SASKATOON -- On Thursday, some of Canada’s best golfers teed off at Elk Ridge Resort in the Mackenzie Tour - PGA Tour Canada.

The inaugural Elk Ridge Open Championship marks the return of the PGA-sanctioned tour to Saskatchewan.

“It’s great to have professional golf back here,” said Graham Delaet, a Weyburn native who is the honorary chairperson of the tournament.

“And we have a lot of young Saskatchewan kids who are playing as well. It’s great for them to dip their toes in the water and see what it’s like to play against some of the best in the country.”

The Dakota Dunes Golf Course was the last place to host such an event in 2016.

The Mackenzie Tour - PGA Tour at Elk Ridge Resort is the first of an eight year commitment to host the tour at the Saskatchewan resort.

It's one of eight stops this year. Four tournaments in eastern Canada are already complete and its set to conclude Sept. 27 in Victoria.

The tour is scaled back due to the pandemic, as it normally includes 13 events, executive director Scott Pritchard said.

At the Elk Ridge Open, 116 players will play 54 holes and three rounds. Pritchard says in 2022, they plan to host 152 golfers to play a total of 72 holes.

Saskatoon’s Troy Bulmer says he’s excited to play at Elk Ridge.

“It’s nostalgia overload. I used to spend all my summers up here,” said Bulmer.

Bulmer is now based at the Vernon B.C. Predator Ridge Golf Course.

“My game this year has been ok. I’ve been relatively happy with a lot of my finishes. You always want to improve and continue to move your name up that money list,” said Bulmer.

Yorkton’s Kade Johnson is playing in the tournament and is ranked 26th.

“Hopefully I can keep it going into the last four,” said Johnson.

Fan admission to the Elk Ridge open is free. Play concludes Saturday.

The top five players on the PGA Tour Canada will gain Korn Ferry Tour memberships for the 2021–22 season and chance to play in the PGA Tour USA.

“Every Canadian that’s made it to the PGA tour has started their career on the PGA Tour Canada,” Pritchard.

“Playing on this tour gives them the opportunity to essentially learn how to be a professional golfer.”

All of the money raised at the Elk Ridge Open will be donated to The Graham and Ruby Delaet Foundation.