With fast greens and “nasty” hole placements, birdies were far and few between at the 2011 Yukon Golf Championships at Mountain View Golf Club over the weekend.
Scores were up and not a single player broke 80 in the entire tournament.
However, with no one able to pull away from the pack, the top 10 players sat within four strokes of each other to start the deciding round on Sunday.
“It was a good tournament because it was close,” said Whitehorse’s Phil Mullin. “Going into today there was probably 10 or 12 people who could have won the tournament.”
Hitting an 83 Saturday and an 80 Sunday – one of just two 80s in the tournament – Mullin won his fourth Yukon men’s title by one stroke.
“I played better today, yesterday I was hooking everything,” said Mullin. “So I came out early today and hit some balls. All I did was weaken my grip, fix my grip a little bit, and that’s all I had to do. Today I hit the ball pretty good, my putting wasn’t very good – I had three or four three-putts. My chipping was bad, the same as yesterday.”
Mullin, who won the 2009 championships with a combined score of 151 – 12 fewer strokes – was held to just two birdies each round.
“Honestly, it was worst tournament I’ve played out here in probably 10 years, as far as my score goes,” said Mullin. “I’ve never had a tournament where I had two rounds in the 80s for as long as I can remember. I probably didn’t deserve to win.”
Finishing second was Ron Kulych over nephew and 2007 champion Landon Kulych. Tied with a combined score of 164 after two rounds, Ron was pushed ahead of Landon through retrogression.
Whitehorse’s Birgitte Hunter won her third straight women’s title in anticlimactic fashion. Tied at 190 after two rounds with 2008 champ Ingrid Fawcus, the friends decided to flip a coin to decide the winner.
“Up and down; we went back and forth,” said Hunter. “There were some really bad holes and then there were some good holes.
“We were chasing each other the two days.”
Taking third, playing a personal best round on Saturday, was Sandy Olynyk with a 104 and 110.
With a swing as smooth as glass, Seoul, Korea’s Heme Jung, in town to play golf for the summer, took the junior title with personal best 85s both days.
Making her performance all the more amazing is the fact the 17-year-old only took up the sport last year and was playing in her first tournament.
“It was pretty good, I got my best scores,” said Jung. “I played really well.
“I had birdie chances a lot, but I couldn’t make them.
“I’m just trying to be a good golfer. Going every day is my dream.”
A stroke back from Jung, but still taking the Under-15 Junior title, was Trever Harris.
The 14-year-old recently represented the Yukon at the BC Junior Boys Championship at Rossland-Trail Golf Club, producing a personal best score of 76, but narrowly missing the cut by just two strokes. Apparently the greens were even faster in Trails, BC.
“It’s been tough because the greens were so fast down there and my putting up here has been awful,” said Harris. “It’s been a week now, and I haven’t posted a good score just because of the greens.
“On the last hole (at the Yukon Championships), if I had made that putt, we would have been tied and gone to a playoff.”
Former men’s champion Vic Istchenko, playing in senior men’s for the first time, won the division with an 83 and 81, registering just one birdie each round.
“There should have been a lot more,” said Istchenko of his birdie count. “The putting and wedge play was atrocious. My mantra both days was, ‘Nice drive, shame about the wedge play.’
“I’m usually in this with a better score, but I guess we’re all getting older.”
Ken Taylor came in second with an 85 and 81, while Tom Amson hit an 82 and an 85 for third in the senior men’s division.
Winning the men’s second flight was the tournament’s only Dawson competitor, Dustin Regimbal, with a combined score of 171. In second was Dave Ecker with a 180, ahead of Jim Thompson with a 189.
Topping the senior men’s second flight was Pat Molloy with a 184 over the two rounds. Following Molloy were Al Fozzard with a 186 and Harry Kulych with the same score, taking third through retrogression.
Contact Tom Patrick at email@example.com