For the last five years the Ottawa Valley Golf Association (OVGA) has operated a Junior Development Team. It was created to recognize and support selected high performance junior players in the region towards their progression in competitive golf, supplementing the instruction they receive from their personal swing coaches. This program is based on player development principles of Golf Canada and Provincial Golf Associations, and includes on-course practice sessions, course management principles and Rules of Golf education in preparation for individual and team events in the coming golf season.
It has acted as a showcase for talented young golfers from the Ottawa Valley and the past participants have made their mark on tournament golf in the region, at the provincial level, and even nationally and internationally.
According to Jim Davidson, the Director for the OVGA for Player Development, the program is being expanded to involve more players in 2022. A total of 20 young golfers will be involved, eight more than in 2021.
“Much like Golf Canada having their National and Development Squads, we are going to try the two-team concept ourselves,” he shared with Flagstick.com. “The “OVGA Junior Development Team” will stay as before, focusing on practice rounds, course management, skills evaluation, physical and mental preparation and Rules education towards regional and provincial championships. The new “Team OVGA” will support those Juniors that have already demonstrated success at the provincial level and are striving to achieve goals at the National level and possibility collegiate/university scholarships. There will be opportunities for members of both teams to represent the OVGA in team events, as the Quebec inter-regional competition is a U16 event, and the Ontario Summer Games is a U19 event.”
For 2022 the younger OVGA Junior Development Team, will include:
- Hogan Blais (Camelot)
- Atlas Ibit (GreyHawk)
- Chase Jerome (Royal Ottawa)
- Rowan MacDonald (Royal Ottawa)
- Carter O’Brien (Prescott)
- Bode Stephen (Public Player, OVGA) (Cataraqui, Golf Ontario)
- Sophie Foulds (Royal Ottawa)
- Avery Nordman (Canadian)
- Shinyao Zhang (Rivermead)
For 2022 “Team OVGA” will include the following 11 players. Here is the roster. along with some highlights from their 2021 seasons:
- Lauren Gervais (Rideau View) – winner of the OVGA Junior City & District (U17) and top U17 in the OVGA Junior Cup
- Antonia Ho (Ottawa Hunt) – 2nd place finishes at OVGA C&D (U17) and match-play (U19), 2nd in OVGA order-of-merit (U17), top 10 on Golf Quebec overall girls rankings
- Isaiah Ibit (GreyHawk) – swept all OVGA championships in 2021 (U17), T3 in Golf Ontario U19 championship, 3rd on Golf Ontario U17 rankings, member of 2022 Team Ontario
- Ellis Kinnaird (Mississippi) – 8th place on Golf Quebec junior boys rankings, including a T6 in the Quebec Junior Boys
- Ashley Lafontaine (Royal Ottawa) – 2021 OVGA Junior Cup winner, won USGA Junior Girls qualifier, Golf Ontario women’s match-play runner up, 2nd on Golf Ontario U19 rankings, member of 2022 Team Ontario
- Jared Lipski (Kanata) – finished second overall in OVGA Junior Cup (U19)
- Carlee Meilleur (Public Player, OVGA) (Loyalist, Golf Ontario) – 2 OVGA wins (U15), T3 Golf Ontario U17 Championship, 2nd place in Golf Ontario Super Camp, 2nd on Golf Ontario U15 rankings
- James Newton (Royal Ottawa) – Won Golf Ontario U19 championship by 13 strokes (-16 total), 9th in Canadian Junior Boys, member of 2022 Team Canada Junior squad
- Maddy Pytura (Royal Ottawa) – 5th place in Golf Quebec Juniors Girls championship, 8th on Golf Quebec junior girls rankings
- Hudson Turcotte (Loch March) – first on OVGA junior order-of-merit (U19), with one win, a 2nd and two 3rd place finishes
- Yaorui Xu (Ottawa Hunt) – won a Golf Ontario U19 qualifier, 2nd at the 2021 Alexander of Tunis (lost in playoff), top 10 in Golf Quebec junior rankings
Returning as the Junior Team Coach for 2022 will be Derek MacDonald, a Class A PGA of Canada Professional and the Academy Director at The Royal Ottawa Golf Club. MacDonald was recognized as the 2020 PGA of Ottawa Junior Leader of the Year and the 2021 Teacher of the Year.
The entire team will begin off-season training shortly.