Long a fixture on the Lynbrook Golf and Country Club schedule – Gerry Hadwin won the first title way back in 1990 – the event was cancelled last year after poor registration numbers left too few players to fill the draw.
That wasn’t going to happen this year if the club’s members had anything to say about it, and their efforts have been wildly successful. A total of 72 players signed up and filled the draw soon after registration opened, nearly harkening back to the days when players would line up out the pro shop door early in the morning just to have a shot at entering.
The first round on holes 1, 2, 3 and 9 takes place on Saturday, Sept. 7 and the tournament finals will run into the early afternoon on Sunday, Sept. 8.
“Everything is looking good, we’re full up and we have a waiting list, which is way ahead of where we were last year when it was cancelled,” said Lynbrook manager Dwight Bearchell. “It’s a great format and a great cause and it’s great to see back.”
The popularity of the tournament stems from its unique format: the match-play triple-knockout draw sees players each take three shots from 150, 100 and 50 yards, with the lowest score claiming victory and advancing to the next round.
As the second day enters into the final rounds of the championship event an almost party atmosphere evolves alongside the second green, which features the final matches of the tournament.
“Besides the golf, it’s a social event, everyone has a lot of fun because of the kind of tournament it is,” Bearchell said. “The way it’s set up, it’s a lot of fun to watch just because of what happens, so much can change from shot to shot.”
And how – players have carried leads into the final three putts, only to have a couple of long-distance drains and short misses combine for stunning comebacks. That’s not an occasional occurrence, either: stories of bad beats can at times rival poker tournaments.
“Over the years we’ve had some very surprising winners, you get out there and never know what’s going to happen from 150 or 100 yards or even 50 yards,” Bearchell said. “A guy makes a couple of putts and all of a sudden wham… that’s part of what makes it so exciting.”
The tournament is named after longtime Lynbrook manager Carl Jorgensen, who passed away due to cancer in the mid-80s. All proceeds from the event go to the Canadian Cancer Society.
Craig Benson and Calvin Shaw have each won the tournament four times, with Benson’s most recent victory in 2014 and Shaw last claiming the title in 2009.
Alf Paul is a three-time champion, including back-to-back titles in 1993-94, with Shaw’s wins in 2004 and 2005 marking the only other time a player has defended their Jorgenson title.
More recently, Trevor Benson picked up titles in 2012 and 2015, with Kevin Tremblay winning each of the following years.
Shawn Muchowski will carry the title of defending champion after his win in 2017.