Christos Vassilopolous takes aim at the green during the John Hicks Memorial Golf Tournament at Mount Brenton Golf Club. (Photo by Jan Best)

Conflict curtails the field for Hicks Memorial junior golf

Playoff required to settle the score among the nine-hole players

Longtime organizer Pat Irwin says this year’s John Hicks Memorial Junior Golf Tournament suffered for players due to a Pro/Junior tournament at Highland Pacific in Victoria at the same time.

That annual event came to the Island for the first time in many years and Irwin figures he lost a possible 30 juniors for the Hicks tournament at Mount Brenton Golf Club.

“I found out about it too late to change local plans,” he pointed out.

Plowing ahead anyway, Irwin noted nine juniors signed up for the two days as well as three junior nine-hole players for the first day. Of the nine, four came from Victoria with the remaining five from the rest of the Island, including Wayne Allen – the only local player from Mount Brenton.

The winner on the boys’ side was Chase Basanta from Gorge Vale Golf Club with a two-day total of 146 while Matthew Wilson of Nanaimo Golf Club had the low net of 136. Wilson is this year’s Zone 6 Junior of the Year and won a tournament at Glacier Greens Friday that followed the Hicks event.

Maria Schwager of Nanaimo won the girls’ low gross with a 184, beating out her 11-year-old twin sister.

“The highlight, for me, was the play of my junior nine-hole players,” added Irwin.

The group included two sisters and one boy.

After their nine holes, there was a tie for first place, setting up a playoff. Food was put on the backburner, as they all headed for the practice green and putting.

After four playoff holes, Jennifer Zou, 10, won over Tyler Sage, 11. Both are from Nanaimo & Fairwinds.

Patty Hicks was Irwin’s main man again and Mount Brenton was a great host with good food and complementary play so all the green fees could be used for the kids.

“Barring unforeseen hiccups, we will try again next year,” Irwin indicated.

“I would love to see someone step forward to kickstart a junior program at Mount Brenton again. I know there are youngsters in the area that would join.”

Irwin noted he’s always willing to help out anyone who can take the lead on that project.

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Angela Zou from Fairwinds/Nanaimo displays a mighty swing for an eight-year-old. (Photo by Jan Best)

Isabel Schwager tees off on No. 3 during the Hicks Memorial Golf Tournament while Maria Schwager awaits her turn. (Photo submitted)

Maria Schwager, left, and Isabel Schwager on the putting green. (Photo by Jan Best)

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