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12.5 C
Niagara-on-the-Lake
Wednesday, September 28, 2022
Sports: New golf champs crowned in sweltering weekend tourney
After back-to-back scores of 80, Jon Taylor was presented with the senior men's trophy by pro Keith Vant.
Cathy Murray plays from the rough behind the 16th green on Sunday.
Defending champ Yolanda Henry putts on the final hole. Ginny Taylor and eventual champion Louise Robitaille look on.
Eventual seniors champion Martha Cruikshank, left, with competitors Diana Dimmer and Ginny Green on the first fairway.
Ginny Green rolls her putt toward the cup.
James Grigjanis-Meusel's tee shot on the 11th hole Sunday.
Jim Panetta lines up a putt.
Joe Doria putts on the 17th hole.
Joe Doria, men's open runner-up.
Larry Mantle blasts out of the sand from a green-side bunker on the third hole.
Larry Mantle sinks a short putt on the 14th hole on Sunday.
Maria Townley uses a bit of body English to try to coax her putt to drop.
Martha Cruikshank on the 16th green on Sunday.
Martha Cruikshank was crowned women's seniors champ by pro Keith Vant.
May Chang plays toward the second green during the women's first flight playoff.
Men's third flight winner Ron Planche with pro Keith Vant.
Playing partners Devon Neufeld, left, Joe Doria and James Grigjanis-Meusel congratulate new men's open champ Ricky Watson on the final hole.
Pro Keith Vant presents Jim Garrett with the men's second flight trophy.
Pro Keith Vant presents women's first flight trophy to May Chang, who won the title after a three-hole playoff.
Pro Keith Vant presents women's super senior winner Lisa Allen with her trophy.
Pro Keith Vant with Gary Stuggins, men's super senior champ, one of the few players to shoot a score the 70s all weekend.
Pro Keith Vant with men's first flight champ Rob Reimer.
Pro Keith Vant with women's second flight champ Marg Ketcheson.
Proud parents Suzanne and Todd Watson flank their son Ricky, who won the men's open title.
Ricky Watson is the new men's open champ.
Super seniors champ Lisa Allen putts on the 16th hole on Sunday.
Susan Gagne blasts out of the bunker during the women's first flight playoff.
Susan Gagne hits her approach shot during the playoff for women's first flight title.
The winning women – Lisa Allen, Louise Robitaille, May Chang, Marg Ketcheson and Martha Cruikshank.
Two-time defending open champ James Grigjanis-Meusel.
With club pro Keith Vant on hand, Susan Gagne congratulates May Chang on winning their playoff.
Women's open champ Louise Robitaille regained her title in a close match with defending champ Yolanda Henry.

There are some new names atop the champions list at the Niagara-on-the-Lake Golf Club after players literally sweated through two days of humid and steamy competition on the weekend.

Ricky Watson, the 32-year-old former associate pro at the club, regained his amateur status and played his way to the men’s open title.

And Louise Robitaille, a former women’s open champ, defied ongoing back injuries and rallied from five shots down after Saturday’s first round to eke out a one-shot victory over defending champion Yolanda Henry on the final hole.

With temperatures pushing 40C with the humidity and the greens finely tuned and running much faster than usual, competitors had their hands full.

Watson, a junior phenom who grew up playing at the club and then built a career as a club pro, was the most consistent shooter among the men, with a 77-76-153 total over the 36-hole tournament.

He edged out another former club champ, Joe Doria, by six shots. Defending champion James Grigjanis-Meusel,  recovering from illness, finished third, another two shots behind.

“It feels great to be club champion at NOTL,” Watson said afterward.

He had been in contention back in 2005 as a 15-year-old but perennial champ Mark Derbyshire won that year.

“I always hoped to someday have another shot at it, so when I left the golf business and got my amateur status back in the spring I marked the dates on my calendar for sure,” said Watson, who now works in real estate in NOTL.

“It was definitely a comfortable pairing on Sunday playing with James and Joe, as I play with them all the time. We even played in St. Andrews together last fall,” he said.

“The course played great, really firm and fast and made scoring difficult, especially on Sunday. It was really close going into the back 9.”

“I look forward to trying to defend next year and hopefully the three of us will be in contention again.”

The women’s side provided most of the weekend’s drama and the open came down to the last hole.

With Robitaille and Henry tied after 35 holes, the golf gods showed how unforgiving the game can be.

Short of the green off the tee, Henry made a brilliant second shot to within about six feet of the hole while Robitaille was still about 30 feet away near the back of the green.

Robitaille ended up with a bogey four but Henry, an excellent putter, missed twice and ended with a five.

The other excitement was in the women’s first flight division, with Susan Gagne and May Chang tied after 36 holes.

In a sudden-victory playoff, they were still knotted after two tense holes until Chang pulled out the win with a bogey after Gagne got into trouble in the sand.

Other winners crowned on the weekend included:

Jon Taylor as senior men’s champion, Martha Cruikshank (senior women’s division), and Gary Stuggins and Lisa Allen (super senior). Marg Ketcheson took the women’s second flight title.

On the men’s side, Rob Reimer won first flight, Jim Garrett took second flight and Ron Planche was third flight champion.

The Legends Cup (for players over 80) consists of two nine-hole outings played on consecutive Tuesdays prior to the championship weekend. This year’s legendary champ was Doug McCulloch.

First ace: The NOTL Golf Club had its first reported hole-in-one of the season on Friday, July 29, when visitor Josh Robinson aced the par-3 ninth hole. He used a 6 iron to hole it from 178 yards.