Drama down the stretch

Jasper Park Lodge Golf

Club sees repeat champion

 

Mitch Foster has gone back to back.

Last year’s lowest scorer at the annual Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge Club Championship this year eked out a narrow win against long ball hitter Travis Chorley and edged out his playing partners, Nick Cloutier and Laurie Roger, during the club’s cornerstone event August 12-13.

Last year Foster was lights o

ut, going low with two sub-par rounds and annihilating the field by 14 strokes. This year was a diff

erent story, however, as Foster had to hang on down the stretch to hold onto his slim lead.   

“Last year I got all the bounces,” he said while celebrating with fellow members on the 19th hole. “This year I actually had to play golf.”

Foster was paired with Cloutier and Roger, after Roger posted Saturday’s low round—despite making quad-par on 18. As they teed off on Sunday, Foster was one stroke behind Roger while Cloutier was two back.

When Roger dropped an eagle on the par five 10th, it looked like he might make another push for the championship (he’s won four). Cloutier, too, was playing steady golf. However, Foster fought both of them off, scrambling for pars late in the round when his driver wouldn’t settle down.

“That was the best 74 I’ve shot,” he said.

Cloutier agreed. He said watching Foster hustle for par after his tee shots on 16 and 17 went wild was a thing of beauty.

“Those were some of the best pars I’ve seen in a long time,” he laughed.

While wet weather was anticipated, the rain eased up by the time junior members Elvis Slack, Kelan Pollard and Drew Tank teed off on the second day of the 92nd Jasper Park Golf Club Championship. Fifty one members (Chad Henderson had to withdraw after taking a spill on his bike post-round on Saturday) made up the field. Pollard took low score for the juniors, while Peggy Paukstat and Karen Huculak had a tight battle for 27 holes until Paukstat opened up a three-stroke victory on the final nine to give her the ladies club championship.

“It was exciting,” said JPL Golf Professional Tahlon Sweenie. “Karen and Peggy were neck and neck for most of the two rounds.”

When Foster, Cloutier and Roger hit their tee shots on 18, rumour around the clubhouse was that they were also neck and neck, but Foster knew better. After getting himself out of trouble on the previous two holes—and missing two short putts on the two holes before that—he knew if he put his second shot in the centre of the green, he’d have a good chance at the championship.

“I figured as long as I didn’t four-putt I’d be fine,” he said.

Minutes earlier, Travis Chorley threw a dart with his approach and drained the subsequent three foot birdie putt to card a two-under 69 for the day. Foster, needing par or better to keep his lead safe, took a low iron to 10 feet and confidently slid home the putt for a three, as well.

“Mitch is a great putter,” Cloutier said. “He’s a solid player.”

Foster, too, had only good things to say about his playing partners. While the group was competitive, they were rooting for each other nonetheless.

“Any time anyone had a chance for a deuce [two on a par three] we were cheering for him,” Foster said. “Those were two of the most enjoyable rounds I’ve had all year.”

Along with Sweenie, Director of Golf Gregg Lown handed out the hardware to the winners. Lown thanked the members for their participation in the club championship and shouted out Kelly Deagle for her hard work over the course of the season.

“She’s the backbone of the club,” Lown said. “And this is the club’s cornerstone event.”

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