Greater Trail’s best will battle a strong contingent of visiting golfers as the scenic Birchbank Golf Course hosts its 72nd annual Rossland-Trail Men’s Open this weekend.
Over 100 golfers will tee off on Friday for the popular 54-hole event that sees low-handicappers from across the Kootenays, Okanagan, Alberta, and northwestern United States compete for the title.
“We have a lot of local guys, and we have a lot of guys coming up from Spokane again,” said Birchbank’s David Shankland. “Some of our locals who play in it have a chance to win it every year.”
Last year’s champion, Brad Jones of Vernon, shot 11-under to defeat three-time winner Dylan Maine of Spokane, who narrowly beat out Rossland’s Ben Gresley-Jones for second-place on the final hole. The top contenders will join about 100 other registered players including local favourites like Brett McLaren, Derek Simister, Brad Harding, Ray St. Jean and Tyler and Braden McKay, with former Trail golfer Dan Dupuis winnning it all in 2013.
The Open will concurrently hold its Senior Men’s championship for golfers over 50 and crown its low-gross and low-net winners in all flights.
The R-T Men’s tournament is still open to competitors with registration going right up until the practice round on Thursday.
“We would take players today and tomorrow and probably even up until as late as Wednesday,” said Shankland.”The draw is suppose to be closed, but we certainly have room and we don’t want to turn people away.”
While, this year’s maximum competitors will be held to under 140 golfers, Shankland recalls a time when the historic competition exceeded 200 players.
“Way back in the day we went as high as 224, lots of years we had over 200, and that was just the men’s, that didn’t include the Senior division, but that’s the way things were then.”
In addition to this year’s flight prizes, honey and deuce pots, K.P.s, an optional skins game are included as well as a two-man horse race that will go Thursday night at 6 p.m. The Open also provides dinner on Friday and Saturday night and one complimentary breakfast. The tee off time is at 8 a.m. each day of the tournament.
All golfers should have a valid handicap. To register online go to birchbank.com and download entry form or phone the Pro Shop at 693-2255.