Wiggins wins One Club Wonder with trusty six iron

Just moments after raising the trophy and donning the winner’s Golden Cardigan, Jeff Wiggins was jumping into a golf cart to get in a few more holes before dark.

Just moments after raising the trophy and donning the winner’s Golden Cardigan, Jeff Wiggins was jumping into a golf cart to get in a few more holes before dark.

The 39-year-old just won his second title at the One Club Wonder Invitational and was already eager to get back on the course. He had time for just a few comments before speeding off.

“I’d like to thank Pat Michael for 2016 organization of the One Club Wonder. It’s great to be a multiple champion,” said Wiggins. “I just can’t express how much gratitude I have for this event and the integrity of it.”

Wiggins carded an 83 for the win at the 20th annual tournament on Saturday at Mountain View Golf Course. An 83 is by no means a stupendous score for the Mountain View club pro in a regular tournament, but it’s pretty freakin’ good in this one.

As the name indicates, golfers use only one club for their 18-hole round. They pull one from the bag and use it as driver, iron, wedge and putter.

Wiggins, who won the title in 2010 with an 81 and placed fifth last year with an 87, went with a six-iron this year.

“That’s the club I used in 2010 when I won the first time and I flipped back and forth between the eight, seven and six since then,” he said.

“With the wind coming from the south today the six-iron was the perfect club to choose. It got me to all the par fives in three (shots) and most of the par fours in two.”

Wiggins racked up eight pars, eight bogeys and a pair of double bogeys in his round for a three-stroke win.

With the title comes the trophy and the Golden Cardigan — the tournament’s answer to the Green Jacket of the Masters. Fashion be damned, the unsightly yellow cardigan is in itself a trophy.

“It fits quite well this year and I’m glad to have it a second time,” said Wiggins. “It was pretty clean golf today and 83 is a pretty good score to have.”

Whitehorse’s Mike McInroy placed second with an 86 and took in the award for fewest putts with 29.

Defending champ Blaine Tessier of Whitehorse took third with an 88. Tessier won his sixth One Club Wonder title last year, tying the tournament record of 77.

McInroy and Tessier each notched a birdie in their rounds. This year’s tourney only saw four in total, half as many as last year. Ron Stanyer and Russ Smoler knocked in birds as well.

While a six-iron worked wonders for Wiggins, a seven-iron did the trick for Skagway’s Lee Hartson. Playing his fourth One Club — but first using the seven — Hartson won low net with a 74, well under the average net score of 86.

“I got an invite four years ago and this is the highlight of my year to play the one-club tournament,” said Hartson.

“I know most of the guys and it’s just a good challenge, playing a whole round of golf with one club, doing everything with one club. And I seem to play better with one club than I do with 14 clubs.”

Hartson isn’t alone in feeling that way. The tournament is a season highlight for many Yukon golfers — the ones lucky enough to get an invite. It features a who’s who of Yukon golf. Past and present Yukon champions are guaranteed a spot and they rarely miss it. The field includes executives of the Yukon Golf Association and long-time members of the hosting Mountain View Golf Course in Whitehorse.

Tom O’Hara came all the way from Fort McMurray, Alta., to play. He had a sentimental reason to do so. O’Hara is the tournament founder, says organizer Patrick Michael, and was one of five of the original seven to play the first One Club in October of 1997 as the first snowfall of the season came down.

“I got invited back by Patrick Michael and I was pleased to come back and take part in the 20th annual,” said O’Hara.

“It’s great that someone like Patrick has built it to what it is today. It is the type of tournament that people want to be involved with because it’s a special and niche kind of tournament that people are proud to take part in.”

O’Hara lived in Whitehorse 17 years and moved away 15 years ago after winning the One Club title in 2000. He was a little farther down the leaderboard this time, hitting a 100 to tie for 15th in the field of 35.

“I think the biggest surprise is how far the course has been developed and how well the greens have progressed,” said O’Hara. “I’m very impressed with the shape of the course and it was great to be back.”

Contact Tom Patrick at tomp@yukon-news.com