To little surprise the official low mark for the Smuggler’s Glen Golf Club fell Thursday as the course was assaulted for round one of The Great Waterway Classic. Not all the damage was done to the course, however, as the scorecards and confidence of a few regional-based players participating in the event took a hit as well.
Daylight ran out for the field on Thursday and round one of the Canadian Tour event will be completed Friday morning but the top score for the day was already posted long before nightfall.
Canadian Tour veteran Jaime Gomez knocked in a long putt on his 18th hole of the day to establish a new course record of 63, four better than the old mark set prior to the tournament (a 67 by Chris Learmonth) and one better than the 64 tallied by his playing partner on the day, Dave Dragoo, who holed out about a minute or so before him.
Gomez, who got in to Gananoque late on Wednesday and was only able to walk nine holes of the course, playing it for the first time Thursday, said he relied heavily on the yardage book to plot his way around the course without any sort of real plan.
It seemed to work out.
He got off to a quick start on his front 9 (the back nine at Smuggler’s) and kept the momentum going all day long.
His final card showed nine birdies against just a single bogey, taken on the short par three, second hole.
Dragoo had to settle for second place among the players who had completed their first round. Mark Hoffman, Carlos Sainz, Jr. and Tyler Harris share third at 6 under a piece.
The story was not quite as rosy for the players from nearby confines. Although a few did impress.
As of this posting Robert Mustard of Brockville was the best of the bunch at one under par through nine holes. That stanza was a rocky affair that included a double bogey, a bogey, and four birdies.
Just one back of him was the birthday boy, Peter Beneteau. Turning just 16 on Thursday the youngest player in the field looked like a veteran with an even par score through his opening nine. Beneteau caught the eye of his playing partners with his cross handed style for every shot.
At even par and through their rounds was Oliver Tubb of Stirling, Ontario and Marc-Etienne Bussieres of Gatineau.
Brad Boyle of Kingston, making his pro debut, was even par through 9 holes. That despite damaging a wedge so badly on the ninth hole after striking a rock that he needed to replace it. Before it’s demise the wedge served it’s purpose well as the granite impeded shot ended up close enough to the hole on the 9th hole that Boyle was able to covert it for a birdie.
Ottawa’s Andrew Jensen posted a 72 which he said included what might be his first whiff as a pro and a couple three putts.
8-time Smuggler’s Glen Club Champion and Gananoque resident Joe Matthews was one over par through his first nine holes.
Sean Lackey, the amateur who is the three-time City of Kingston Champion posted a two over par, 73. If he makes the cut on Friday then Lackey will not be able to defend his City title; he has already qualified for the semi-finals which are scheduled for this Saturday.
After that, things got a little dicier for the local crowd.
Former Belleville resident Jeff Mills got off to a great start at -2 on his front nine but ultimately settled for a round of 74.
That was the same number for Josh Whalen of Napanee, the 17 year-old who will attend Kent State after his final year of high school.
Playing alongside Brad Boyle were Kingstonians Chris Barber and Ryan Kennedy. Barber was four over on his first nine while Kennedy was another stroke higher.
Brad Revell (Kingston) posted a 79 which he was quiet disappointed in while veteran Canadian Tour member John Colwell of Kingston matched a 48 and a 36 for an 84.
Play will resume again Friday at Smuggler’s Glen and fans are encouraged to come out and watch. Daily tickets are just $10 and can be purchased at the gate.
For more information on the tournament see their website at www.thegreatwaterwayclassic.ca