Fairmont Chateau Whistler golfers qualify for nationals 

Whistler quintet off to Nova Scotia in October

click to enlarge PHOTO COURTESY OF PADRAIC O'ROURKE - OFF TO NATIONALS The Fairmont Chateau Whistler Golf Course team set to compete at the RBC PGA of Canada Scramble National Final in Nova Scotia next month. L-R: Padraic O'Rourke, Austin Draper, Nic Jackson, Graham Page, and Kevin Morrison.
  • Photo courtesy of Padraic O'Rourke
  • OFF TO NATIONALS The Fairmont Chateau Whistler Golf Course team set to compete at the RBC PGA of Canada Scramble National Final in Nova Scotia next month. L-R: Padraic O'Rourke, Austin Draper, Nic Jackson, Graham Page, and Kevin Morrison.

Things got a bit scrambly for some local golfers earlier this month, but it was all for the best.

Competing in the British Columbia West Regional Final of the RBC PGA Scramble at Nicklaus North Golf Course on Sept. 9, the Fairmont Chateau Whistler Golf Club team of Nicholas Jackson, Graham Page, Austin Draper, Kevin Morrison and head professional Padraic O'Rourke punched their ticket to the national finals.

The team topped the 10-entry field, scoring a 23-under to fend off the runners-up from Richmond's Mayfair Lakes.

O'Rourke said the squad prepared with a strong practice round the day before the finals and felt confident heading into the showdown.

"We came up with a bit of a gameplan for Monday," he said.

With the squad needing to use three tee shots from each player over the course of the round, it was imperative that everyone remained consistent and delivered a useable option when needed. O'Rourke said that's exactly how it played out.

"Everyone contributed to the score," he said. "Everybody stood up and hit some great tee shots at the right time. We started out well. We got all the drives out of the way with two holes to spare, which was important. We gelled very well as a team."

The crew started on Hole 13, which O'Rourke said worked to its benefit as the back half of the course presented many of Nicklaus North's most challenging options. Once the team successfully conquered those six holes before returning to No. 1, it felt pretty confident in its chances, he recalled.

"The last five holes of Nicklaus North are the trickiest and once we played No. 18, we were five-under for the day," he said. "I just felt like we had a really good chance from there.

"We had a couple crucial putts in the middle part of the round. We rolled in 10-, 12-footers when we had to keep the momentum going."

A scramble is different from a traditional tournament in that working as a team, golfers select one shot to play after each attempt, which makes it easier to get to the green. From there, they hope someone can sink one.

"At the end of the day, it's pretty much a putting competition, really, so I was definitely focusing hard on my putting in the lead-up for a couple of weeks," O'Rourke said.

O'Rourke said the other four players on the team were good friends going in, and he was invited to join in when they thought about taking a serious run at cracking nationals. The group placed second at a qualifier at the Chateau before breaking through at Nicklaus North.

The national tournament is set for October at Cabot Links Golf Course on Nova Scotia's Cape Breton Island. Between Cabot Links (and affiliated course Cabot Cliffs), O'Rourke is excited to test his mettle on some of the country's best courses.

"The boys are super pumped and, for myself as well, I've got to be honest. I was definitely trying extra hard with the ultimate prize to get to the No. 1 and No. 3 golf courses in the country, and a Top 50 course in the world," he said. "It's all gravy from here, to be honest, but we're going out there with the intention to do really well.

"We seem like we've got a really good chance and we're definitely pumped to get out there."

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