On Thursday, Aug. 24 at approximately 9:30 a.m. CT, Morgan Barron will join a very select list.
The 24-year-old Halifax native will join Mark Scheifele and Kyle Connor in becoming just the third member of the Winnipeg Jets to compete in the PGA Tour Canada’s CentrePort Canada Rail Car Manitoba Open at Southwood Golf & Country Club.
Like Scheifele in 2018 and ’22, and Connor in 2019, Barron will compete in the tournament on a sponsor’s exemption. But will the fourth year forward be able to better Scheifele’s team best score of 18 over 162 from last year?
“They just all want me to do well to be honest with you,” Barron told reporters at a pre-tournament news conference on Tuesday.
“It’s obvious we’re competitors, but obviously two really good friends. They’ve done everything they can to help me. I don’t know really how much they can do from a distance. I’m planning to enjoy it and having fun. Getting stressed out there isn’t going to help my game at all.”
Barron had a chance to play a practice round on Monday and his first thought about the Southwood layout was its length. He’s also preparing as best as he can to play some “prairie golf” with wind expected to come in from different directions during the first two rounds.
“This is the only real competitive golf I’ve played so I’m interested to see how that changes,” admitted Barron who will be in a pairing with Manitobans Travis Fredborg and Ryan McMillan. “On a normal day, on a normal golf course, mid-70s is good. Obviously this course is going to be playing a little harder than what I’m used to so I’d imagine something around the low 80s would be really good. But don’t hold me to it.”
There might be another motivating factor for the 6-4 and 220 pound winger who will be going into his second full NHL campaign in 2023-24.
Earlier this season on the PGA Canada Tour, Cole Sillinger of the Columbus Blue Jackets shot 25 over 165 at the Saskatchewan Open in late June while Ottawa Senators veteran Claude Giroux came in under that score with a 17 over, 159 through 36 holes about a month ago at the Ottawa Open.
Barron says he’ll see how things go on Day One before deciding on a strategy for the second round. “If I’m around 9 over after the first day then maybe I can start dialing in on that number,” said Barron in reference to earn team bragging rights over Scheifele.
“For the first few holes, at least, and maybe the first day, I just want to go out and hit the ball. Get it off the tee and go from there.”
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