Club pro Graham Frey is leaving the territory a champion.
Frey swung his one club less than anyone else to win the 15th annual One Club Wonder at Mountain View Golf Club on Saturday.
With a 7-iron as his choice of weapon, Frey won the low gross category with an 86 to take his first golden cardigan, the tournament’s answer to the Green Jacket of the Masters.
“Everybody worried about the club, but I think the secret was in the ball,” said Frey, who is leaving the Yukon at the end of the season. “I went with a low-compression ladies’ ball, so I think I really cracked the code.
“It’s a really tough game with the one club and the course is really difficult, so par is a good score when you only have one club. (Our foursome) had a few shots at birdies, we just didn’t make them.”
With a birdie on 16 and the least amount of putts with 26, Dan Moore produced an 87 for second, ahead of third place’s Barry Davidson with an 88.
With a handicap of 15, Davidson won the low net prize with a 73. Tied with Richard Zral after the round, Davidson took first by winning a three-hole putt-off by two strokes. Derek Wirth, last year’s low net winner, took third with a 75.
“Just fun – it’s a whole lot of fun,” said Davidson, who played with a 5-iron. “If you get out with a bunch of good guys, it’s a whole lot of fun. I enjoy doing it and I look forward to it every year. It’s the highlight of the summer.”
Davidson, who had two birdies with a chip-in on Hole 9 and a one-putt on 18, won low net category in 2008 and 2009, “last year wasn’t a good year for me,” he said.
Forty-one golfers took part in the tournament that only allows one club, of the player’s choice, to be used in the round. Other contest winners include Hugh Carruthers for closest to the pin on Hole 8, Tony Hill for the same on 18, and Michael Brooks for sinking the longest putt on 11.
After two summers teaching at Mountain View, Frey is moving to his hometown of Winnipeg with his family at the end of the season.
“Overall it has been a positive experience,” said Frey. “The golf has been good, it’s been fun and golf is strong in the Yukon, so that’s good.
“There’s been a lot of exciting events, like the (Skookum Asphalt Charity) Pro-Am coming in, raising a lot of money for the Yukon Hospital Foundation, and that’s a fun thing to be a part of.”
Though many locals believe the one club tournament to be a Yukon invention that is not the case. The first One Club World Championships took place in 1980, and was expanded into a multiple day tournament in 1982.
In fact, according to Golf Magazine, Seve Ballesteros and Lee Trevino organized informal one club tourneys before British Opens in the 1970s.
Four-time world one-club champ American Thad Daber holds the record for the lowest score, a 70, which is recognized by the Guinness Book of World Record Book.
But that doesn’t stop other clubs from inquiring into how Mountain View operates its tourney.
“I get a few calls every year, usually from guys in the states – I’ve had a couple calls from guys oversees too – as to how we actually do it,” said Mountain View club pro Jeff Wiggins, last year’s yellow cardigan winner. “Everyone has a similar event, but most places use two clubs or more.”
Contact Tom Patrick at firstname.lastname@example.org