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First Nations do battle on the links


Gilbert Plains Country Club was under siege Sunday as First Nations from across the region and beyond battled for supremacy on the links.
The second annual Treaty 2 Territory Battle of the Nations drew a field of 112 golfers seeking a special prize.
“It is for a lot of bragging rights. There is a little cash prize, but it is definitely about the bragging rights,” said Chief Barry McKay of Tootinaowaziibeeng First Nation, which was hosting the tournament on behalf of Treaty 2 Territory.
In just its second year, McKay is impressed with the growth in the tournament and its popularity outside of the region
“It is open to anybody, any First Nations person, but they have to play for their own reserve,” McKay said.
“There are teams from all over. We have teams from Saskatchewan here, six or eight teams from Saskatchewan. Last year I think we only had 16 teams. Now we have 28 this year.
“There is a lot of strong teams here.”
When the smoke from the battle cleared, it was the team from Pine Creek First Nation headed by Elvis Nepinak which earned the bragging rights in the best ball tournament on a countback, after recording an 18-hole score of 57. In second place in the Championship Flight was the foursome of Ashley Straightnose while the team headed by Keenan Leaske finished third with a score of 58.
The First Flight was won by McKay’s Tootinaowaziibeeng First Nation on a countback over the Tony Cote foursome and the team of Dion Houle. All three teams shot 59.
The Third Flight was won by the foursome of Emery Stagg on a countback over the team headed by Rene Hunter in second. Both teams shot 65. Sterling Nepinak’s team finished third, recording a 66.
The tournament also featured closest-to-the-hole competitions on the par 3s with Stagg closest on no. 4 at eight feet, eight inches. Savannah Sanderson was closest on no. 9 at five feet, five inches while Kevin McKay took the honour on no. 14 at seven feet and John North on No. 17 at two feet, 6-1/2 inches.