By Brent Long
After each member of their team bogeyed their first hole of the day, you would never have expected that RattleSnake Point would pull off its first-ever victory in the TaylorMade adidas Junior Interclub Championship at scenic Station Creek Golf Club in Whitchurch-Stouffville.
However, when Tyler Cunningham, Mike Weber, Tate Smith and Assistant Professional, Mandeo Singh, each birdied their second hole of the day, they were back in the game as they continued to pour in the birdies and eagles.
The quartet rounded out their 18-hole round in the two-person net better ball championship at 22-under par on Station Creek’s slithering South Course, which one might think would be good enough to win the interclub championship. Think again, teams from Glencairn and Kanata, the defending champions, both carded identical scores of 22-under to force a shootout after regulation play ended in a three-way tie.
The shootout featured two of three juniors from each club taking a single shot from 120 yards to the pin on the South Course’s tricky 18th green. The defending champs from Kanata opted to shoot first and both missed the green as the tension mounted. Glencairn followed suit. Neither of their balls stayed on the green leaving the dance floor wide open. First it was Weber’s turn to shoot for team RattleSnake. His ball nearly flew the green coming to a stop on the back fringe. Then Smith stepped to the tee. His shot landed in the middle of the green that slopes from back to front and everyone watched as it rolled toward the front edge of the green before it came to rest with a couple of inches to spare.
“When I hit the shot, I thought it was good enough to win. It was looking good. I didn’t think it would spin back as much as it did. It’s certainly a thrilling way to win a championship, a shot a will remember for a long time,” says Smith, who played in the event last year with Weber finishing in the back half of the pack. “We really just tried to not let our slow start hurt us and after that we didn’t have any more bogeys.” With awesome prizing for the top-eight teams from TaylorMade, the winners walked away with new drivers and golf bags.
For Singh, who is in his first-year teaching at RattleSnake Point and at Glen Abbey, it was a good warm-up for next Monday, when he will play the Monday qualifier for the RBC Canadian Open at Heron Point Golf Links.
The victory also propels RattleSnake Point into first place in the ClubLink Cup interclub standings with this win and a second-place finish in the Tournament of Champions that was held back in May at Emerald Hills.
Through retrogression, Team Glencairn; professional Mike Marshall and juniors Jack Guimaraes, James Bader and Ian Lee finished second, while the defending champs from Kanata; professional Travis Smith, with juniors Christian Meliambro, Connor Noonan and Jack York wound up third.
“It’s a great experience and a great event,” York said, noting all three juniors were new to the team this year. “It’s disappointing to lose it in a shootout and not repeat as champions, but that’s golf. Hopefully, there’s a chance to come back and give it another shot.”
A second team from RattleSnake Point led by; Assistant Professional, Rich Storey with Kyle Macdonald, Braydon Evans and Logan Hackett settled for fourth place at 15-under, while the squad from Hidden Lake including; professional Brian Banks and juniors Owen Kim, Desi Primeau and Ben Booker rounded out the top-five at 14-under par.
“It was a fun day, but I can’t imagine getting to 22-under par. The beginning was kinda rough, but towards the end we started to make some putts and some birdies,” said Nickolas MacCallum from Heron Point. “Even if we had a good start I don’t think we would have beaten them. I think we learned that we need to work on our putting, hitting balls in the fairway and always listen to Morgan (Burjaw) our pro.”
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