Preview: Flagstick.com Players Tour Spring Open – PGA Of Canada Ottawa Zone

Cataraqui G&CC, Hole #2, Photo: Scott MacLeod, FlagstickGolfPhotography.com)

The kick-off event to the 2018 Flagstick.com Players Tour for the PGA of Canada – Ottawa Zone is nearing. The Spring Open has long been a favourite event among the regional pros as it is a chance to see old friends, renew acquaintances, and test out the golf swing early in the year.

This season the tournament will head to a venue the zone has not enjoyed for some time, the esteemed Cataraqui Golf & Country Club in Kingston, Ontario.

Head Professional Malcolm Trickey told Flagstick Golf Magazine earlier this year that the club is delighted to be hosting the Spring Open.

“We’re honoured to have the pros coming to play our course. We just had our 100th anniversary and with all the work that has been on the course in recent years, I think they’ll enjoy it. It will be great to see our zone members at the club.”

As mentioned by Mr. Trickey, Cataraqui is coming off a significant anniversary. It was a year that also saw them host the Canadian Junior Boys’ Golf Championship.

The Course

While the Cataraqui Golf & Country Club was established in 1917, the golf course really blossomed under the direction of famed Canadian architect Stanley Thompson in the 1930’s during additional work. He created the structure that would make it among the top-rated courses in Canada, a place that would attract professional and amateur tournaments at an elite level.

In the last several years, enhancements by consulting architect Doug Carrick have brought the 6544-yard layout to another level.

Players will find a demanding par 70 course noted for having one of the best set of par fours in the country, each a stern and memorable test of a unique kind. The holes tumble in parallel to multiple limestone ridges that mark the property with each hole providing a distinct challenge for the golfer.

Play concludes dramatically as golfers are required to hit their tee shots towards the club’s signature tree, then play a precise approach to a well-protected and sloping green under the watchful eye of observers above on the club’s patio.

Flashback: 2017

The 2017 Spring Open was held on Monday, June 5th at the Pakenham Golf & Country Club in Pakenham, Ontario, northwest of Ottawa.

With his two under par score of 70 on the Island and Canyon nines, Graham Gunn from the Gunn Academy at White Sands took home the first-place cheque. He was followed closely by Rivermead Golf Club’s Bob Flaro who posted an even par round of 72.

Flagstick Golf Magazine caught up with the Flagstick.com Players Tour Spring Open winner and asked about his game.

“Everything was good”, replied Mr. Gunn. “I’ve been focusing on one swing thought and it was good and my speed control with the putter was good. I only missed one putt that I really should have made. I’ve been using AimPoint for the past six or seven years, I’m an AimPoint instructor and around here it made my putting easier. On the eighteenth-hole I AimPointed my chip and almost had my first Flaro of the year. That would have been good. Before today, I hadn’t played an eighteen-hole game this year. I’ve played four nines. It’s either been raining and if it’s not raining we’ve been busy at the academy.”

In the Senior Division of the Flagstick.com Players Tour Spring Open, Champlain’s Jean Pilon posted a 76 for the win followed closely by Golf O Max’s John Watson.

When asked about his game, Mr. Pilon replied – “This year being at Champlain and being my own boss, I’ve played seven rounds of golf already even with the bad weather we’ve been having. I felt comfortable out there and I made some good swings, missed a few short putts and with the exception of the double I took on the eleventh-hole, I wasn’t in much trouble. It felt good to be back playing tournament golf. I had a great time.”

2018

The 2018 PGA of Canada – Ottawa Zone Spring Open on the Flagstick.com Players’ Tour will take place on May 28th. As it has been some years since Cataraqui has held a Zone Tour event the field is expected to be a full one with multiple past champions in the field.

2014 Spring Open Champion Chris Barber is of special interest. The General Manager/Executive Professional from The Landings Golf & Teaching Centre grew up as a member of the course at Cataraqui. He might know its nuances better than anyone in the field, rivaling only the Head Professional, Malcolm Trickey. Trickey, a former touring professional, is among those competing. Also teeing it up will be Dale Pedersen, the Head Professional at the Garrison Golf & Curling Club, who is also a member at Cataraqui G&CC.

Flagstick Golf Magazine will provide a full follow-up report, both in the magazine and at Flagstick.com. There will also be digital coverage on our Twitter and Facebook pages.

Past Champions

1995 Marc Blais

1996 Francis Lambert

1997 Chris Learmonth

1998 Graham Gunn

1999 Bob Flaro

2000 Brian Vance

2001 Bob Flaro

2002 Graham Gunn

2003 Dan McNeely

2004 John Watson

2005 Mike Dagenais

2006 Roger Beale

2007 Joe Dubinski

2008 Jonathan Schaepper

2009 James Spernick

2010 Bill Keating

2011 Sean O’Malley

2012 Graham Gunn

2013 James Spernick

2014 Chris Barber

2015 Mike Dagenais

2016 Bill Minkhorst

2017 Graham Gunn