The Golden Cardigan was on familiar shoulders Saturday evening.
Whitehorse’s Blaine Tessier won his sixth title at the 19th annual One Club Wonder Invitational at Mountain View Golf Course.
With the title comes the trophy and the unsightly yellow cardigan – the tournament’s answer to the Green Jacket of the Masters – that is said to have been fashionable at some point in time.
Tessier, a multiple-time Yukon golf champ, has now won the invitational more than anyone else.
“It’s the most fun. I enjoy this tournament more than any other tournament put on all year,” said Tessier, 41.
What about it? “Always knowing what club you have to hit … You have to take a club that you can keep in play, you can use putting and around the greens, and keep it out of the water on 2 and 10.”
Tessier and his trusty eight-iron tied the tournament record of 77, set last year by Whitehorse’s Vic Istchenko, who did it with a seven-iron.
Tessier carded three bogeys and a birdie on the front nine, two bogeys, a double, and a bird on the back.
“The round was good. I couldn’t have got any more out of that round,” said Tessier, who set the previous record of 79 in 2013. “I was trying really hard to beat Vic’s score from last year. I made a lot of putts, didn’t miss much. It was a good day. Weather was nice. Had a good group to play with and it’s a fantastic tournament these guys put on.”
Derek Wirth pieced together his best One Club round for second place, walking off with an 83. The 35-year-old also pulled an eight-iron from his bag for the tourney.
“I know the place rather well and that probably helps, to a degree,” said Wirth, who has been the course superintendent for seven years. “I still need to execute the shots and that’s usually what I have a problem with. Today it was going pretty well.”
Though second in gross, Wirth was tops in a couple other contests. He hit his handicap to win low net with a 72 and won the prize for the least amount of putts with 28.
“I chipped one in on (hole) 5 and overall it was just pretty good around the greens with my eight-iron,” said Wirth, who won low net in 2010 as well. “I did actually have a couple of three-putts, but I had a lot of one-putts and a chip-in as well.”
“I think it’s one of the most fun tournaments of the year, for sure,” he added. “It’s a good atmosphere, a good group of people and it’s fun trying to play all these different, unique shots with just one club.”
Current Yukon champ Landon Kulych hit an 85, taking third for a second year in a row. Nathan Menard claimed fourth with an 86.
Mountain View club pro and 2010 champ Jeff Wiggins notched an 87 for fifth.
“The tournament was another success and it’s a tournament I look forward to every year for both the challenge of playing with one club and the social aspect,” said Wiggins, who went seven-iron this year.
“I have received international emails with questions with how we run it, what the rules are. It seems to be one of the few events that actually uses just one club. Many of the other events held internationally use one club and a putter. We don’t.”
A total of 36 golfers took part in this year’s invitational, posting an average gross score of 96 – the lowest in the tournament’s history. The previous low was 99 set last year.
The tournament has more or less been capped at 36 players with Yukon champs and past one-clubbers guaranteed an invite. If that doesn’t include you, you may have a tough time getting in. Bribery might work…
“We got up over 45 (players) at one time and it just got too big,” said organizer Patrick Michael, one of the tournament founders. “Today we had 36 players – nine foursomes. We can sometimes fit a couple more in, do a couple fivesomes, but we don’t want it to grow too big because it’s a social event.”
Defending champ Istchenko, who is now in second for most One Club wins at five, withdrew from this year’s tournament with a wrist injury.
Contact Tom Patrick at firstname.lastname@example.org