Call it homefield advantage, if you will.

Local golfers clearly got the better of their out-of-town opposition last Friday, winning all four divisions of the Black’s Pharmacy Senior Men’s Open.

The one-day, 18-hole event was played in very blustery, almost gale-force, conditions that had participants working hard to keep their scores presentable.

Leading the charge was Merritt’s Brad Carr, who managed to forge a very credible score of two-over-par 74 — good enough to top the list of low gross golfers, and good enough for a two-stroke victory over fellow Merrittonian Jim Irving and last year’s overall winner, John Perrie from Kelowna.

“It was tough out there,” said Carr, shortly after finishing his round. “[The conditions] really wear on you physically. Being from Merritt was a big advantage, no doubt. I kind of knew what to expect and how to adapt.”

Carr said he went up two clubs for most of the day when hitting into the strong, swirling winds.

Defending champion Perrie might have given Carr a real run for his money, but the difficult conditions finally caught up with him on the par-four 17th hole. His first tee shot went out-of-bounds left; his second caught a fairway bunker on the right.

Perrie managed to rescue a seven on the hole, but the damage was done and he had to settle for a second-place tie with Irving.

“The wind was a huge factor today,” said Perrie, who is coming back from a complete knee replacement just seven months ago. “It was very intimidating.”

The blowing conditions didn’t seem to unsettle another local golfer. Brian Niehaus, a 13-handicapper normally, shot an astonishing 78 to record a low net score of 65, three better than Brian Popp out of Kamloops.

Niehaus’s stellar round included a pair of deuces on holes five and 14.

“I was very pleased with my game today,” said Niehaus. “I had a good round.

Merritt golfers also took the second flight titles, as Jack McNeil had a low gross score of 84 and Ray Emmerick checked in with a low net total of 70.

A total of 61 golfers took part in this year’s Black’s Pharmacy Open.