Michael and Matthew Tibbo know they have to be on top of their game to beat the other, but that’s just fine with them because they work hand in hand in an effort to be the best they can be.
The Corner Brook twins, members of Blomidon Golf and Country Club, will experience another showdown when the two hit the links at Grande Meadows in Marystown July 4-6 for the provincial amateur men’s golf championship.
The Tibbos have spent a lot of time honing their craft coming up through the junior program at Blomidon and now find themselves among the elite in Newfoundland and Labrador.
Michael is the two-time defending Newfoundland and Labrador men’s amateur champion and six-time defending men’s club champion at Blomidon.
Matthew was a member of the 2013 provincial men’s amateur team after finishing one stroke behind his brother last year in Gander. Matthew is already one up on Michael this year, winning the Captain’s Cup title by five strokes two weeks ago at Blomidon.
The Tibbos love to play the game and challenge themselves to get better with each swing of the club. But, there is not heated battles on or off the course before, during or after some of the close showdowns the two have had over the years.
“We’re not too competitive towards each other. I would say we’re more supportive of each other and each other’s game to just and try and push us to get us both better,” Michael said.
Matthew knows he has to beat his brother to be at the top of the leaderboard on most days, but he has never lost sight of the fact there are some really good golfers ready to challenge for the crown at Grande Meadows.
“I finished second the past two years to Michael, but I don't look at is a rivalry,” Matthew said. “Obviously I want to win, and to do so I have to beat him, but there's other great players who I have to beat as well. I just have to go out and play my game and see where this puts me come Sunday.”
They will head into Grande Meadows with something else in common: neither have played the nine-hole course that awaits them. They have their own feelings on how to become familiar quickly in a short window of time.
“I've never played the course before, people have told me that it’s fairly tight and to leave your driver at home, but from past experiences I learned that going into a tournament at an unfamiliar course you have to develop your own strategy once you see it,” Matthew said. “How it may fit your eye could be different from how others see it.”
Chasing the championship on a nine-hour course versus an 18-hole one also means an adjustment, according to Matthew.
“Where it’s a nine-hole course we will be playing the same holes over and over so it’s important to try and feel as comfortable as possible on those holes,” Matthew noted. “I believe whoever feels the most comfortable and confident will put themselves in the best situation to win.”
Michael has chatted with other golfers who have played the course to get a sense of what’s in store.
“I guess I got an idea of how it’s going to play, but I’m hoping to go down a couple days early and play a couple of rounds on it,” he said.
Even though the twins will likely be a in position where one has to say “good try” at some point, Michael is pleased to have his brother back on the west coast after spending last summer living and playing the game to the east.
“It’s great that he’s back and I can play with him more because if you want to be the best you have to play with the best,” he said. “He’ll push me and I’ll push him.”
It’s a safe bet the twins will do exactly that at Grande Meadows.