The winners of the 2011 Blossom Festival golf tournament were (from left) Cherie Baker (ladies’ low gross

The winners of the 2011 Blossom Festival golf tournament were (from left) Cherie Baker (ladies’ low gross

Over 80 battle in Blossom Fest tournament

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With the Creston course playing at its best and the new tees adding a challenge to all levels of player, the stage was set for a dramatic battle between Josh Coletti and Jordan Melanson (both low handicap college players from Granite Point Golf Course in Nelson), Jared McMillan from Creston, and Daniel Brown, a former Creston golfer from Kelowna, in the Blossom Festival Open golf tournament.

Coletti, with an opening 70 on the first day, took a three-shot lead into the final 18 holes over McMillan and a five-shot lead over Melanson and Brown. Brown opened with a sizzling four under par front nine, closely followed by Melanson with a 34, who birdied the sixth, seventh and eighth holes to pull within one shot of Coletti. Later in the round, Coletti needed an eagle on the par four 15th hole to tie with Melanson. Then on the 18th green, Coletti had an opportunity to pull back into a tie again, but unfortunately three putted to give Melanson the men’s championship by two shots.

Melanson, who has professional aspirations and is the captain of the Simon Fraser University golf team, summed up his round:

“I’ve been really focusing on my ball striking, and hitting the last 14 greens in regulation under a little pressure is really encouraging,” he said. “It really helps to stay focused on the next shot, which is all you can control.”

Creston golfers fared better in the lower flights with Don Price and Mike Nelson both breaking 80 to take the first and second low gross in the first flight. In the men’s second flight, local Dale Benedetti cruised home with a four-shot win over Tom Proud.

In the ladies’ flight, local perennial winner Cherie Baker won with a solid 169 total, outscoring Linda Price by two shots.

Entry numbers (84) were down this year, presumably due to the late start to the season. However, with the excellent course condition, thanks to Devon Davidson and his crew, the smooth organization of Don Price’s committee and Randy Panton and his staff, and the outstanding hospitality of the new clubhouse manager Dennis Munro, the club expects numbers to be up substantially in 2012.