The team from Shaughnessy Golf & Country Club led by Professional Branden Stewart captured the Jack McLaughlin Memorial PGA of BC Pro-Junior Championship presented by PING, held Monday at Rivershore Golf Links.
The Pro-Junior Championship featured teams of one Professional and three juniors from their facility competing against other squads in 18 holes of two-net best-ball play, a format that allows players of all ability levels to contribute to their team’s success.
Stewart and his trio of junior teammates – Jake Gaglardi, Hannah Wang and Luke Parolin – combined for a 15-under-par total to take top spot in the event.
“We had a fun day out there,” said Stewart. “There was a lot of encouraging going on, especially from Jake. I thought he really worked hard out there to make sure everyone was comfortable before their shots, so I would say Jake was the MVP today for our team.”
Each junior member of the winning team took home the top prize – a PING G Driver. The triumph was the second in the past five years by a team from Shaughnessy, which also had a team led by Head Professional Alan Palmer win the tournament in 2013.
The team from Cranbrook Golf Club comprised of Head Professional Paul Wittingham and juniors Jonace Johnson, Aaron Grist and Kaelen Whittingham finished second at 14-under. Seymour Golf & Country Club’s team of Professional Colin Lavers, Bryan Lee, Niklas Jaakkola and Manu Gandhi recorded a score of 13-under to place third.
Professionals in the field Monday also competed for a $2,000 prize purse that was split evenly for each birdie and eagle on their card, with eagles counting for double the amount. Salmon Arm Golf Club Head Professional Jesse Crowe had the biggest payday, making six birdies and an eagle during his round to earn nearly $400.
The tournament is named in memory of Jack McLaughlin, who 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.
Stewart said his club’s connection to McLaughlin made Monday’s victory extra special for his team.
“These guys are going to be able to back and say to all the members and say they took part in the Jack McLaughlin (Memorial) and took one home for Shaughnessy,” he said.