Jeremy Rietze, 18, of Lacombe was dressed up like a million dollars on July 23rd in Olds at a stop on the McLennan Ross Junior Tour, presented by Crowe MacKay.
Rietze and Jacob Thomas of Edmonton Country Club battled it out over the immaculate fairways and slick, sloping greens of the Olds Central Highlands Golf Club.
Rietze broke out of the gate like Usain Bolt, going four under par through his first seven holes, but after a mid-round streak of three consecutive bogies and some fine play by Thomas, Rietze found himself two shots back of Thomas with only a few holes to go.
Still down a shot on their last hole, the tough 392- yard par four 12th, Rietze went clutch by rolling in a 15-ft. downhill speeder for birdie to force a sudden victory playoff after both players tied with one under par at 71.
Earl Grey’s Peter Slade narrowly missed making it a three-way playoff, finishing one shot back in solo third on even-par 72.
Rietze and Thomas returned to the 527-yard par-5 18th hole for the playoff, and Rietze made another pressure putt, sinking a 10-footer for birdie to earn his first sudden-death playoff win and also secure a spot in the field for the season-ending Tour Championship coming up at Wolf Creek Golf Resort on Aug. 25th.
Thomas also qualified for Wolf Creek and they will be joined by Carter Graf of Red Deer (82) from the flight for boys born in 2000 and later, along with Wild Card qualifiers Curtis Reynolds (80) of the PPC and Justin Loro (79) of Country Hills.
Another solid field of 11 junior girls was on hand as well, but the end result was much like many of the tour events so far this summer.
Clare McMahon of Balmoral continued her fine play with a bounce-back round of 7-over par 80. McMahon had stumbled early in her round with a 44 on her front 9, but rebounded beautifully with an even-par 36 on her back nine for the 80.
The long-hitting McMahon finished three shots clear of Innisfail’s Courtney Dickson, with Annabelle Aykroyd of Silver Springs and Alicia Easthope of Sandpiper tied for third on 84.
Dickson and Aykroyd snagged the two Tour Championship spots up for grabs.