JULY 21, 2017
RICHMOND, BC (PGA of British Columbia) -- Dozens of junior golfers from across the province will be teaming up to play with a Professional when the Jack McLaughlin Memorial PGA of BC Pro-Junior Championship presented by PING arrives at Rivershore Golf Links on Monday.
The Kamloops course will be hosting this long-running event for the first time and should serve as an outstanding venue for what’s become an annual favourite for Pros and juniors alike.
PGA of BC Competition Advisor and Rules Official Jack Croucher is also a junior golf leader at Rivershore Golf Links. As big supporters of junior golf, the ownership, management and staff at Rivershore are thrilled to be welcoming the Pro-Junior Championship to their course and community, said Croucher.
“General Manager and Head Professional Kerry Ward is directly involved with junior golf not only at Rivershore but also the Kamloops region,” he said. “All of us at Rivershore are very excited to host this event, especially with the history of Jack McLaughlin attached.
“It takes a lot of commitment and dedication to develop junior golf, and both the PGA of BC and PING have always been there.”
The tournament will feature teams of one Professional and three juniors from their facility competing against other squads in 18 holes of two-net best-ball play. It’s a format that allows players of all ability levels to contribute to their team’s success.
Although this fun competition takes place over a single day, the impact it can have on those young players is long-lasting, according to Shaughnessy Golf & Country Club’s Tim Wilson.
“I played in a Pro-Junior in Ontario growing up as a kid, and it was the best trip I’d ever been on,” said Wilson, who will lead one of two Shaughnessy entries in Monday’s tournament. “I know how much it meant to me when I was young.
“It creates instant friendships … and it’s cool to watch a Pro play golf. When I was younger, it inspired me to want to continue to get better and hit a golf ball like (a Pro),” Wilson continued.
“I think it’s always kind of nice to bring some of the kids that are 15-plus handicaps that maybe don’t play a lot of tournament golf, but are playing a lot at the club and are getting better. A lot of the kids who have played this event have said, ‘You know what? Tournament golf is a lot of fun.’”
No Professional has ever led a team to victory in this event more than once, but Wilson has come as close as anyone. During his days at Morgan Creek Golf Course, he was part of a winning team in 2015 and was a runner-up twice. One of those second-place results came last year, when his team was among four tied for first at 18-under-par but lost out to Ryan Worrall’s Morgan Creek entry by retrogression.
“I just try to get the kids to have fun and not worry about the score,” Wilson said of the strategy that’s helped his teams be successful in the Pro-Junior. “They seem to play best when they don’t overthink the shots they have to hit.”
In 2016, Morgan Creek became the first facility to win the event in back-to-back years. Scott Rodgers will be heading up the Morgan Creek crew gunning for a three-peat on Monday.
Click here to view full tournament information.
Pro-Junior Fast Facts:
- The tournament’s namesake, Jack McLaughlin (pictured), was the longtime Head Professional at Shaughnessy and 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.
- With its repeat victory in 2016, Morgan Creek joined Seymour Golf & Country Club, Mayfair Lakes Golf Club and Westwood Plateau Golf Academy as the only facilities to win the event twice since the inaugural tournament in 1992.
- Notable players who have competed in this tournament as juniors include past BC Men’s Amateur champions Jared du Toit and Nolan Thoroughgood, as well as Golf Canada Development Team member AJ Ewart. A couple of others who have recently won the PGA of BC Tournament of Champions as amateurs – 2015 champ Erik Swinburnson (Victoria Golf Club) and 2016 winner Brandon Ortiz (Two Eagles Golf Course & Academy) – also competed in the Pro-Junior in their younger days.
- Many PGA of BC Professionals also played in in this event as a junior before pursuing their careers in the golf industry. This is by no means an exhaustive list, but past junior players who later became Golf Professionals in our Association include Mike Heenan (Vancouver Golf Club) and Nathan Grieve (Salmon Arm Golf Club) – they’ll both leading teams as Professionals on Monday – as well as Brady Stead (Royal Colwood Golf Club), Jared Siminoff (Shaughnessy), Luke Bogdan (Ledgeview Golf & Country Club), Kyle McMurphy (Eaglequest Golf Centre at Coquitlam), Kylie Frederick (The Falls Golf & Country Club) and Cailean Hourigan (Bear Mountain Golf Resort).
For more information, please contact:
Communications & Marketing Manager, PGA of BC
On-site contact number at event: (778) 995-3331