Click here to view the photos from the event.
By Brent Long
After losing out in the shootout in 2014 and 2015, Caledon Woods GC returned to the winners’ circle yesterday in the ClubLink Tournament of Champions presented by Titleist and FootJoy at picturesque Emerald Hills Golf Club.
Caledon Woods has endured a love-hate relationship with this tourney over the years, having first won this title in shootouts in 2011 and 2012 at The Club at Bond Head.
“Every year we go out there and try to win it, that’s the goal, to win our division and make it to the shootout,” says Sandy Lee, now a three-time winner of the championship. She also experienced defeat on the other two occasions. “It’s wonderful to win again. The great thing about today is we all contributed to the victory and we all remained very positive.”
Lee’s teammates included; Phil Arci, who shot a remarkable score of 60 in this event back in 2014; Brad and Donna Vaughan, who were part of the 2012 winning squad, and Caledon Woods’ new Director of Operations, Ken Lane. In their division, Caledon Woods outlasted the Station Creek GC team of; Alessandro Cappa, Paul Kirkpatrick, Sunmi Ko, Helen Williams and pro Jason Hill to advance to the championship shootout.
“I’m not sure if the second victory is any sweeter than the first. They are both hard to come by. Just making our team, with the depth of players at our club is a huge achievement,” Brad Vaughan says. The winners picked up new Titleist 917 drivers for the victory and all players received sweet gifting from FootJoy prior to tee off.
“Sure, there was pressure,” adds Lane, “I’m new to the team and I wanted them to do well, so when we didn’t have a hot start, I told myself I needed to play well. It was nice to see their games, to better understand how good they are. They all have a lot of talent and play well together as a team. I pointed the ponies in the right direction and they just kept going.”
The 15th annual championship featured 33, five-person teams, including four top amateurs from each club plus a club professional, from across the ClubLink family of clubs throughout Ontario and Quebec in a format that counted the best three gross scores on each hole. With 27-holes at immaculate Emerald Hills, the teams rotated through two of the club’s three nine-hole layouts, Valley, Parkland and Forest. The winner of each of the three pairings advanced to a two-person team shootout from 100 yards out on No. 9 of the Forest course that sits below the clubhouse.
The team of; Attila Nagy, Garrett Atkinson, Vanessa Dupuis, Mary Miller and Bryan Overland from RattleSnake GC posted the low score on the Forest/Valley layout at 2-under to advance to the shootout, while the team of; Mike Dinner, Dave Gamble, Angie Anderson, Pam Piotrowski and professional Stephanie Landers-Fenn settled for second at 5-over in that division.
“It was a fun day with a great format that keeps everyone in the game,” says Atkinson, who won a shootout chip off to earn RattleSnake second place honours overall. “It was my first time playing at this course, my first time playing in the event and it’s a day I won’t forget for a long time.”
On the Parkland/Forest layout the Cherry Downs team of; Matt Iceton, Gavin MacIver, Jocelyn Rosos, Rita Kelly and Director of Operations, Joe Pacione posted the low score of the day at 1-over to advance to the final. The King Valley GC squad including; Bill Coville Jr., Barylee Wise, Jane Wallbridge, Joanne Blake and Director of Operations, Roger Seguin wound up second at 5-over.
“I have played in this event three times at The Club at Bond Head, Station Creek GC and now Emerald Hills GC. It’s the reason I play in the club championship at Cherry Downs to get here,” says Iceton, who won FootJoy shoes for finishing third, picked up four dozen of the new Titleist Pro V1golf balls for winning two long drive holes, as well as the swag all golfers received. “I have never played here before, but I would love to come back. The course is in great shape and the greens were rolling so smooth.”
Caledon Woods also picked up 300 first place points in the first event of the season-long interclub ClubLink Cup competition. The pressure is on because in 2016, Kanata Golf & Country Club won the ClubLink Tournament of Champions presented by Titleist and FootJoy and then went on to win the ClubLink Cup. RattleSnake picked up 165 points for second and Cherry Downs earned 105 points for third.
Titleist and FootJoy provided gifting and prizing for the competitors. Matt Soutter, the regional sales manager for FootJoy, who oversees all ClubLink accounts, thanked the members for their loyal support over the years as the brands have seen continuing growth across both Ontario and Quebec.
Exciting new Titleist and FootJoy product that is rolling out in ClubLink golf shops this spring include the new longest PRO V1 and PRO V1X golf balls ever with a new core and aerodynamic designs and the exceptional new spikeless Pro/SL golf shoes.
For the first time in Canada, FootJoy is also introducing a full line of women’s golf apparel with a leisure design that is proving to be very popular with the ladies. In the US, men’s FootJoy golf apparel is now No. 1 at green grass accounts and Soutter is hoping that trend comes north of the border in the coming months.