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Wednesday, June 19, 2024
PHOTO GALLERY: NOTL club crowns new champions after dramatic finale



Men's final goes down to the last putt.

Henry wins her second women's title


The Niagara-on-the-Lake Golf Club crowned two new club champions Sunday as the men battled down to the last putt and the women's champ fended off challenges from all comers to claim their titles.

James Grigjanis-Meusel, 26, sank a four-foot putt for par on the 18th hole on the final day of the tournament to edge defending champ Joe Doria by one shot.

Yolanda Henry, second by one shot to last year's champion Louise Robitaille after the opening round Saturday, finished five shots ahead of Ginny Green. Robitaille was third.

The big drama came in the men's final few holes. After several lead changes early in the round, Grigjanis-Meusel and Doria were tied after 15 holes. That's when Doria made a rare mistake.

Hitting a 56-degree wedge from a downhill, sidehill lie 92 yards from the pin, he sailed his second shot hard and low. It bounced on the top tier of the small, unforgiving green and rolled over the back edge toward Lake Ontario – and out of bounds.

With a two-stroke penalty, he finished with a double-bogey six. Grigjanis-Meusel narrowly missed a birdie putt from the fringe but went up two shots.

On the next hole, Doria missed a short par putt that would have got him back to within a shot headed to the long par-3 closing hole.

Hitting first, Grigjanis-Meusel, junior champ in 2010, sent his tee shot to the back left corner of the 18th green, about 65 feet past the hole. Doria stopped his tee shot about 15 feet beyond the pin, setting up a birdie opportunity.

Unfazed, Grigjanis-Meusel confidently rolled his mammoth putt to within about four feet. Doria nailed his birdie, the first time he has ever recorded a two on the 18th, he said later.

That meant Grigjanis-Meusel had to sink his tricky downhill par putt to avoid a playoff and secure the win with a two-day total of 149.

Admitting afterward he was a "little nervous" standing over his final putt, he made no mistake. "Putting practice the night before was the key" to his win, he told The Lake Report.

"It feels good winning the open flight. I've always wanted to get my name on the big board" inside the clubhouse where all club champs are featured. "And it's nice that it happened to be 10 years after my junior win."

Doria said he and Grigjanis-Meusel were rooting each other on during the final round.  "It was a good battle with a good friend. I hated losing but if I was going to lose, I’d want it to be to James," he said. "It was a hard-fought battle and he is deserving of it. I'm proud of him."

As for that second shot on 17, it is memorable. "It's my first lost ball at NOTL Golf Club. Ever," Doria said.

For Henry, always one of the top women's golfers at the NOTL club, her win capped a stellar weekend of play, shooting 86 Saturday and closing with an 80. 

"It still seems surreal and it’s taking time to sink in," she said Tuesday.

"I started off on Saturday a bit shaky, taking a seven, a triple bogey on the first hole. It took me a while to settle down and regain focus," she said.

"I had more confidence after a much better start on Sunday and played more consistently with a 38 on the front 9, which included two birdies and 42 on the back 9."

She's taking a few days off now and enjoying a visit with her grandson Vaughan, who has been attending golf camp at the club.

It is Henry's second "open" championship title, winning previously in 2016. For the past three years she was senior women's champ.

This year, Green (171) took home the women's senior title and Martha Cruikshank (178), another former club champ, was the super senior cup winner.

On the men's side, Jim McMacken (153), who finished only four shots behind Grigjanis-Meusel, won the senior title for the second time. Peter Falconer (163) put on a fine putting display and was the super senior champ.

In the women's competition, Cathy Murray (183) won A flight, Patty Garriock (190) took B and Andrea Douglas (207) won C.

Jon Taylor (156) was men's A flight winner, Kevin MacLean (165) won the B flight and Ron Planche (173) took C. That title was settled in a one-hole playoff, with Planche edging Jim Sifton and Rai Lauge. Johnson Hu (189) won the D flight championship by one shot over Butch Rive.

With the COVID-19 pandemic, the NOTL club has a booming junior program this year. Ella Carrique was crowned the girls junior champ (under 19) and Keira Dexter won the bantam girls (under 15) title.

Bruce DeLuca was junior boys champ and Jaden Patterson took the juvenile boys (under 17) title. Brandon Falk won bantam boys and Jeff Carrique was named boys under 13 winner.

MEN'S LEAGUE: In men's Thursday league action leading up to the championship weekend, Grigjanis-Meusel showed he was ready, shooting an impressive 3-under 33 to win top gross score.

Tom Elltoft, Greg Fedoryn and Robert Haylor tied for first in modified Stableford scoring, netting 22 points each. Ken Hunter and Ian Rutherford followed with 21 points.

Net skins worth $60 went to Doug McCulloch (#2), Arthur Wosinksi (#3) and Rob Chubey (#8). Gross skins, worth $40, were won by Don Cruikshank (#4) and Kevin MacLean (#5).

* New club champ James Grigjanis-Meusel was profiled in a story a year ago when he was working in St. Andrews, Scotland. Read it here: https://www.niagaranow.com/news.phtml/2497-memorable-summer-for-notl-native-in-scotland

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