Hard work and dedication has paid off for a quartet of Prince Albert golfers who have earned a trip to the Antigua National High School Golf Invitational in Scottsdale, Ariz.
Carlton Comprehensive High School seniors Cory Selander, Zach Hurd, Cory Sawchuk and Cole Hobson will take their talents south of the border for the Sept. 5-6 tournament, joined by team coach Ron Stewart and chaperone Randy Hurd.
‚ÄúThey‚Äôve earned this,‚ÄĚ Stewart said of the four golfers. ‚ÄúThey have really strong games and excellent attitudes. It‚Äôs a reward for these boys for their years of great junior golf.‚ÄĚ
The tournament will have teams eight American and two Canadian teams tackle the McCormick Ranch Golf Club‚Äôs 7,187-yard, par-72 ‚ÄúPine‚ÄĚ course in Scottsdale, a suburb of Phoenix.
Taking on a long course of more than 7,000 yards, Stewart said the team will get some practice time in at similar courses in Saskatchewan to prepare.
Stewart compared the links at the McCormick Ranch Golf Club to The Legends Golf Club in Warman, Dakota Dunes near Saskatoon and the Riverside Country Club, also near The Bridge City.
It has been a busy summer for Selander, Hurd, Sawchuk and Hobson, who have all competed in various junior tournaments throughout the province.
Most recently, the four competed in the 2014 Pepsi Junior Lobstick last week in Waskesiu where Selander fell to Saskatoon‚Äôs Roman Timmerman in the tournament‚Äôs championship flight.
Selander also competed in the 2014 Canadian Junior Boys Championship in Niagara Falls, Ont., earlier this season, where he took on a field of 156 golfers from across Canada.
With a bright future in the sport ahead of them, Stewart said the four golfers will greatly benefit from the experience in Arizona as they take their games to the next level.
‚ÄúWe have to take kids out of their comfort zone," Stewart said. ‚ÄúYou can‚Äôt keep playing tournaments around Prince Albert and think that‚Äôs how golf should be played. It‚Äôs a worldwide game played by players of all nationalities and abilities.‚ÄĚ
Stewart added how heading into the tournament, the team‚Äôs attitude isn‚Äôt necessarily geared towards winning, but rather leaving the event with confidence and a better appreciation for the game.
‚ÄúWe are going down there to play the course, not the rest of the kids,‚ÄĚ Stewart said. ‚ÄúThey have to disassociate themselves from the pressure of the moment and think about just playing golf. If we go there with that mindset, we‚Äôll have a very successful tournament.‚ÄĚ
As each of the four golfers have the potential to play the game at a high level, Stewart explained how playing in an invitational tournament is a major step in their careers.
‚ÄúThese tournament are all stepping stones to a bigger piece,‚ÄĚ Stewart said. ‚ÄúThey have to look at this tournament as one more opportunity to prove to themselves that they belong in the game of golf.‚ÄĚ
Having obtained financial support from local sponsors, the team will be heading to Scottsdale a few days ahead of the tournament to acclimatize to Arizona‚Äôs sizzling temperatures and get some practice rounds in.
As the team heads to Scottsdale on Sept 1., Stewart said there‚Äôs never been a group more deserving of the invitation to Arizona than the four he‚Äôs accompanying to the 5th annual tournament.
‚ÄúIt‚Äôs a great opportunity that otherwise they would never get a chance to go in,‚ÄĚ the seasoned Prince Albert golfer said. ‚ÄúIt‚Äôs the first time we‚Äôve done it and we have no intentions of doing it again unless we have the same type of kids at another time.‚ÄĚ