Thomas Wins Playoff At The Alberta Mid-Am

Neil Thomas

Neil Thomas Defeats Veteran Tom Mckinlay Jr. With A Birdie On The Fourth Playoff Hole. (Photo/Alberta Golf)

GRANDE PRAIRIE, Alta. – It took four holes of sudden death action to name the 2017 Alberta Mid Amateur Champion. When a 15-foot birdie putt by Neil Thomas of the Edmonton Country Club went down, it put the pressure squarely on Tom Mckinlay Jr. of Lacombe. When Mckinlay Jr.’s shorter birdie effort slid by the cup, it was all over. Both men started the day in a tie for seventh place, three shots off the lead.

“I made a couple of birdies on the back side. There was a point there on (hole) 14 where I made a nice birdie and I figured I had it going from there. After (hole) 14, I knew I was fighting for the lead, and if I could make another birdie coming in, or a few pars, then I thought I would have a good chance at the title,” said Thomas.

30-year-old Thomas is no stranger to high level amateur golf. He is a former Willingdon Cup and Pacific Coast Amateur team member. Thomas went to Clayton State University just outside of Atlanta, Georgia on a golf scholarship and now works full-time in the small business division at a branch of the Canadian Western Bank in Edmonton. Finishing the event at seven-over-par with a three-day total of 223, this is his first provincial championship title.

It was heartbreak for past champion Brian Laubman. The 2005 winner was hoping to rekindle some of that magic, but a double-bogey on the par-5 sixteenth hole and a disappointing bogey on the last left him one shot shy of joining the playoff.

Mckinlay Jr. claimed the Alberta Mid Master Championship for competitors 40 years of age and older. Twenty players in total earned their spot in the Canadian Men’s Mid-Amateur Championship being held at Wascana Country Club in Regina, SK, August 22nd to 25th. With Thomas unable to attend nationals, Alberta’s Interprovincial Team will be made up of Mckinlay Jr., Macdonald and Laubman. The latter two competitors earned those spots in a five-way playoff of those tied for third place.