Graham Baillargeon may only be 14 years old, but the Mississauga golfer was hardly in awe as he stepped onto the fabled St. Andrews Golf Course in Scotland.
Baillargeon was one of 15 teenaged golfers representing Canada at the World Junior Cup last week against some of the top young stars from the United States in a three-day Ryder Cup format.
Not only did the Canadian team (pictured above) win for the first time in seven years (16-11 on points), it should bring the spotlight onto the many up-and-coming teenaged golfers.
\"To beat the U.S. is really special,\" said Baillargeon, who is ranked third in his age group by the Canadian Junior Golf Association. \"I don\'t get nervous before I play. I don\'t lose my temper when I play, I just go out and have fun.\"
As the final group was walking up the 18th hole, the rest of the Canadian players grabbed a huge Canadian flag and carried it down the fairway to celebrate the victory.
\"This is a tremendous feat. Canada hasn\'t won an awful lot on the international scene,\" CJGA executive director Earl Fritz said. \"This is a great accomplishment for the kids and they really came together as a team. There were a lot of good players here.\"
Besides Baillargeon, the GTA was represented by only two other golfers -- Stephanie Simich, 13, of Mississauga (see profile, page 3) and Brampton\'s Stephen Hiscox.
\"To play at the home of golf was very special,\" said Hiscox, 18, who won all three of his matches. \"To be a part of the first group to beat the Americans shows what we\'re capable of doing.\"
With 1,200 young members competing in CJGA tournaments across the country, Fritz feels it\'s only a matter of time before there are more Canadians reaching the level already attained by such PGA stars as Masters champion Mike Weir.
\"I think you\'ll see a lot more Canadians on the leaderboard in about five-10 years than ever before,\" Fritz said. \"The associations have done a great job in improving the opportunities for young golfers.\"