‘Craziest finish I’ve ever seen’: Player was leading, then he climbed a tree

Ryan Werre on Thursday in a tree on the 18th hole at Highwood Golf Club.


Ryan Werre climbed the 40-or-so-foot pine tree, got toward the top and shook it with all he had. Someone then shouted what he wanted to hear, and Werre looked back down. 

“There it is,” the man said.  

“There you go,” another said. 

But no, it wasn’t his golf ball. 

“That was a pine cone,” yet another man said.  

“Oh, that was a pine cone?” the first man said. 

A short while later, Werre worked his way back down the tree on the right side of the 18th hole at Highwood Golf Club in High River, Alberta, and one of the most bizarre finishes to a golf tournament continued. As first reported by Alberta Golf, Werre had led the Alberta Men’s Mid Amateur Championship on Thursday by two shots when he hit his tee right on the final hole of his final round, then hit … somewhere. 

“It was a whirlwind,” eventual winner Jesse Galvon told Alberta Golf. “It was a very interesting last hole.”

That it was. And it began when Werre hit his second shot on the par-4 18th, an iron from about 200 yards out. His ball went right toward the tree, he and others believed it swallowed up the shot, and Werre started his climb. His reasoning? He would take an unplayable ball penalty, but he was trying to expand his relief options: If he could identify it, he could lateral relief under rule 19.2c, or back-on-the-line relief, under rule 19.2b; if he couldn’t ID his ball, he would be forced to take the much more penal stroke-and-distance relief option, under rule 19.2. 

For the rules-allotted three minutes, Werre looked, climbed and shook. Nothing, though if there were an honor for effort, he would have earned it.   

From there, Werre hit into a penalty area, signed for a quintuple-bogey nine and tied for fourth, while Galvon took a par-four and overcame a two-shot deficit on the final hole. 

“The craziest finish I’ve ever seen in person,” Galvon told Alberta Golf. “I don’t know if there’s a crazier finish that people know of.”

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Nick Piastowski

Nick Piastowski

Golf.com Editor

Nick Piastowski is a Senior Editor at Golf.com and Golf Magazine. In his role, he is responsible for editing, writing and developing stories across the golf space. And when he’s not writing about ways to hit the golf ball farther and straighter, the Milwaukee native is probably playing the game, hitting the ball left, right and short, and drinking a cold beer to wash away his score. You can reach out to him about any of these topics — his stories, his game or his beers — at nick.piastowski@golf.com.