Yukon golfers hit the greens in PEI

At the end of the movie Tin Cup, Kevin Costner's character loses but is celebrated for his amazing final shot, which others tell him will be remembered more than who won the tournament.

Brudenell Golf Club, ROSENEATH, PEI

At the end of the movie Tin Cup, Kevin Costner’s character loses but is celebrated for his amazing final shot, which others tell him will be remembered more than who won the tournament.

It’s sort of the same story for the Yukon’s three golfers at the Canada Summer Games last week in PEI.

Yukon’s Ian Wintemute, Ricky Schmok and Scott Meredith all had their moments of greatness, but in the end finished at the bottom of the leaders’ board and none advanced into the individual section of the tournament held at Brudenell Golf Club on the east coast.

“Their golf was good; their scores were a little bit higher than what they shoot at home, which was to be expected,” said Yukon coach Jeff Wiggins. “We were one of the few teams that didn’t play the course before. The rest of the teams could get out there – bigger associations, bigger budgets. That was a huge disadvantage for us.

“Yes, we finished at the back of the pack, but I’m proud of them.”

Schmok procured consecutive birdies on the first day, with a 45-footer on hole-10 and a 25-footer on hole-11, but he reached “celeb-status” in the tournament because of a bogey on hole-10 in the second round.

Driving into the wind, Schmok pulled his shot where few Yukoner balls go, the ocean. With the ball half submerged in water in the drain-off creek, Schmok decided against the drop and went for it, using a wedge to just catch the lip of a bunker next to the green. Schmok’s ball rolled back into the bunker, but he managed to chip on within inches of the hole.

“I told him, ‘You have lots of room behind the green, so if you hit down hard on the ball and it goes over it’s still an opportunity for an up-and-down bogey,’” said Wiggins. “That was an intimidating golf shot – probably one of the most intimidating golf shots you could ever have.

“A lot of double bogeys were made on that hole.”

Meredith’s claim to fame came with a birdie on hole-six. The Whitehorse resident pulled his tee-shot left into long grass, but after hitting a safety shot out he used his three-wood off the fairway to drive the ball 218 yards to within eight inches of the hole.

“It was tour quality,” said Wiggins. “I have not seen a shot lie like that in probably two or three years. I know he’ll remember that hole for a long time.”

Both Wintemute and Meredith had a warmup to the pressures they would be facing on the Brudenell Golf Course. In Whitehorse, the weekend prior to the start of golf at the Games, the two went to a playoff in the junior segment of Mountain View Golf Club’s championships with Wintemute eventually taking the title.

“I think they were more nervous over the playoff back home than they were teeing it up at a national event,” said Wiggins. “I remember talking to Scott and saying, ‘This playoff will be good; the nerve you have here will be somewhat similar to what you’ll have at the Canada Games.’ So I think it helped.”

As great as Meredith’s shot may be, he didn’t have the memorable one-liner Schmok had after striking up a club-full of saltwater into the headwind during his bogey from the ocean’s edge.

“I think I got a mussel in my mouth,” he said.

“They got to know the other guys and a lot of the other teams got to know that this is the first time the Yukon boys had competed in a national event,” said Wiggins. “At the end of the week we were asking if we’re going to be at next year’s nationals and competing on a more national stage, because the boys had fun and a lot of relationships were built, which is the important part of the Summer Games.”

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