Team from Belvedere Golf Club fires 57 to take lead at RBC PGA Scramble
By: Jason Logan, SCOREGOLF
INVERNESS, Nova Scotia -- There are two schools of thought regarding the weather when you come to play golf at Cabot Cape Breton Resort.
On the one hand, you want to experience some of the elements that make links golf so challenging — some cold and rain and especially some wind to force you into shots you are not accustomed to playing.
On the other hand, clear skies, sun and warmth would be awfully nice so you can delight in the jaw-dropping oceanside setting.
Participants in the RBC PGA Scramble national final have experienced both through two days. While Sunday’s opening round at Cabot Links featured strong gusts and frigid temperatures, Monday produced gorgeous conditions on Cabot Cliffs, such that smartphones were being used more to take photos than to check the tournament’s live scoring app.
“Today is a perfect day,” offered Danielle Labbe of Team Vallée du Richelieu while standing on the par-3 16th tee.
“It’s paradise,” added her teammate Nathalie Poiré.
Labbe and Poiré are at Cabot with their husbands, making them the most unique foursome in the final.
“For us to be here playing together is great because we play a lot together at home,” said Poiré’s partner, Jean Francois Turcotte. “We were surprised to win in Quebec because we never thought we could win playing against teams of all men.”
The foursome had been fortunate enough to visit Cabot previously, which is not the case for most teams.
Seated on the ever-present white couches behind Cabot Cliffs’ 18th hole, Matthew Swirsky, a Manitoban representing Ontario’s Kenora Golf and Country Club, said he couldn’t think of a better place to spend some time.
“What I like about Cabot Cliffs,” he pontificated, “is that the entire course looks like a putting green.”
To be sure, there is a lot of beauty in the wall-to-wall fescue fairways on both courses at Cabot.
“This is a trip of a lifetime,” said Valley Regional Park’s Lane Buswell, of Saskatchewan, while lounging on the next couch over. “To enjoy this with friends, you couldn’t pass this up for anything. It’s priceless.”
And then there is the fivesome from Kelowna, B.C.’s Black Mountain Golf Club. After a second-round adjusted score of -26.1, the lowest of the day, Keenan Hall, Sandeep Sandhu, Amar Munjal, Armaan Khangurra and PGA pro Greg Forbes had unique plans, this being their first time to Canada’s east coast.
“A dip in the ocean and we’ll be ready to go. From the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic Ocean, we have to make it happen,” said Munjal, who works in the insurance industry back in B.C.
Of note regarding Team Black Mountain, two of its members are relatively new golfers, with Khangurra, a student and club basketball coach, having picked up the game during COVID. Their high handicaps, combined with the strong play of Hall and Forbes, has proven to be a successful recipe.
The leader through two rounds, however, is Team Belvedere Golf Club, comprised by PGA pro Jamie Moran and New Brunswick natives Ryan Thurrot, Mark Brown, Adam McGaghey and Colin Armstrong. Their second-round adjusted score of -24.2 included three eagles on par 4s, two of the hole-out variety. They arrived at the par-5 18th tee needing one more drive from Brown, who promptly pulverized his tee ball down the middle of the fairway. Brown would then hole a birdie putt to give his team the lead.
“No nerves at all, it was the plan all along,” he deadpanned. “We were going to bring her down to the last hole and it was just my shot, it had to be done. It’s pretty much normal for me.”
“The weather was gorgeous, the course was gorgeous, it was an unbelievable day, the scenery out here, it was just beautiful,” added Thurrott. “We want to thank Archie, our caddie, doing a great job with us today. If it wasn’t for him out here, we might have been a little off-centre a few times.”
The teams will move back to Cabot Links for Tuesday’s final round, where Belvedere will try to hold off Black Mountain, third-place Valley Regional Park and first-round leaders, Hampton Golf Club, which slipped back to fourth on Day Two.