Special to The Lake Report
Months after it was supposed to be played, the 2021 Champion of Champions tournament was hosted this past Saturday at Grand Niagara Golf Club in Port Robinson.
Host professional Bob Culig and course superintendent John Taylor had the course in fine shape and provided a great day for all competitors.
The day was played under sunny skies, but the course was still a little bit wet, which made it play much longer and tougher than the scorecard would show.
The Niagara-on-the-Lake Golf Club was well represented as five players competed in the prestigious event. NOTL had players in all divisions except the junior girls competition.
NOTL junior winner Sam Walker played well in his Champion of Champions debut. He was one of the youngest players in the field and posted a solid 105, to claim 10th place. Caleb Shorthouse of Twenty Valley was the low junior boy with a score of 81.
In the senior ladies division, Martha Cruikshank filled in for Louise Robitaille. Despite a nagging shoulder injury, Cruikshank as always was proud to represent her club and did so with a round of 102 and a 10th place finish.
Sara-Anne Smurlick of Freedom Oaks took the title after a two-hole playoff with Theresa Holmes of Niagara National. Both both posted scores of 84 over 18 holes.
NOTL seniors champ Jim Panetta, a former Grand Niagara member, had his sights set high entering play. He posted a round of 86 and wound up 10 shots behind Rockway's Derek Divok, good for 13th place.
In one of the most competitive fields, the women's open category saw some great golf with Rockway's Kennedy Bodfield posting a strong round of 78 to take the title. NOTL's Yolanda Henry had a solid day, with a round of 99 to claim 10th spot.
James Grigjanis-Meusel, the NOTL men's open champion, did not play up to his full potential on this day. The long, wet course did not favour his high-fade ball flight.
He also finished 10th, with an 87. He was 10 shots behind David Toulouse, the 2021 Champion of Champions winner from the host club Grand Niagara.
Billy Simkin, the longtime former pro at the NOTL Golf Club, is now head teaching professional at Peninsula Lakes Golf Club in Fenwick.