The Maple Leaf returned to Toronto Island September 13 and 14 for its 007th edition and took on a distinctively James Bond feel.
Dinner jacket performance jerseys were included in all players packs and the weekend found the baskets shaken, not stirred.
The course, established in 1980 and updated several times since the Worlds were held here in 1987 is located on the 6 mile long island that is a 10 minute ferry ride from the heart of downtown Toronto. Without vehicular traffic, the Island is a paradise just minutes from the hustle and bustle of one of North America's most cosmopolitan urban centers.
A new feature this year was the double-mando hole 15 measuring 266 feet from the Am tee and 300 feet from the Pro tee. Inspired by the #7 Bamboo hole at the USDGC, the Toronto Island version has its 20 foot opening guarded by wooden snow fences for a stereotypical Canadian touch. Intermediate player Ryan McDiarmid from nearby Burlington, Ontario shot the only Ace on any hole this weekend, notching his from the AM tee!
This years tournament attracted 88 players, professional and amateur from five different countries, six Canadian provinces and five U.S. states. Favorable weather conditions on Sunday provided players the opportunity to test the challenging layouts that measured 6,602 feet, par 58 from the Am tees and a whopping 8,282 feet from the par 63 Pro layout.
Most found the course was more than up to the challenge.
The Intermediate Men's division was won by Mark Dron from Calgary, Alberta who held off top card competitors Carl Smith, Pete Chapman and Ben Kurvits who bested Mark in the final round but could not overcome his strong advantage after the first three rounds.
Amateur Women's division was hotly contested by Lana Kelly, Steph Clavel and Jen Brown with only two strokes separating the three going into the final round. Jen came from behind to take first place with the best round shot by any female competitor on this weekend. Clutch performance, Jen!
The Pro Womens division was represented by Holly DeCoste from Halifax, Nova Scotia who cruised to victory all on her own. Holly received a 200% payout for her troubles and declined cash, opting for product payout to retain her amateur status so that she may compete in future Am Worlds competitions.
Advanced Men lived up to their billing as Pros in the making. Jeremy Hoeltke from just across the border in New York State fired a scintillating 984 rated final round of 62 (one under par). His hot round allowed him to leap from fourth place over third round leader Bryan Freese from Manitoba, Steve McNeil and Jay Hartman from south-western Ontario. Justin Everett from Grand Island, N.Y. also shot a sizzling 64 from the long tees to move up into a tie for fourth place. This allowed Justin to qualify for paid PDGA memberships granted to the top four finishers in each Amateur division, courtesy of the Toronto Island Maple Leaf.
Watch for these players to move up in the near future!
Pro Masters featured 12 competitors, and as in the other divisions, leading after three rounds was no guarantee of victory. Local Master Jay Jalonen, who lead for each of the first three rounds heard footsteps from behind coming from Hall of Fame and Toronto Island (GrandMaster) Michael Sullivan. Lurking a few strokes back on the top card were Ontarians Rob Martinek and Simon Newman but they were unable to overcome the superlative shotmaking of Sullivan and Jalonen. Also in the Pro Masters division was recent arrival to Toronto, Svein Atle Hagaseth. Svein Atle was Norwegian champion as recently as five years ago and shot four respectable rounds despite never having laid eyes on the Island course before this weekend.
Jalonen and Sullivan matched each other with 1015 rated third round scores that left Jay with a one stroke advantage going into the final round. Sully continued his mastery of his home course in the final round, shooting a 1000 rated 60 to take the Pro Masters title by three strokes.
Open Men had a field of twenty and cashed the top eight players. Local rising golfer Greg Grootenboer captured eighth with four solid rounds but was edged by Markku Nirkkonen from Finland, Martin Hendel from St. Thomas Ontario, and two-time TIML champ, Brad Schick from Ohio who took fifth place.
As might be expected, the top open card was dominated by the best of the best. With only four strokes separating first to fourth place going into the final round, this championship was not going to be easy to secure. Featuring three of the top seven ranked players in the world, Toronto Island player Kim Scott-Wood was in tough as the only unranked player in the top card. Yet, there he was, more than holding his own with the group of touring pros. His dramatic eagle two on the 543 ft. hole #3 in the final round proved he belonged on the top card but the battle tested experience of the other three touring pros was too much to overcome. Spectacular shotmaking by Ricky Wysocki and Simon Lizotte kept the championship in question right until the final couple of holes before Will Schusterick prevailed, firing a final round 56 (7 under par) to become the 2014 Toronto Island Maple Leaf champion.
A staple of Super-Tour events, we look forward to seeing you next September when we will host the
Eighth Toronto Island Maple Leaf.