Top local golfers will test skills at Cobble Beach 0
KEMBLE -- Some of the top men's golfers in Ontario will pit their skills against the Cobble Beach Golf Links beginning today at the Golf Association of Ontario's Investors Group Men's Mid- Amateur Championship.
"It's a big event and we're really excited to be having it," Cobble Beach head pro Warren Thomas said in a recent interview.
Thomas and Cobble's grounds crew won't have to toughen up the course for these golfers. The 7,174-yard par 72 course is tough enough already, especially when the wind blows in off of Georgian Bay.
"The (GAO) will set the pins and the tees," said Thomas. "They ask us to not to have 10-inch rough and 13 on the stimp (meter which measures the speed of the greens). Our greens are already tricky enough. If the wind blows (off the bay), the scores will be higher. If it doesn't blow, they won't be low but they will be a bit better."
The 144 golfers earned their spots in the championship based on their play at six qualifying tournaments in May. Approximately 800 golfers try to earn a spot in the mid-amateur.
"There are some very good players in the field," said Thomas. "We've got players who've been on golf scholarship and some who have played professionally. We've got a lot of good players coming."
Included is two-time champion Dave Bunker from Woodbridge who won the event in 2010 and 2007. Last year's champion Graham Hill will also compete.
Woodstock's Drew Symons is a veteran of the Canadian pro tour who has regained his amateur status. He lost in a four-hole playoff to Hill last year and went on to finish sixth at the Canadian mid-amateur.
The tournament will also have its celebrity factor as singer Tom Cochrane and Boston Bruins centre Marc Savard are also in the tournament.
The local contingent includes Legacy Ridge Golf Club member Chris Frook, Blue Mountain Golf and Country Club's Andy Holba, 15-time Owen Sound Golf & Country Club champion Steve Irving, Saugeen Golf Club's Tyler Smith, Bucks Crossing Golf Club's Shawn Kaufman, the Georgian Bay Club's Mike Jackson who won this tournament in 2003 and Cobble Beach's own Tim VanDolder who is representing the host club.
The competitors will spend today on the course in practice rounds. The first two rounds of the tournament are set for Tuesday and Wednesday with the low 60 golfers and ties advancing to the final 18 holes on Thursday.
The top three finishers will form Team Ontario for the 2012 Canadian Mid-Amateur championships which runs Aug. 13 to 17 at Vancouver's Point Grey Golf and Country Club.
The low 35 golfers will earn exemptions into the Canadian championship.
The tournament means that Cobble Beach members will not be allowed to play on Tuesday and Wednesday. And they can only golf at the course on Monday and Thursday following the tournament.
If they're not golfing, they might be helping out at the tournament as Thomas said that volunteers are still needed. For more information call the Cobble Beach pro shop at 370-2339.