A 10-year old from Powell River is a provincial golf champion.
Lucas Vizzutti finished tied atop the standings at the BC Bantam/Novice Championships held recently at Mount Brenton Golf Course in Chemainus.
After the first day of the three-day tournament, which featured one practise day and two days of 18-hole competition, Lucas sat in fifth place in the novice division. His father, Chad, said his son was disappointed after posting a 97 on the scorecard. The elder Vizzutti was only able to witness the final hole of the day as spectators were not allowed on the course due to COVID-19.
“He came in and he wasn’t very happy, I could tell,” said Chad. “He didn’t have a very good last hole. He shot 97, and that’s still really good for him, but he is pretty competitive.”
Lucas was three shots behind the leader heading into the final round and contemplated his situation the evening before.
“He was down but before he hit the bed he told me: ‘I have a good feeling; I’m going to have a good day tomorrow,’” said Chad.
While on the course, Lucas had no idea where he stood as far as the standings were concerned, but felt he played the front nine holes well on day two. He shot 43 on the back nine and 91 overall, including a bogey on a difficult final hole. With his 18 handicap, the result was a par on the 18th.
At the finish, the Vizzuttis had to wait for three more golfers to finish before finding out the result, a shared position atop the podium and gold medal as provincial champion.
“It ended up being a dead heat,” said Chad. “Lucas had a better back nine, but they ended up giving them both the gold medal instead of doing a playoff. He was really excited; it was pretty neat.”
Chad said he was especially impressed with Lucas’ play on the final hole of the tournament, when his son knew he was playing well and possibly in contention. Nerves were not a factor, according to his father, who again was only able to see his son play the final hole.
“Kids nowadays, I don’t think any of them get nervous,” said Chad. “Lucas didn’t seem nervous going into the second day. I was more nervous watching him come down 18 because there is a huge pond in front of the green and you have to get it over.”
Lucas hit the ball into the pond on day one and had the same shot on day two but again chose not to lay up.
“He was halfway and I thought, ‘just bunt it down there and hit it over,’ but no, he went for it and made it over,” said Chad. “I asked later why he didn’t just lay it up.”
Lucas responded to his father by saying, “Dad, you’re not going to win if you don’t go for it.”
Lucas was the youngest player taking part in the tournament, which included two other 10 year olds and other players up to age 14 spread over two divisions: bantam and novice. 84 total boys and girls were entered.
After playing on and off in the summertime for a couple years, Lucas, who began to golf at age seven, started playing competitively last year, winning his first tournament at Myrtle Point Golf Club, where he is also a member.
“He started playing last year, in July, and they had a tournament and he won his division,” said Chad. “He just decided that maybe it was something he wanted to pursue.”
He then played in four tournaments on Vancouver Island and won two of them against players aged nine to 12.
“This year, with COVID, there were none, but we got out quite a bit,” said Chad. “He has played probably three or four times a week since May and has really taken an interest in it. This championship went ahead and it could have been anywhere in BC, but it happened to be close to us, so off we went.”
Until regular tournaments start up again, chances for competing will be few and far between during the pandemic.
“They are going to host one more tournament on the island, a regional tournament Lucas would normally go to, in Qualicum on September 19, so he is looking forward to going to that,” said Chad. “But that’s probably going to be the only other competitive tournament he’s going to get this year. Normally almost every weekend there is a tournament on the island through the summer.”
Chad said his son is golf obsessed, including watching on television. His favourite professional player is Tiger Woods.
“If I watch the Masters he will watch the whole thing with me,” added Chad. “He knows more stuff about what is going on now than I do.”