Story by Pat Payton, Sports editor for the Journal Argus
It’s one of those once-in-a-lifetime opportunities. And St. Marys resident Mitch Watt is getting his this summer at the age of 16. The St. Marys Golf and Country Club member, and defending Junior Club champion, has been invited to play in an upcoming Optimists’ International Junior golf championship tournament.
There are three of these International golf tournaments, and all are held at the posh PGA National Resort and Spa in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida.
A total of 650 golfers, from 30 different countries, will compete in the three tournaments.
Watt will play in the third of three tourneys in Florida, for girls and boys ages 15 to 18, the week of July 30th to August 4th. He received the invitation from Optimists’ officials about six weeks ago. “I’ve never played on a course like that,” Watt told the Journal Argus last week. “Just to be able to play a championship course, it’s going to be pretty cool. It’s going to be an experience,” he added with a big smile.
Watt earned a spot based on his play in the 2015 Midwestern Optimist Junior Golf Championships, which are held over two days each July at the St. Marys Golf & Country Club. In last year’s Midwest tourney, the smooth-swinging Watt—who lives right across the road from the No. 11 green—finished a strong third overall in the 14-15 boys division. After firing a 78 on opening day, Watt was in the final pairing in his age group on the second day.
Mitch Watt and brothers Jake and Sam, were back to compete in the 2016 Midwestern Optimists event last week at St. Marys. They were among seven St. Marys golfers who competed this year in a rather small field of just 47. Others who competed from St. Marys Golf & Country Club were Jordan Jarrett, Jimmy Schiedel, Ian Bolton and Sam Bolton.
Tuesday proved to be quite a day for Jarrett, who has worked very hard at her golf game. The girls play just one day, and the 17-year-old Jarrett won her age division with a nice 77 (40-37). Her score qualifies her for the 2017 Optimists’ International tournament at the PGA National Resort and Spa in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida.
Twenty-two of the boys in the field qualified for the second day of competition last Wednesday--including all three Watt brothers. Mitch Watt tied for sixth place in the 16-18 division with a two-day total of 169. Sam Watt finished seventh in the 14-15 division with a 181. Also winning trips to Florida next year were Michael Dubois, of Brantford, and Mark Aljoe, of Durham Ontario. Dubois shot rounds of 78-77 to claim the boys 16-18 division for the second year in a row. Overall, Dubois won by two shots with his 155 total. Aljoe won the boys 14-15 division with a two-day total of 157. He won the 12-13 division last year.
Junior Golf Notes: