometimes the resources were lacking, but it’s a long road sometimes to the PGA Tour and guys have done it for years,” Krantz said. “But I’m extremely passionate about the game. I love to play, I love to compete and love to be able to be in contention week after week, hopefully.
“It’s something I get up in the morning early and I’m in the gym for and I’m hitting balls all day long for. Hopefully I’ll be able to post something tomorrow and crawl up the leaderboard.”
How soon until Northwestern Ontario golf fans get to see him tee it up alongside the likes of Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy?
Krantz isn’t sure, but said his game is rounding into shape.
“It’s very close. I haven’t quite got (enough) out of my game as much as I would have liked, I need to polish a few areas here and there,” he said. “Sometimes it’s very close between shooting 71, 72 to 65, 66, with some momentum here and there, that sort of thing.”
Having a chance to play in front of friendly crowds at Whitewater Golf Club, with his parents and a surprise visit from his Toronto-based brother, was great, said Krantz, grateful the tour has brought a tournament to Thunder Bay.
“It’s fantastic. I usually don’t have the opportunity to play in Northwestern Ontario, so it’s great to be around people I grew up with. A lot of people from Dryden came out today. It was nice to see my parents and nice that it’s similar topography to where I’m from – the same grass types and it’s very comfortable,” Krantz said.
“It’s nice to be here and it’s nice to have a pretty good turnout in the crowd which was pretty supportive.”
Krantz will enter Round 4 of the Staal Foundation Open in a tie for 22nd place.
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