Island golfer first in Canadian golf amateur tournament

SUDBURY—A long time seasonal resident of Manitoulin and avid amateur golfer, finished the Canada wide Golftown National Amateur Series season ranked number one in Canada.

Miquel Larocque, of Sudbury, who spent most of his childhood summers growing up in Providence Bay on Manitoulin Island and visits every year, won the national championship in August. And if that isn’t enough this past weekend, he won the Pine Grove Golf Course club championship.

On the Golftown National Amateur Series, Mr. Larocque explained, “I played 12 of the 16 tournaments on the tour; missing the first four tournaments.”

Each player on the tour is flighted by their handicap and “you get 100 points for each person you beat in each tournament,” explained Mr. Larocque. “So for instance if you were first in a tournament among 20 players, you receive 2,000 points.”

Mr. Larocque won the national championship on Tuesday of last week, “the top six players in each province of Canada make it to the Nationals, and I was fortunate to have finished first in Ontario and first in Canada as well.”

In his 12 tournaments on the tour, Mr. Larocque placed eighth overall in the first tournament, and from there, in subsequent tournaments held around Canada he was first, fourth, second (losing in a playoff), 11th, eighth in two consecutive events, 11th, and eighth again. He then posted back to back second place finishes (the second losing in a playoff), and won the last tournament of the season.

Mr. Larocque, who averaged 308 yards off the tee during the summer tour told the Recorder, “I started playing golf when I was 10 years old (he will turn 20 in November).” He and his family have a camp in Providence Bay where they return every summer. “I’ve been camping in Providence Bay since I was two or three months, and played at the Manitoulin Island Country Club in Gore Bay since I started playing golf. Gore Bay is where I started playing golf, I learned the game there, as well as learning from the coaches at the driving range in Chelmsford. I first became a member of a golf course, in Gore Bay. Yes, we used to stay in Providence Bay all summer, but unfortunately we don’t get to spend as much time there during the summer as we used to.”

While honing his skills at MICC at a young age, Mr. Larocque won the Junior Open championship in his age group, seven years in a row.

While he averages over 300 yards on his drives, Mr. Larocque said the best part of his game, “is probably my short game. The driving certainly helps, but it is the short game that I practice the most, and am most comfortable with.”

Prior to joining the Golftown National tour this summer, Mr. Larocque has played in the Canadian Optimist Junior Championships for each of the past six years. On the national amateur tour this summer, against golfers from all over the country. “Anyone who is in amateur player in Canada can play on the Golftown Nationals and you are flighted by your handicap,” said Mr. Larocque.

Mr. Larocque just finished his second year at Boreal College in Sudbury, and on Wednesday of this week attended his first day of school at Laurentian University in the Sports and Business Administration program. “I’m hoping that future wise I can do something involving golf,” he said. “Eventually I would like to get my (Canadian Professional Golfer Association) card, and I’ll keep working on my game and see where it goes. If keep playing well I would like to at least try out for the pro tour, but it will be tough.”

While attending school this fall, Mr. Larocque will also be playing golf at Laurentian. And, by finishing the season first on the Golftown tour, he will be competing in the Canadian Nationals being held October 24-27th in Miami, Florida. “It will be interesting, we will be playing four different courses in four days, and the last will be at Doral-on the Blue Monster. A maximum of 336 players from all over Canada will be taking part. The Blue Monster is the last course we will be playing. I can’t wait.”

In order to win the Golftown championship, “a week ago I flew to British Columbia to play on August 27th, and finished second in a playoff. Then I flew back on the red eye flight arriving at 6:20 am on Tuesday in Toronto, and drove to Barrie for the final tournament and won the championship. I’m exhausted but it was a great experience.”

Last weekend, he won the Pine Grove men’s club championship, posting a two over score of 64 in the first day. On the second day, all players take part in match play, where he had to play a total of 39 holes to win. “I’ve never played match play before so it was a great experience,” he said.

Mr. Larocque said one of the biggest reasons for his success has been the support and encouragement he has received over the years. “I especially have to say a big thank you to my parents, and Jane and Arthur Pummell at MICC, and yourself and the Recorder, everyone has provided so much help and support over the years.”

Tom Sasvari