This week, Powell River’s Myrtle Point Golf Club welcomes the best under-17 golfers in the province.
Girls and boys, vying for the 2011 BC Juvenile Championship, had a practice round on Tuesday, August 16 with the tournament starting on Wednesday, August 17.
There are 72 boys in the field, of whom 60 will make the cut after two rounds, while all 21 girls entered will play three rounds to determine a champion.
British Columbia Golf Association (BCGA) will send eight to 10 representatives to the tournament but most of the work has already been done by club liaison Barb Macbey.
“We’ve got golfers coming in from all over,” she said, “from the Kootenays to the far north. The course is very green,” she added in reference to our damp summer, “and Sean Reid our superintendent and Buzz Wilson our pro have been busy getting everything ready for the championship.”
Her main focus has been to organize volunteers who will be instrumental in making sure the tournament runs smoothly and according to BCGA rules.
“Basically, my job is host chair and I’m the liaison between the club and the BCGA. We have approximately 30 volunteers, about 15 to 16 per day, and more on the last day because the last four groups will have walking scorers and standard bearers.”
The only shotgun start was the practice round on Tuesday at 1 pm with the other rounds beginning in threesomes at 7:30 am Wednesday and Thursday running through to 12:09 pm.
Both runners-up from last year, Stuart Macdonald of Point Grey Golf Club for the boys, and Alix Kong of Capilano Golf Club for the girls, will be back for another swing at the title.
While there are no girls competing from Powell River, Josh Legge (who tees off with Macdonald on Wednesday) and Will Mabbett are entered in the boys’ competition. Legge believes he has something to prove after his performance last year.
“I’ve been waiting for this since last year,” said Legge, who tees off at 10:12 am. “I missed the cut by one shot. I shot 80 to 81 so I didn’t play very well. If you hit fairways and you hit greens, it’s easy to make good numbers.”
Legge’s best round has been 71. “It could be lower because the par fives are short and I know where to hit it and I know where the greens are.”
Mabbett begins his first round at 11:42 am the same day. “The nerves are good,” he said. “I’ll probably get some as we get closer to the tournament.”
He’s counting on hours and hours of practice to hone his game and said, “if I’m hitting the ball well going in then I’ll have a good shot at doing well.”
Another advantage for the local golfers is, of course, the home course and Mabbett, who has gone as low as 77, said, “it’s a huge advantage for me because not very many of the golfers have played it.”
Like the junior tournament five years ago, this one will bring hundreds of parents and officials into the city.
“We’ll have a lot of the families coming in with the golfers,” said Wilson, “so it’s good for Powell River as well as the golf club. We’ve got 300 people who haven’t been here before and now they will see what we do have to offer.”
Of Myrtle Point, he said, “The BCGA love it. They’ve been here to rate the course a few times and they asked for the tournament. Of course, we obliged.”
Spectators are encouraged to cheer on Mabbett and Legge, and see some great shot making from some of BC’s best young golfers.
The golf course is closed to the public on the mornings of Wednesday, Thursday and Friday but will be open for play at 1 pm on those days.