After playing 36 holes in one day, two visiting pros had to do one more to settle things.
Tied for first place, Calgary’s Kent Fukushima and Edmonton’s Chris Toth played the first playoff in the history of the Skookum Asphalt Charity Pro-Am Golf Tournament, held July 15 at Whitehorse’s Mountain View Golf Course.
With second and third place finishes in past years, Fukushima captured his first Skookum title and a gold nugget worth about $500.
“It was nice to pull it off under that kind of pressure and finally win the gold,” said Fukushima. “I don’t know how many times I’ve played it, but I would say five times. I’ve had chances and just never got it done. Today it worked out and I pulled it off.”
Fukushima, 46, carded a 72 in the morning and a 70 in the afternoon to force the playoff.
Toth, who won the pro-am the last four years — a freakish win streak in the golf world — finished the opening round three strokes up from Fukushima.
“Chris plays so well here and was leading by three after the first round,” said Fukushima. “I was out to lunch half the first round and I kind of survived, I made seven birdies and finished at even par. It was one of those rounds — bogey, birdie, bogey, birdie, double. But I survived to hang in there.
“The second round was solid — two under.”
The playoff was held on Mountain View’s Par 5 hole 10. Toth’s tee shot went a little left and into the trees, forcing him to chip out. Fukushima hammered a perfect tee shot and put his second on the green, 15 feet from the pin for an eagle putt.
“So now he’s really behind the 8-ball because he has to hit a perfect shot,” said Fukushima.
Toth’s third shot put him on the green but he rolled his first putt past the hole. Fukushima two-putted for a birdie and the win.
“It’s great to come up to Whitehorse. I love this golf course and we have a great group of guys to play with here,” said Fukushima.
Though it was the first time the pro-am was decided in a playoff, it wasn’t the first time two pros tied for first after 36. Kelowna pros Ethan Danish and Laurie Pierce tied for first in 2012 and a count-back system decided the winner since weather was crummy.
North Vancouver’s Cory Draper placed third on Saturday, three strokes back of Fukushima and Toth.
On the amateur side of things, Draper’s afternoon team of Derek Baldwin, Sheldon King and former Yukon champ Blaine Tessier placed first.
Graham Irving, Jeff Hunter, and three-time Yukon champ Landon Kulych, who played with Fukushima in the morning, placed second.
Eighteen professionals, including Mountain View’s Jeff Wiggins, took part in the event that raised money for the Yukon Hospital Foundation.
Early estimates put the money raised at over $50,000, bringing the total raised over the tournament’s eight years to about $475,000.
“With the funds raised at the pro-am last Saturday night we have reached our one-year goal to raise $600,000 to purchase a new fluoroscopy machine for Whitehorse General Hospital,” said foundation president Karen Forward in an email to the News.
“This is the only machine in the territory and will provide fluoroscopy tests to over 400 Yukoners as well as an additional 300 static X-rays, as this machine can do motion video and general X-rays. There are many advantages to this new equipment — but a major improvement is that patients will receive much lower dose radiation and these new tests are completely digital.”
Contact Tom Patrick at firstname.lastname@example.org