After qualifying through the Maple Leaf Junior Golf Tour, seven players from across Canada were treated to an amazing week of hospitality and Match Play golf at the Las Colinas Golf Club in Cuernavaca, Morales, Mexico, last week.
The tournament, which ran August 4-6, featured teams of seven players from the United States, Canada and Mexico. In a unique match play format, all three teams played simultaneous Ryder Cup style matches using a points scoring system. Six points were available to be won on each hole, with four points going to the low score, two points for second and zero for third. If there was a tie between second and third on any hole, one point was awarded to each side. Should two sides tie for the low score, the points were split three-three. If all three sides scored the same, two points were awarded to each.
Day one featured the best ball format, and Mexico got off to a hot start winning the majority of the matches. The 7,100 yard Las Colinas course was difficult with the U.S.A. finishing 20 points back and Canada sat in third place, 32 points behind.
Alternate shot was played on day two and again the Mexicans dominated. Their top performers were 13 and 14 year old players who had a significant advantage playing from the forward tees. The Mexican team built up a big lead going into the final round of singles matches 59 points ahead of the US and 81 ahead of Canada.
Day three featured seven singles matches and with plenty of points available to be won, Canada made their move. Brett McNallie of Drayton Valley, Alberta dominated in the first match scoring 58 points for the Canadian side, holding the Mexican and American players to only a few points each. Canada had closed the gap with Mexico and passed the Americans into second place. In match number two, Steven Her of Edmonton, Alberta tied his American counterpart and narrowly lost to his Mexican competitor. Match number three was also close with Mike Mottola from Niagara Falls, Ontario finishing ahead of the US but losing to Mexico by just a few points. Konrad Scheidacker of Surrey, BC, lost match four to both the American and Mexican players and the race for second place overall tightened. Kenny Keeler of Portage La Prairie, Manitoba made a huge back nine charge to come from behind and win match number five over both Mexico and the US. In match six, Kenneth Chmela from Penticton, BC finished with a flurry of points in his last few holes to stop American Will Griffin from shutting out his competitors entirely and erasing Canada?s narrow lead over the US. In the final match Devin Carrey of South Surrey, BC was pitted against Texan Ben Rogers, son of 1981 British Open Champion Bill Rogers and the top Mexican player, Lucas. Carrey led the match for 14 holes but found trouble on the 15th and 16th and began the 17th all square. Regaining his composure on the last two holes, he finished with two pars while the others struggled coming home. The matches finished with Mexico in first place ahead by 22 points and Canada in second 11 points in front of the US side who finished third.
Highlights of the week included Opening Ceremonies attended by Joaquin Sanchez, the Head of Sport for the State of Morales, and Neil Reeder, Canadian Deputy Ambassador for Mexico together with the Mexican Army Band and many other dignitaries who presided over the flag raising for each country. The teams were treated to a guided tour and formal dinner with fireworks hosted by the State of Morales Tourism at the Pyramids at Xochicalco, and a sightseeing trip into Cuernavaca on the final day.
Established in 1999, the non-profit Maple Leaf Junior Golf Tour (MJT) is dedicated to developing Canada’s junior golfers and runs 30 multi-day events across the country, including a number of qualifying events for international tournaments. The MJT is the only major junior golf tour in Canada run exclusively by Golf Professionals and is endorsed by PGA Tour veterans Dave Barr and Ray Stewart.
For more information please visit www.maplejt.com or call 1-877-859-GOLF.