By Dale Cory
Golfing with your buddies is one thing. Playing the game with a title and prizes on the line can be something completely different.
The Ponoka Junior Open, the 25th and final stop on the McLennan Ross Sun Junior Golf Tour, was played at the Ponoka Community Golf Club Aug. 25 under a clear sky and a temperature nearing 30 degrees. Local golfers such as Austin Jacobsen and Davis Labrie were shooting for a decent showing on their home course, and more importantly, a spot in the 15th annual Tour Championship event.
When the clubs were back in the bag, both Jacobsen and Labrie had qualified to play in the final event at Wolf Creek Golf Resort.
Jacobsen came through with a 77 on the par 72 layout, good for second place in the boys born in 1994 and 1995 age group, and leaving him in a tie for 10th place overall, six shots behind the tournament winner, Travis Miller of Calgary.
“It went pretty well. I didn’t hit my driver very well, but I was putting and chipping really well, and my five wood was working,” said Jacobsen, a six handicapper whose best round at his home course is a 74. “I’ve enjoyed playing on the tour. I’ve won one of the four events I’ve been in, and came in third a couple of other times.”
Jacobsen admits he feels a little more pressure playing in a tour event.
“Yeah, a little bit. You have to keep the rules in mind all the time, and make sure you don’t pick up your ball. You just try to have fun out there.”
Davis Labrie certainly enjoyed his round. The Ponoka golfer qualified for the championship event after firing an 85. He took fourth place in the category for junior boys born in 1996 and later.
“My putting was pretty good, but my chipping and second shots were not that great,” admitted Labrie, who shot in the 90s when he played the event last year. “I was a little nervous before my round. Then, I started thinking about it as an everyday normal game, and went out and had fun. I was getting a little more nervous toward the end of the round because I was thinking about my score.”
In the end, Labrie’s score was good enough to allow him to qualify for the championship tournament at Wolf Creek.
While Davis, who is 14 and has been golfing since he was five years old, has only played in the Ponoka Junior Open the last two years, his intentions are to golf in many of the tour’s 25 events next year.
“Playing on the tour gives you an idea of the competition out there for your age,” says Labrie. “And it would be nice to win some money or prizes.”
Sounds like young Davis Labrie is already thinking like a pro. Although at his age, the pressure is not near as great.
“I play three or four rounds of golf a week,” added Labrie, whose top score on the Ponoka course is 80. “It’s nice just to hang out with your buddies and laugh.”
Labrie hopes to be in a celebratory mood after competing in the tour’s championship event at Wolf Creek.