Brad Revell Wins Ontario Juniors
by Scott A. Sumner
"It has been 25 years since the championship had been here in Thunder Bay," stated Dave Colling, Director of Tournaments and Player Development for the Ontario Golf Association. Colling is full time with the OGA, previously doing a tournament here in Thunder Bay with the Canadian Tours former Heritage Classic tournament.
Why did the OGA come to Thunder Bay for a provincial championship?
"Part of it was we now have such a championship course in Whitewater and the TBDGA had approached us for a tournament from the OGA. Whitewater is a great golf course. Tom McBroom does a great job and Whitewater really is a championship course, clearly the best course in the area," notes Colling. "It is a lot like Timberwolf in Sudbury with the same kind of terrain."
"This week the championship will use a combination of blue and gold tees and play to about 6900 yards, a good distance. We didn't want to go back too far especially for the first three days because there is a different level of golfer here. Some are very experienced, others are age 14 and have different abilities," stated Colling. "I was pleased with 69 and a little disappointed we had some scores in the 90s. We like to keep the back end scores in the 80s. I don't want too low though as I think this is a difficult enough golf course to play."
"The greens are quite fast here at Whitewater. Last week in Oshawa for the Ontario Amateur we had the greens at 12 on the stempmeter. Here they are in the 10 range. There is a lot of movement on the greens so it is probably good they aren't to fast. We can do a lot with the hole locations," smiled Colling.
"We are very happy with the organization of the tournament. We have a good group of volunteers here, which is great. The local people have provided welcoming gifts for the boys making them feel very welcome. We have a lot of top juniors here. If you go off the fairway you will probably lose the balls and they will score higher if they are not hitting it straight. You have to manage your game well here. The boys go through qualifying to get in the tournament."
"The OGA have 6 provincial volunteers and 20 to 25 in total, doing starting, scoring, shuttling back and forth to the hotels etc. They have been instrumental in helping the event," states Kyle McFarlane, Director of Marketing & Communications for the Golf Association of Ontario. "It has been a blessing, pretty much a normal level of volunteers. Barry Caland has done a great job."
"Normally a tournament like this would have a two day cut but with the boys traveling this far we thought we would give them 3 rounds of golf plus a practice round so they can plan a flight and hotels better," states Dave Colling. "A number of our players will get scholarships at universities in the US. Others will look for a good result on their resume and that is why they are here. Many go to division 2 schools in the US. Many are staying in Canada and playing university golf now with a university golf team. Ontario has built up more tournaments and most have a golf team. For example the U of Toronto has a parttime golf professional. One of our top players last year, Patrick Forbes, stayed and went to Queens and is on their golf team. Some go down and play US golf and find it isn't all it was cracked up to be and come back and play university golf in Canada."
Canadian university golf has 6 or 7 tournaments in the fall and some travel some more. The US universities are restricted to how many tournaments they can play but they can practice more due tio the climate conditions.
"We have 420 member clubs which equates to 110,000 individual members. Then we have our public player program in which there are 3500 members who are not members of a club and they gain a handicap system and other benefits like a magazine subscription and access to our events," notes Kyle McFarlane. "Usually the fee of $19 is in the membership fee at your home club for adults which comes to the OGA and a portion of that goes on to the RCGA, the national governing body for operating budget. We have 13 full time employees and 5 seasonal staff at the OGA. We are located right adjacent to the Wooden Sticks Golf Club in Uxbridge where we rent our offices from them. It is a central location for us, just north of Pickering northeast from Toronto. We work closely with the RCGA."
"It's has been great here. From the conversations Ive heard the players and parents there was some initial hesitation coming up to Thunder Bay, but now that they are here they are ecstatic. They love the course and the area and the hospitality has been unbelievable. The course is in immaculate condition. It is just a gorgeous, gorgeous course and the kids are loving playing it as well," notes McFarlane. "Most kids came up with their parents and some brought several kids up to act as a chaperone. In the player packages there were some baseball tickets which some will take advantage of just to relax and get their minds off the course and competition for a while. The parents want to see the waterfront."
Brad Revell of Kingston, Ontario won the Junior Boys Championship and will going to the prestigous North Carolina State on a half ride golf scholarship this fall. "I wouldn't say I played really good but I hung in there and hit a lot of great shots. coming in, so it feels good. I was nervous starting out. It's pretty hard not to be nervous but I got off to a pretty good start and I made a really good shot on 15 and a good putt to finish that off," smiles Brad Revell. "I really enjoyed my time in Thunder Bay. Whitewater is a really good golf course. I hope in the future they can hold some more amateur tournaments here. It is a great city."
Brad Revell starting playing competitive golf at 8 or 9 years old and now plays every day. "I'll probably take a few days off now. When I am home there is no place better to be than the golf course. I'm leaving the middle of August for college so it is coming up. I love it. We will play 4 tournaments in the fall and probably 6 or 7 in the spring including nationals so it is a busy schedule," smiles Revell. "The goal is to become a touring professional. I think the choice of university I made will give me the best opportunity with good coaches and competition against schools like Wake Rorest, Duke and Clemson."
Brad Reevell was quite emotional after his win. "My brother passed away in September. He actually won this tournament in 2002. It is a great honour to win it for me. He was an unbelievable player. I wouldn't be the player I am today with out watching him grow up and being around him," stated Brade Revell. "Many people go through adversity in life but words can't explain it unless you have been through it. Losing a brother who is your best friend in life and you are really close to has been really hard, but I know he looking down on me."
"Jeff Fitzgerald made a great birdie on 11 which is probably the toughest hole on the course and I bogied that and it was a two shot swing so we were even after that. We tied every other hole until I made a good shot on 15 and a good putt. He is a really good player."
Jeff Fitzgerald of Peterborough, Ontario came second in the Junior Boys Championship. The 18 year old has golfed for 7 years and avidly for 3 or 4 playing in lots of tournaments. "I played really good so I am happy with it. I hit hit a long drive on 18 and tried to get there in two and was level with the pin but just right with a tough chip so I couldnt catch Brad," notes Fitzgerald. "I was kinda nervous at the start and then got off to a good start which helped. I really liked the course. It's really nice, is in great condition and is a nice layout. The greens were perfect I putted really well."
Jeff Fitzgerald will be going to Trent University to take general arts this fall. "I want to keep playing as good as I can and play in some amateur tournaments. I think it is pretty tough to become a tour professional. I'd like to, but is unrealistic I guess. I just enjoy playing golf and tournaments. I play pretty much play every day."
It was a wonderful week in Thunder Bay for this OGA Junior and Juvenile Boys Championship which was first played in 1943 and has been won before by current PGA Tour players Mike Weir and Jon Mills. Jeff Finch of the presenting sponsor Investors group was very happy with the week. "I want to thank the OGA. It felt like a PGA Tour event like when I went to watch the big boys at Glen Abbey. The quality of focus, etiquette and competition will do wonders in your future," stated Jeff Finch.