Garrett Kucher only used his driver four times over 36-holes last week at Lakepoint.
The 22-year-old second year pro on the Vancouver Golf Tour was able to outthink the 23-player pro field and course in Charlie Lake en route to his second tour victory and his first in two tries at the Wonowon Water Services Charity Pro-Am.
“I figured out that it’s not always key to rip drivers everywhere, I hit four drivers all week. That was good to set me up in positions, it was good to have a nine iron in the centre of the fairway rather than 100 yards slightly into the trees,” Kucher explained about what he learned after his first trip to Lakepoint last season.
The VGT youngster fired a seven under 137 at the two-day pro-am and felt the pressure every step of the way in the final round Wednesday, Aug. 10, as Oliver Tubb tried to match him shot for shot.
“I hit it good for about seven or eight holes (on Wednesday) and I was able to make some pretty good numbers on those holes. That’s what gave me a cushion,” Kucher said after his round last week.
“I knew Oliver (Tubb) had a good start and I knew he was coming my way so I kept grinding and kept going through. I knew that if I couldn’t make birdie I had to be sure to make pars, it was a little tense.”
VGT Commissioner Fraser Mulholland praised the crew at Lakepoint for once again making a challenging course test the pros in every facet of their game.
“On this golf course, it’s always about patience. The golf course was in great shape…to control the ball on these greens, there’s a lot of contouring. To control the ball off of the club face on these shots is challenging when you have a lot of uphill and downhill shots,” Mulholland added, as someone who has participated in events at Lakepoint in the past.
“You’d think with the calibre of players on a 6,700-yard golf course with gettable par 5s you think they would shoot 10 or 12 under for two days but it just shows the cailbre of the golf course. It just holds up. You really have to think your way around Lakepoint.”
Not only was Kucher the best golfer of the pros, he also led his amateur “Lobo Picker” team of Tim Fehr, Dustin Hill, Dave Busiak and Gene Danyluk to a total stableford score of 373 which was good enough to capture the win. Modified stableford scoring awards points based on strokes taken in relation to par (a birdie is two points and a par is 0 points). 67 amateur golfers teamed up with an pro at the event.
Mulholland also noted that it’s a no-brainer to bring the event back to Fort St. John because both the players and the community continue to embrace the event.
“They put out a nice purse for the pros. The one thing that makes pros travel is the purse. They’ve really done a good job with that since the inception… that doesn’t happen on every single one of our events,” he said.
“The second thing is guys talk about how much fun they’ve had in previous years, so the story gets around and guys really enjoy the camaraderie of the members. The relaxation— you’re right by the lake, the members are in their sandals and the pros get that fell and the pros get that feel too.”
Charity was also a big part of the docket last week, as the even raised $5,000 for the Salvation Army Food Bank.