Driv­ing for gold

Boys’ host golf team is ready to take on prov­ince


Mitchell Bai­ley has just put his ap­proach shot for the sixth green at Pitcher’s Pond Golf Course in White­way three feet from the hole.

Bai­ley’s ball took a gen­er­ous bounce to­wards the hole and he fin­ished the round by tap­ping the ball in the hole.

The rest of his team­mates for the 2012 New­found­land and Labrador Sum­mer Games — Lo­gan An­der­son, Nick Hamil­ton and Zack Bennett — fol­low suit.

An­der­son’s lands in the rough to the left of the flag, Bennett is be­hind the hole while Hamil­ton hit a line drive to fin­ish near the green.

Each fin­ish the hole and move onto the next hole.

They are in the midst of a prac­tice round in prepa­ra­tion to rep­re­sent the host com­mu­ni­ties of Har­bour Grace and Car­bon­ear at the Games. It is but a small sam­ple size. “They can hit the ball,” said coach Jack Har­ring­ton when asked what might be the strong­est part of his ath­letes’ games.

While Har­ring­ton did not have the most to choose from, he is con­fi­dent in the abil­i­ties of his four golfers.

“They’re shoot­ing in the 40 and 50s, which isn’t bad,” he said. “If our boys go out and play, they’ll do well.”

Har­ring­ton did not have many ath­letes come out to the tryouts, but he is pleased with the group he’s as­sem­bled.

“They’re good kids to work with,” he said.

Three of the ath­letes are from the Har­bour Grace-Car­bon­ear, while Zack Bennett is from Bay Roberts.

Course fa­mil­iar­ity

One ad­van­tage the four­some will hold over their op­po­nents is a fa­mil­iar­ity with the nine holes at Pitcher’s Pond.

It can be seen as a chal­leng­ing course, with many holes fea­tur­ing a dog leg in ei­ther di­rec­tion, mak­ing tee shots chal­leng­ing when the dog’s leg is cou­pled with a nar­row fair­way as found on hole no.2.

All but two of the nine holes are less than a par 4.

With the four ath­letes rou­tinely prac­tic­ing in White­way, learn­ing ev­ery bend and dip to the course, will al­low them to bring out the best in their Games when com­pe­ti­tion time rolls around.

“They’ve been prac­tic­ing ev­ery week and they’ll be fa­mil­iar with the course,” said Har­ring­ton.

It is an ad­van­tage that will be surely needed when the heavey­weights from St. John’s and cen­tral come to town for the Games.

Blair Bursey of Gan­der could be con­sid­ered one of the favourites in the com­pe­ti­tion. He is a three time Gan­der La­batt’s Men’s Club Cham­pi­onship win­ner.

Bursey, along with western rep­re­sen­ta­tives Ryan Bur­ton, and Daniel Cluney and Avalon’s Drew Stone­house re­cently com­peted at the Cana­dian Ju­nior Boys Golf Cham­pi­onship in Bridgewater, Nova Sco­tia.

A frugal game

Har­ring­ton said golf could be a funny game at times. “It’s hard to pre­dict,” he said. One day a golfer can go out and shoot the lights out, and the next day is the ex­act op­po­site.

Adding to the un­pre­dictabil­ity of the game is the for­mat for the Games.

While it is an in­di­vid­ual sport, there is a team for­mat in place for the tour­na­ment.

Each team will take its three low­est scores over the two-day com­pe­ti­tion and tally them to­gether to de­cide who will be the tour­na­ment cham­pion.

Har­ring­ton said that if the team plays up to its skills things will be look­ing up for the squad.

“They’ll put on a re­spectable per­for­mance,” he said.


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