Jeffery Hunter could not have come much closer to victory last year, going to two playoff holes before losing the Yukon Golf Championship to Landon Kulych.
This year, things were different.
Taking the lead with three holes to play, Hunter finished on top of the leader-board by three strokes, winning his first men’s division championship Sunday at Mountainview Golf Course.
“I’ve got no one to blame but myself,” said last year’s champion, Kulych. “I hit a few errant shots — didn’t make too many mistakes, but the ones that I did were enough to take the tournament from me.”
Disappointed with a 78-shot, third-place spot after the first round, three shots behind leader Blaine Tessier and one shot behind eventual second-place finisher Jeff Wiggins, Hunter kept on track as the leaders encountered troubles.
After a problematical front-nine Sunday in the second and final round, Tessier went off the radar in the standings, leaving him spouting remarks about how he’d rather have gone to the beach on such a beautiful day.
“He just had a bad start,” said Wiggins, who is also the club pro, speaking of Tessier. “He kind of fell off after three holes.”
In the meantime, Hunter kept at Wiggins’ heels, eventually jumping a stroke ahead on the fourth-last hole with one of his six birdies. (In this case the sixth hole of the course, since the foursome started on the 10th tee.)
“He went into the trees and I tried to drive it to the 150s,” said Hunter, speaking of his and Wiggins’ drives on the 502-yard, par-five hole. “I kind of got caught in the rough in the trees and found the ball, hit it over the green and hit an amazing up-and-down.”
However, the entire hole was not so up-and-down for Hunter.
“I got a good break in finding my ball — I took a too aggressive line off the tee-box,” explained Hunter. “I just kind of scrapped around and sunk the putt from the fringe. (It was) like a 20-footer (putt).”
Last year’s champ finished third with 156, two strokes off of second place Wiggins.
“I’d love to have hole number one back — which is the tenth hole that we’ve played since we started on the back nine,” said Kulych. “I took a triple bogey, but we were neck-and-neck until then.
“And then he grabbed me by the throat and never let go,” he added … figuratively speaking, of course.
About 60 players teed off in the championships. The largest division was the men’s with 21 competitors.
Scott Meredith, 13, took the junior boys’ title, golfing 171 between the two rounds. After hitting an 84 in his first round, putting him up by six strokes, Meredith expanded his lead to 14 with a pair of birdies and a couple pars Sunday.
“It was a nice birdie,” said Meredith, describing his birdie on the 14th. “I hit my ball on the edge of the woods, through the fairway. Then I hit my nine-iron 140 (yards) and stuck it around 10 feet (away) and I rolled in the putt.”
A veteran of the course, Meredith also won Mountainview’s junior boys’ tournament last year.
“This is my third year playing at this course and this is the best it’s ever been condition-wise,” said Meredith. “I’ve played a few courses down south (recently) and there wasn’t much difference.”
Men’s Division Score Net
1st Jeffrey Hunter 151 151
2nd Jeff Wiggins 154 154
3rd Landon Kulych 156 150
Men’s low net (with handicap)
1st Dave Ecker 177 149
Women’s Division Score Net
1st Ingrid Fawcus 192 156
Women’s low net
1st Birgitte Hunter 189 164
Senior Ladies Score Net
1st Ev Pasichnyk 195 151
Senior Ladies low net
1st Marcia Seely 200 144
Senior Men Score Net
1st Matt Lafferty 166 142
Senior Men low net
1st John Taylor 190 144
Super Senior Score Net
1st Barry Bellchambers 174 146
Super Senior low net
1st Harry Kulych 181 143
Junior Boys Score Net
1st Scott Meredith 171 151
Junior Boys low net
Ricky Schmok 188 160