Garret Day of Chatham has started the golf season on a winning note.
It was another great start for Garret Day on the Jamieson Junior Golf Tour.
The 19-year-old from Chatham celebrated a win at the season opener for the second time in three years Tuesday.
The Wayne State University sophomore won the collegiate men’s division by shooting a 2-under 69 at Seven Lakes Championship Golf in LaSalle.
It was his first competitive round since last fall. The spring season had been wiped out by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I think everyone loved it because that was really the first chance that we had to see what we could do and where there’s a bit of pressure,” said Day, who won the 2018 opener in the junior boys’ division. “It was nice.”
Day posted a one-stroke victory over Wayne State teammate Josh DiCarlo, a former Chatham Maroon from Amherstburg.
Mat Hawryluk of Chatham and Finn O’Brien of Blenheim each shot a 75 to tie for fifth place. Two-time defending champion Owen Dorssers of Blenheim tied for eighth with a 77.
“It was a lot of fun,” Day said. “I played with guys that I already know, so it didn’t really feel like a tournament round. But it was definitely a little nerve-racking on the first tee.”
Some of the nerves stemmed from his unfamiliarity with Seven Lakes. He hadn’t played there since he was 13 years old.
“I didn’t really remember it, but I was able to stay calm,” he said. “It was definitely different from playing just a standard round.”
Day didn’t feel rusty. He’s been staying sharp on his home course, Maple City Country Club, where he also works.
“I’ve been playing quite a bit,” he said. “It was tough to get tee times when everything just opened up because everyone wanted to get out, but recently I’ve been out a lot more.”
Day shot 38 on the front nine and then fired a 31 on the back thanks to four consecutive birdies on holes 13 to 16.
“I struggled on the front nine, but back nine I was able to turn it on,” he said.
Day is coming off an NCAA Division II freshman season at Wayne State that included one top-10 finish and a stroke average of 76.82 in 11 rounds at five tournaments.
The Jamieson tour’s season opener doubled as its qualifier. All earlier events were cancelled because of the pandemic, but tour director Dan DeMarco refused to give up on the season.
“We put a lot of thought into it and a lot of meetings,” DeMarco said to the Windsor Star. “We consulted with the Windsor-Essex (County) Health Unit, Golf Canada and Golf Ontario, so we think we have it buttoned down.”
Players had to practise social distancing. They didn’t exchange scorecards, so scores were confirmed verbally.
They couldn’t touch rakes in sand traps or pins on the greens. Balls were retrieved from the holes via a touchless system.
Alex Mauro of Windsor won the junior boys’ division with a 72. Blenheim’s Aidan Webster tied for second with a 75 and Chatham’s Colin Kloostra tied for fourth with a 76.
Webster has signed with the University of Wisconsin-Parkside, a NCAA Division II program, for the coming season.
Jasmine Ly of Windsor won the collegiate women’s division with a 69. Runner-up Brooke MacKinnon of Chatham shot a 72.
MacKinnon is a Maple City member going into her senior season at the University of Hartford.
Vanessa Ardovini of Windsor and Jillian Friyia of London tied for first in the junior girls’ division at 74. No playoff was held.
Florence’s Karolyn Rombouts of Maple City was third with a 75. Hannah Butzer of Chatham tied for seventh with an 84.
The next stop on the nine-event tour will be July 20 at Rochester Place in Belle River. The Maple City stop is July 27.