It came down to the last hole, the last shot and Brad Chudiak sank his 18-ft putt to secure the Western Canada International Pairs championship along with partner Craig Delwisch.
“I had trouble sleeping for a few days,” Delwisch said with a big grin to describe the excitement after the Oct. 3 win.
The win, at Crown Isle Resort in Comox, B.C., earned Chudiak and Delwisch a pair of plane tickets to represent western Canada at the World Pairs Championship, October 2012 in Scotland.
“I told Craig we weren’t going to lose by one point,” Chudiak said to describe the pair’s thinking in the moments before the putt.
Delwisch had already secured a net birdie for the team, but the duo wanted the birdie to tighten their grip on the lead.
“It broke left with just 12 inches to go and hung on to the edge, barely,” Chudiak said, with a chuckle, of the putt that sealed the deal.
“Fortunately the wind was blowing in the right direction.”
“It was a huge putt for net eagle, good for four points,” Delwisch said of the point value of the birdie using the Stableford system.
Huge indeed as the pair won the 67-team tournament with a four-point margin.
This marked the second appearance by the Quesnel duo at the Western Canada International Pairs championship. In their first appearance, Chudiak and Delwisch finished thirteenth, something that didn’t sit too well with either golfer.
“We went down there intending to play very well,” Delwisch said.
“We wanted to win.
“Craig played really well this year,” Chudiak said.
“That took a lot of pressure off of me.”
This time, the pair had a game plan, Delwisch explained.
To start, both golfers spent time in Kelowna with Dean Claggett, formerly of Quesnel.
Claggett, a professional golfer, helped Chudiak with his alignment and Delwisch with his short game, especially wedge shots.
The game plan also involved arriving at the Crown Isle Resort three days earlier to get some practice rounds in, using different clubs and different shots in order to learn the course.
“On the day of the tournament, we knew exactly what we needed to do and where we needed to be on the course,” Delwisch said.
The practice rounds gave the pair time to work on Chudiak’s alignment and also led Delwisch to add a few extra clubs to his bag to compensate for the maritime air and windier conditions.
In addition to playing three practice rounds, the pair were hoping Mother Nature would be on their side, but unlike most golfers, they were hoping for some wind and rain, Chudiak said.
“We play well in that kind of weather and it seems to eliminate a lot of the field,” Delwisch added.
Mother Nature did grant the pair their wish.
Warmly dressed and carrying their clubs with them, unlike most of the other golfers in the field, Delwisch and Chudiak stayed warm and focused on the task at hand.
Listening to Chudiak and Delwisch, it appears they have been golfing together for many years, but nothing could be further from the truth.
“We didn’t even play a round together this summer,” Delwisch admitted.
But, Delwisch explained, he and Chudiak have similar games, both are very competitive and have a similar approach to the game.
Even more important, both are comfortable with giving and receiving advice, Delwisch said.
“We’re always talking on the golf course,” he said.
Although the World Championship is a year away, Chudiak and Delwisch have already started to plan their strategy.
“We’re going to fly over in advance and play a few rounds to get used to the golf course,” Chudiak said.
The pair are also expecting the weather in Scotland to be less than favourable and will work on the trajectory of their shots, especially their wedge shots into the green and shots off the tee.
“High shots don’t work in that kind of weather,” he explained.
“Wind is key,” Chudiak stressed.
“It is going to take confidence and commitment to use a longer club into the wind.
“We are going to focus on changing our game to play in the wind.”
Fitness is another key area the pair will focus on, Delwisch said.
Unlike the Western Canada championship, which was a single round of 18 holes, the World Championships involves two rounds of 18 holes that can take 6 – 6.5 hours to complete.
In light of that, the golfing teammates will spend some time over the winter working on their fitness.
Chudiak said he also needs to work on his alignment, something he has beens struggling with, but has also shown improvement thanks to help from Delwisch and from Claggett.
Although they didn’t play together over the course of the summer both golfers spent much time practicing and were thankful their families allowed them the time to practice.
“We’re going there to win,” Delwisch said.
To represent Canada at a world competition is not an opportunity that comes by frequently,” Chudiak added.
“It’s pretty exciting.”