Top local golfers swing into action
By CHRIS STEVENSON -- Ottawa Sun
This is the big week.
The summer's competitive golf schedule peaks in the next seven days as our area's top players do battle on both the national stage and close to home.
Rideau View's Lee Curry and Stephen Fritsch, and Royal Ottawa's Jeremiah Shields will be off to the Canadian amateur championship at the Shaughnessy Golf and Country Club in Vancouver for the competition Tuesday through Sunday (two rounds of qualifying stroke play will be followed by match play).
Curry is a member of Quebec's Willingdon Cup squad that will compete in the provincial team championship, which is staged over the first two rounds of the tournament.
For those wishing to stay current with the developments of our local golfers, the Royal Canadian Golf Association now has live scoring at www.rcga.org.
Rivermead's Ashley Bickerton, meanwhile, who lost in a playoff at the Canadian junior women's championship Thursday at Royal Quebec, will be competing in the Canadian women's amateur at Le Blainvillier, just north of Montreal.
On the junior front, Ottawa's Mark Coldham, coming off a runner-up finish at Tuesday's OVGA junior field day at Metcalfe, is off to the PING Canadian junior match-play championship, along with Ryan Sevigny of Stittsville and Kanata's Zhou Mengfei. They'll compete in the boys' 14-16 division at Horseshoe Valley in Barrie. Wendell Touhey will compete in the 17-18 division.
Many of the rest of the region's top players will be participating in the city and district championship, with the first two rounds being held at Greensmere Monday and Tuesday, and the third and final round at Rivermead Wednesday.
The tournament has been oversubscribed by 70 players.
The Hunt Club's Peter Harrison is the defending champion. He defeated Arnprior's Kevin Mulvhill by two strokes last year.
HEAR AND THERE: In addition to the city and district championship next week, the junior intersectionals will be held Thursday at various clubs. The kids from Tecumseh are the defending champs ... If you believe in trends, next week's winner of the PGA Championship at Oak Hill in Rochester, N.Y., will win his first major. Twelve of the last 15 PGA Championship winners made that victory their first major. The first three majors this year have all gone to first-time majors winners (Mike Weir, Jim Furyk and Ben Curtis). The last time all four Grand Slam events were won by first-time majors winners was 1969.
CHIP SHOTS: With two events to go, Weir stands third on the list of qualifiers for the Presidents Cup. The competition, which follows a format like the Ryder Cup, pits America's best against the rest of the world, apart from Europe. Ernie Els and Vijay Singh are ahead of Weir in the standings. The competition takes place in November in South Africa ... Driving will be a priority at Oak Hill next week, so don't discount Tiger Woods' chances. His driving has been his weakness lately, but it took a turn for the better with a switch back to his Titleist 975D last week. He used it for more than three years and won five majors with it.
FROM THE FRINGE: The annual Serge Giroux Golf Dream Classic, held Tuesday at Rivermead, was another success on many fronts. This year's recipients of a trip to Florida in October to see Woods and visit Disney World are Kate DeGrace, 16, of Lombardy, and Steven Fricker, 16, of Ottawa. Both kids were at the tournament and were inspirations. DeGrace is in remission in her battle against leukemia while Fricker was diagnosed with Hodgkin's disease in January. The money raised at the tourney -- which included a $9,000 donation from Tony House from the House-Rautins charity tourney -- will allow the kids and their families to make the dream trip.
19TH HOLE: Woods needs a win next week in Rochester to join Walter Hagen as the only players to have won at least one major five years in a row. Woods is the only guy who could play in 12 tournaments, win four of them, finish in the top five in four others and have people calling it a bad year. A win next week could "save" his season ... The best line I heard to describe the late Bob Hope and his remarkable relationship with golf was this one, which is on his plaque at the World Golf Hall of Fame: "He was not a golf champion, but a champion of golf."