JULY 18, 2018
RICHMOND, BC (PGA of British Columbia) – The Jack McLaughlin Memorial PGA of BC Pro-Junior Championship presented by COBRA PUMA Golf was established more than 25 years ago, named in honour of the longtime Head Professional at Shaughnessy Golf & Country Club.
Naturally, Shaughnessy was the host venue for the first two editions of the tournament, which features PGA of BC Professionals teaming up with junior golfers from their facility to compete against teams from across the province. But the event was last held at the prestigious Vancouver club all the way back in 1993.
That will change next week when the Pro-Junior Championship returns to Shaughnessy on Monday with a full field of 32 teams vying for this year’s title.
McLaughlin was one of Canada’s biggest advocates for junior golf until he passed away in 1991. The former PGA of BC President developed the Junior-Junior instruction program for youth aged 11 and under, which introduced thousands of Canadian youth to the sport. The Association’s Junior Golf Leader of the Year Award is also named in honour of McLaughlin at the provincial and national levels.
And considering how McLaughlin’s influence is still felt at Shaughnessy today, host Head Professional Alan Palmer said it’s exciting to have a tournament honouring one of his club’s key figures return to the place it was first held.
“It’s fun when we can welcome this tournament back and revive Jack’s legacy here at the club,” said Palmer. “At our Men’s Night, when I mentioned the other day to our members that we’re hosting this great event with Jack’s name tied to it, people in the room perked up and said, ‘That’s great.’
“He was known for being a great junior leader, but also a great retailer and a people person … He was that all-encompassing Professional.”
The Pro-Junior Championship is an 18-hole, two-net best-ball event, a fun format that allows players of all ages and ability levels to contribute to their team’s success, regardless of the amount of tournament experience they may have.
Most of the 90-plus girls and boys who will compete in next week’s event won’t have previously had the opportunity to visit Shaughnessy, a four-time host of the Canadian Open, so Palmer said the club will ensure it’s a memorable visit for all of them.
“We’re going to treat them to a PGA Tour-type experience,” he said. “Some of the kids may have watched the Canadian Open on TV in 2011 (when it was last at Shaughnessy), so I think it’s cool letting them know that this was where the Canadian Open was played, and we’ll probably have some Canadian Open pin placements out there – not necessarily the toughest ones, but I think that’ll be another cool thing to treat them to, that this is set up just like a Canadian Open.
“We’ll certainly make it special and hopefully people take an opportunity to walk around the clubhouse so they can see some of the history. Sharing the place with everyone is going to be fun.”
Not only is Shaughnessy this year’s host, it’s also the event’s defending champion. At the 2017 tournament held at Rivershore Golf Links in Kamloops, Shaughnessy Professional Branden Stewart and his junior trio of Jake Gaglardi, Hannah Wang and Luke Parolin secured a one-stroke victory over Cranbrook Golf Club’s team with a 15-under-par total. Stewart will be leading one of three Shaughnessy entries in the tournament on Monday, with Gaglardi re-joining his team.
Stewart said the club’s juniors are excited to hold home-course advantage this year, which might be worth a little extra at Shaughnessy compared to some venues.
“Our golf course has the least amount of room for error,” said Stewart. “Some golf courses you don’t need to think too much about where you’re missing shots, but at Shaughnessy there’s a premium on missing it in the right area.”
Although the 31-year-old said winning was a nice bonus for his team in 2017, it’s not necessarily the top priority at the Pro-Junior Championship.
“It’s fun for the kids,” he said. “I think they get excited to play in a team atmosphere. You’ll see a lot of laughs out there. When the kids are on a team, there’s a little less pressure and the camaraderie of that makes it a little different than signing up for an event by themselves.”
Beyond the team competition, the event does have a purse for Professionals that is divided up based upon the number of birdies and eagles made. But it’s the juniors in particular who will be treated to some great tee gifts and an outstanding prize table, including a number of awesome COBRA PUMA Golf items.
“The pros are pretty happy to take a backseat to the kids for this event,” said Stewart.
Monday’s tournament will be an 8:30 a.m. shotgun. Click here to access the tournament page and see full event details.
PRO-JUNIOR CHAMPIONSHIP FAST FACTS
- With a win last year, Shaughnessy became the fourth facility to win this event twice, joining Mayfair Lakes Golf & Country Club, Seymour Golf & Country Club and Morgan Creek Golf Course. No PGA of BC facility has won the event more than twice.
- Summerland Golf & Country Club is the only other facility to have hosted the Pro-Junior Championship three times.
- No Professional has ever led a team to victory multiple times, but several playing on Monday will have a chance to break through for a second win. In addition to Stewart, past Professional champions in the field next week include Shaughnessy’s Tim Wilson (2015 winner for Morgan Creek), Seymour’s Colin Lavers (2012 winner), The Vancouver Golf Club’s Mike Heenan (2010 winner) and Kelowna Golf & Country Club’s Jamie Stevens (2008 winner for Nicklaus North Golf Course).
- Heenan is among Professionals in the field who also competed in this event as a junior. Others like Jared Siminoff (Point Grey Golf & Country Club) and Luke Bogdan (Ledgeview Golf Club) also participated as kids and will be playing the event as Professionals this year.
For more information or media inquiries, please contact:
Communications & Marketing Manager, PGA of BC