Local golfers finish ninth at nationals

The War of 1812 is now but a speed bump in history.
It was fought between the United States and Great Britain from June, 1812 to the spring of 1815, although the peace treaty ending the war was signed in Europe in December, 1814.
Most of the fighting occurred along the Canadian border. And in its honour, the Battlefield Golf Course—one of three that encompass the Legends of the Niagara course—is named for a bloody skirmish that took place on land adjacent to it.
The Battlefield was the setting for yet another campaign—this one being the Buick Scramble Canadian Championship, which was held Sunday. And a quintet of local golfers strode onto the course with their weapons (golf clubs) in tow.
Kitchen Creek pro Steve Wood was joined by club members Andy Crook, Jon Dupuis, Bill Moody, and Alton Pollard. And though they had a slow start, mostly due to a debilitating wind that blew up to 50 km/h, they finished well to post a score of 10-under par 62 and a share of ninth place.
“You don’t go there to lose, so your goal is to obviously make it to the next stage,” noted Wood. “We were close and we made a good charge in the end [they birdied three of their last four holes].
“Other than a slow start, we played well,” Wood added.
In fact, they were only two shots away from being part of a playoff for the final of the three groups in the gross division to advance to the North American championship, which is being held in Orlando, Fla. in mid-October.
Wood admitted they could have played better.
“We showed strength on the tee, but you need to be strong hitting shots onto the green so that your birdie shots are shorter,” he noted.
“We had a couple of birdie putts that were tap-ins, but there were others that were of pretty significant length of like 20 to 30 feet,” he added. “You need to be within 10 to 12 feet to make a lot of birdies.”
The Buick Scramble is the world’s largest amateur golf tournament. More than 80,000 golfers participate in the event that boasts Tiger Woods as it honouray chairman (he also presents the North American championship trophy).
The tournament, now in its 22nd year, follows a “best ball” format, meaning all five players hit from the best-positioned ball, except for their opening drives.
The Kitchen Creek quintet advanced to the national showdown thanks to their strong showing at the Manitoba sectional tournament last month, where they fired a 57 to win the event and gain one of the 15 available spots in the gross division.
But getting to the nationals proved to be difficult on another front.
After meeting in Winnipeg early Friday afternoon to board a 3 p.m. flight to Toronto, Wood, Moody, and Pollard (Dupuis and Crook had made other arrangements) couldn’t fly out of Winnipeg until 10 p.m. due to the severe weather conditions that crippled Toronto that day.
“Nothing could take off or land in Toronto,” noted Wood.
By the time they got to their hotel, it was almost 3 a.m. on Saturday.
They then had a practice round later that day, which “gave the guys a chance to see the course.”
“I had an idea of where the flags were going to be, so I told them what to look for and how we needed to approach things,” said Wood.
Judging from their final score, they approached things fairly well, except for a few miscues, and had fun in the process.
“We had a blast,” enthused Wood.

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