The players in the sun were cooking, but Mountain View Golf Club’s course record was not feeling the heat at the second annual Skookum Asphalt Charity Pro-Am on Saturday.
Although there were 18 professionals, including two Canadian Tour players, teeing off with 138 amateurs, not one player came within five strokes of the course record of 65, set at last year’s inaugural pro-am.
“It was tough to score,” said first place finisher Mike Haraguchi. “They had some tough pin placements – they challenged us.”
Haraguchi, a former Canadian Tour player who is now the club pro at the Capilano Golf and Country Club in West Vancouver, took first with a combined two-round score of 147, just one stroke up from second place finisher Kent Fukushima.
In his first time in the Yukon, Haraguchi hit a 71 – the tourney’s top score – and a 76 in the afternoon. Haraguchi, who last played on the Canadian Tour in 2003, won the BC PGA Championship in 2005.
“The tournament was outstanding; it was very professionally run and all the players had a great time,” said Haraguchi of the pro-am. “The course was good, but it was tough though. The greens were really hard and firm, so it was hard to control your ball coming in. It played tough and the scores showed it, other than that, the course was great.
“As long as they want me, I’ll be back for sure,” he added. “I had a great time and it was a great tournament.”
Fukushima, who currently plays on the Canadian Tour, hit back-to-back 74s to finish in second for the second straight year. Fukushima, a two-time Saskatchewan Amateur Champion, was just two strokes up from third place players Chris Toth and Kris Wasylowich, the other Canadian Tour player at the pro-am, who hit a 67 at last year’s tournament.
“It was challenging,” said Fukushima. “If you hit it straight you’re alright. I had to chip out a lot.
“It was just one of those tournaments where the breaks didn’t go my way, but I didn’t do much to help myself. When I needed a good shot it didn’t (happen), when I needed a putt to go in, it didn’t.
“It’s a good course for me because I’m a straight hitter, but I didn’t hit it as straight as normal.”
Though Fukushima came up a couple strokes short in the pro portion of the tournament, his amateur teams took two of the top three spots. (Each pro played two rounds with either three or four amateurs, and the teams, including to the pro’s score, were ranked using a complex scoring system.)
Fukushima’s team of Mitch Malchow, Mike Palamar and Dan Hogberg took first in the team competition. In second was Wasylowich with amateurs Glenn Ford, Tony Hill, Paul Lackowicz and Dave Ecker. Placing third was Fukushima’s other team of Chris Graham, Darrel Stone, Louis Gabanna and Ken Day.
“I had a great couple of groups,” said Fukushima. “Our job isn’t to just go out, play with the guys and have a good time. We also give them a few tips and help them with their game – to guide them around and show them some stuff. So that’s what I focus on, as well as trying to compete.”
Though only the seven amateurs that played with him could benefit from his tips, Fukushima took the time to potentially help out every Whitehorse golfer.
While in town Fukushima mapped both Whitehorse courses with SkiCaddie, a GPS system that informs golfers of their distance to greens and hazards.
“I’m coming up here anyway, so I might as well map the courses, get it on there,” said Fukushima. “It’s good for the members who play – they’ll know where to go. It’s a fun gadget.”
Both Mountain View and Meadow Lakes will be on the SkiCaddie database by the end of the week.
This pro-am tourney raised $90,000 for the Yukon Hospital Foundation to purchase a Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) machine for Whitehorse General Hospital.
Contact Tom Patrick at email@example.com