When Mountain View golf pro Jeff Wiggins first spoke to media at the start of the season about the Yukon’s pro-am tournament, he said, “I expect the course record to be broken twice on that day.” As it turns out, his premonition was right on par.
Indeed, Mountain View’s course record was cracked twice as the club hosted the Skookum Asphalt Charity Pro-Am, the territory’s first-ever professional-amateur tournament held on Saturday.
Fourteen professional golfers flew into Whitehorse from Alberta and BC for the event, bringing the total to 16 with Wiggins and Mountain View’s Graham Frey taking part. Also included in the event were 102 amateur golfers, helping raise roughly $20,000 for the Yukon Hospital Foundation and Variety Children’s Charity.
The course record of 69, set by Whitehorse’s Phil Mullin years ago, failed to last through the morning’s opening round with Kris Wasylowich, one of two Canadian Tour players at the tourney, hitting a 67.
In the afternoon, the record saw another two strokes shaved off with a 65 hit by pro Trevor Metcalf, up from Eagle Ranch Golf Resort in Invermere, BC, close to his hometown Prince George where he used to receive instruction from Wiggins as a junior.
“I just kept it in play. I only hit it into the trees once, hit a lot of greens, made a few putts,” said Metcalf. “I was hitting shots with no movement on them, not anything, just straight as an arrow. It’s just one of those days.”
During this first trip to the Yukon, Metcalf was blown away by the course and could not say enough about the conditions.
“The whole experience of playing up here was completely different than what I expected,” he said. “To be honest I expected a little mat to hit off of – how would I know?
“I get up here and this place is beautiful. The greens – some of the best greens I’ve ever seen. It’s hard to make spike marks on them, they’re quick and I was really impressed with the whole course.”
Metcalf, who hit seven birdies in his record-breaking round, also holds course records at Eagle Ranch, as well as at his home course and three courses in the US, which he set playing on the Gateway Tour based in Phoenix, Arizona, last winter.
“It’s sort of a developmental tour,” said Metcalf. “I doubt I’d do that tour again. I’d try the Canadian Tour.
“The Canadian Tour involves so much travel. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a great tour, but I just don’t know if I’m ready for the travel part of it yet. You need some sponsorship with that too. It’s a tough way to live.”
No surprisingly, Metcalf and the three amateurs who played with him ended up with the winning team score, using a points system that awarded pars, birdies and eagles.
Included in the foursome were two players up from Calgary and Vancouver and Whitehorse’s Kevin Flamand, a member of Mountain View.
“Yeah, we were definitely playing well,” said Flamand. “(Metcalf) was a very relaxed guy, very good natured and it was a pleasure to play with him.
“We birdied or eagled almost every hole on the course – no pars.”
The back-nine was particularly strong for the foursome, pocketing three eagles, in part thanks to some instruction from Metcalf.
“This is the first time I’ve played in a pro-am and I have to say I loved it,” said Flamand. “I definitely want to do it again if it’s an annual thing.
“Just towards the front-nine I asked him, ‘How’s my swing?’ and he said, ‘Your shoulder should be a little more in and you’re moving your hips a little bit too much.’
“Without a doubt it worked; it helped out my game big-time. That’s why we did so good on the back nine.
“He was helping the other guys along and they say it’s the best they’ve played.
“When you’re playing with better players, it brings up your game.”
Finishing second in the team rankings were pro Scott Shepherd with amateurs Craig Tuton, Mike Tuton and Jared Tuton. In third were pro Trigg Slonski with Mike Snow, Tariq Jamil and Pat Howell.
Flooded by positive feedback, Mountain View is optimistic the pro-am will become an annual event.
“I feel pretty confident saying that,” said Frey. “Feedback has been extremely positive thus far from people who came to the course today. Everyone I’ve seen today is just raving about it. People want to sign up already for next year.
“All the pros who came up loved it and they can’t wait to come back.
“I couldn’t be happier. It’s good for golf in the Yukon.”
Contact Tom Patrick at firstname.lastname@example.org