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New entry wins Gzowski tourney

If the average Whitehorse golfer heard someone shot three eagles and eight birdies in one round, they'd think Tiger Woods stopped by for a visit. But Woods was not in town, nor did one player accomplish such a feat -- four did.

If the average Whitehorse golfer heard someone shot three eagles and eight birdies in one round, they’d think Tiger Woods stopped by for a visit.

But Woods was not in town, nor did one player accomplish such a feat—four did.

First-time entry Team Pacific Northwest Waste Disposal—Sheldon King, Shayne King, Blaine Tessier and Troy Cairns—took top-prize at the 2009 Peter Gzowski Golf Tournament for Yukon Literacy held Saturday at Mountain View Golf Club.

Playing with a best-ball system, the Pacific Team shot a 58 (14 under par), enough to beat second place Community Services with their score of 63. A team entered by Raymond Morris Jr. finished third, just a stroke behind Community Services.

The key to Team Pacific’s success: unbridled respect among the team’s players.

“You could probably give Troy the title of most dangerous golfer,” said Shayne. “Because it’s just luck that someone didn’t get killed by his freakin’ shots that were just spraying all over the place.”

“We were on one hole and it went so far (off course) we yelling fore to the other hole—through the trees—just in case somebody was over there,” said Sheldon.

Team Pacific also had a secret weapon—actually, all 29 foursome’s did. Teams could pay for their mistakes—or pay to erase them—by purchasing “Gzowskis,” which equates to buying mulligans. The Pacific team bought 20 for their round and used them all, but the Gzowskis did not make a big impression on their score, said Cairns.

“Having said that, only one of them mattered,” said Cairns.

“We were 80 yards out and we hit 10 shots and we still got a par!”

Other tourney fundraising initiatives included the sale drives by club pro Jeff Wiggins on hole-10 (which counted towards the teams’ scores), “lucky hit” door prizes, a golf cart auction, a putting contest and a longest drive competition administered by the Canada Land Surveyors Association.

Pacific’s Tessier came up just short in the longest drive despite a 318-yard attempt. He was beaten by Rob Sinclair, who hit a monster 320-yard ball. Carol DiPasquale hit the longest for the women with a 200-yard poke.

“Blaine kills the ball—it’s ridiculous how hard he hits it,” said Sheldon.

Also included was a closest-to-the-pin contests on three of the course’s four Par 3s, won by Jan Klippert, Jim Holland and Gilles Lapres. Going from bunkers to stumpers, the Yukon News team won their second straight Canada Post Literacy Quiz, which consisted of a crossword puzzle based on literacy and golf trivia.

On the day of the tournament alone, $5,602 was raised.

“That’s a really good day—that’s a fantastic day,” said John Spicer, chair of the Peter Gzowski Invitationals (PGI) organizing committee in the Yukon. “That is over-and-above what we received from hole-sponsors and the people who pay to bring teams to play at the PGIs.

“Typically the PGIs have been raising, on average, between $25,000 to $30,000 each tournament, so this is definitely going to help with our bottom-lines in our numbers.

“When we add $5,000 from today, the $5,000 from last night, plus what the sponsors have given, we should be close to that target—somewhere over $25,000.

“With today’s economy and things like that, that speaks pretty well of the generosity of the business community here in Whitehorse. The other nice thing about it is for every $10 dollars we raise, Great West Life, London Life and Canada Life gives us an extra dollar. So we’ll probably be receiving another $2,500 from them.”

PGIs have been played in every province and territory in the nation, raising more than $10 million for literacy initiatives since its inception in 1986.

The tournaments were founded by the late Canadian broadcaster, writer and reporter Peter Gzowski, who famously hosted the CBC show Morningside for 15 years. He died in 2002 at the age of 67.

Dollars and scores aside, everyone came away a winner, having enjoyed a day of sun, golf and team camaraderie.

“Troy Cairns might have the ugliest golf-swing known to man,” said Shayne. “You will not find a dissenting opinion to that; you can ask anybody in this golf club and they’ll say, ‘Oh yeah, that’s one ugly-ass golf swing.’”

Contact Tom Patrick at