JULY 25, 2022
BLIND BAY, BC (PGA of British Columbia) – The competition, much like the local temperatures, heated up on July 22nd at Shuswap Lake Golf Course in Blind Bay, BC where thirteen teams of professionals and juniors battled it out for the Jack McLaughlin Memorial PGA of BC Pro-Junior Championship presented by COBRA PUMA Golf.
The popular event made its return after a two-year pause due to the COVID-19 pandemic, last hosted in 2019 at Highland Pacific Golf in Victoria, BC. The tournament’s unique format comprises teams of one PGA of BC Professional and three juniors from the same facility in an 18-hole, Two-Net Best Ball format. The team-scoring structure welcomes competitors of all ages and abilities, regardless of past playing experiences, with tee allocations and golf course setup being determined by a mix of the player’s gender, age and handicap.
The team representing Birdies & Buckets Family Golf Centre blistered Shuswap Lakes Golf Course on Friday, taking home their first Jack McLaughlin Memorial trophy. Based out of Surrey, BC, the squad consisted of Head Teaching Professional Jeff Hallborg and juniors Gavin Giesbrecht, Nathan Freer, and Levi Hallborg.
After a slow start of 5-under par through their first ten holes in the shotgun start, Birdies & Buckets found their stride on the Par 5 18th hole, where they recorded two net eagles that got their momentum going. It was the start of a dramatic finish, playing their final eight holes at 9-under par.
Their winning score of 14-under par narrowly bested two teams for the title. Andrew Bentley, Bryden Cavanagh, Nate Turner, and Aaron Cattermole representing Kamloops Golf & Country Club, and the all junior girls team of Malania Sidhu, Lauren Nedo, Meera Miunhas representing The Vancouver Golf Club led by Professional Jordan Rourke both finished just two strokes back.
Morgan Creek Golf Course, Rivershore Golf Links, as well as a second squad representing The Vancouver Golf Club all finished in a share for third place at 10-under par.
The juniors from Birdies & Buckets Family Golf Centre all had prior individual tournament experience, but had never played in a team format before. When asked what was different about the Pro-Junior championship, the group immediately identified the team elements of the tournament and how pleased they were with their performance collectively.
“We ham and egged it perfectly,” said Hallborg. “It never felt like we had a bad hole at the same time. [We] played their stroke holes very well. We had a couple of chip-ins on a stoke hole which helped. They just teamed up well together, and they’re also good buddies, which helped. They don’t really put much pressure on each other and had a couple of good laughs - that’s what it’s all about” he added.
The win was especially special for Professional Jeff Hallborg, who got to share the experience with his 12-year-old son, Levi.
For their win, Gavin, Nathan, and Levi each received a COBRA LTDx Driver, retailing at $649.99 each. The popular driver is the same one used by COBRA brand ambassadors Bryson DeChambeau, Rickie Fowler, and Lexi Thompson.
Juniors from Kamloops Golf & Country Club won the retrogression tiebreaker as runner-up and took home a COBRA LTDx Fairway wood ($369.99) while juniors from the third-place The Vancouver Golf Club team each went home a COBRA LTDx Hybrid ($319.99). Thanks to the generous contribution from presenting sponsors COBRA PUMA Golf, every junior competing in Friday’s event took home a piece of the $8,500 retail prize table in addition to valuable tee gifts featuring both COBRA and PUMA products. Meanwhile, Professionals played for a piece of the $2,000 total purse, distributed amongst the total birdies & eagles made by each player.
The tournament is held in memory of Jack McLaughlin, a former PGA of BC president and long-time Head Professional at Shaughnessy Golf & Country Club who passed away in 1991. McLaughlin helped to develop the Junior-Junior instruction program for youth aged 11 and under, which introduced thousands of young Canadians to the game of golf. The event’s format reflects more than just the competition aspect. It allows a Golf Professional to often travel great distances and teach juniors on not only how to play in a tournament, but how to conduct themselves while learning valuable life lessons taught through the game.
“I am so proud of my juniors” said Hallborg, the long-time PGA of Canada member. “The way they behaved not only on the golf course, but especially off it. That’s probably where I’m most proud of as a coach.
The event had especially stronger meaning for Hallborg, whose career path has direct ties to the McLaughlin family.
“My first employment job in the industry was underneath (his son) Jim McLaughlin at Westwood Plateau Golf & Country Club, so it’s kind of cool to have a trophy with that last name on it.”
Shuswap Lake Golf Course was in top form for the tournament. Competing teams experienced pure greens and lush fairways while battling temperatures reaching a high of 31-degrees before accounting for humidity. The heat wasn’t enough to spoil the experience for participating juniors, who all came into the clubhouse following their rounds for dinner and prize presentations with smiles on their faces.
The PGA of BC would like to extend its gratitude to Head Professional Tony Vogel, Superintendent Jennifer Rozek, and the entire team at Shuswap Lake Golf Course at Blind Bay.
Further appreciation goes to long-time tournament sponsors COBRA PUMA Golf, represented onsite by Hugh Chan and PGA of BC Professional Jim Shular.
CLICK HERE for final results for the 2022 Jack McLaughlin Memorial PGA of BC Pro-Junior Championship presented by COBRA PUMA Golf, as well as details of the Professional purse summary.
ABOUT COBRA PUMA GOLF
COBRA PUMA Golf's full-range portfolio includes COBRA’s high-performance drivers, fairways, hybrids, wedges, irons, and putters, as well as PUMA Golf’s sport lifestyle-inspired footwear, apparel and accessories. Fusing performance and style, COBRA PUMA Golf brings a focus on innovation, technology, compelling design and superior performance with an edge to the global golf marketplace. COBRA PUMA GOLF is a part of PUMA SE, one of the world’s leading lifestyle companies that designs and develops footwear, apparel and accessories. For more information, visit cobragolf.ca and cobragolf.ca/pumagolf.