Boyce enjoying life overseas
SUMMERSIDE – Darryl Boyce of Summerside has welcomed the opportunity to continue his professional hockey career in Europe.
Avondale Open begins play Saturday
Steve Gamester works on his putting Wednesday before a round at Avondale Golf Course in preparation for the Avondale Open. “Hopefully the putter is more than warm this weekend and I see some balls drop to the bottom of the hole,” he said.
©Jason Malloy/The Guardian
VERNON RIVER, P.E.I. – Steve Gamester is looking forward to renewing friendships today and seeing where his game is early in the golf season.
The Charlottetown resident will hit the course Saturday for the opening round of the two-day Avondale Open. It is the first stop on the tour to determine Prince Edward Island’s amateur player of the year.
“It’s kind of a big family,” Gamester said. “It’s going to be good to see everybody you haven’t seen all winter.”
The field of 39 golfers includes six women. The first group begins play today at 10 a.m.
Gamester said this weekend would be a good measuring stick of where his game is as the competitive golf season begins. The wet start to the spring has resulted in less practice time, said the Avondale and Fox Meadow golfer.
“You’re kind of playing between raindrops,” Gamester said, adding he is hopeful the nice weather from earlier this week will welcome golfers to the Vernon River course.
“It’s exciting. It’s the start of a brand new season.”
Gamester was only 12 or 13 years old when he started playing the sport on Sundays in Summerside with his father, Alan, and uncles Dennis Pidgeon and Garth Wall. After playing through the junior program, Gamester got involved in the competitive golf tour.
“Initially, it was a cheap way to play other golf courses when I was younger. It was a lot of value for the dollar.”
Getting to know the golfers and measuring his own game against others has kept him involved in the tour for about 20 years.
Gamester hasn’t won a tour stop yet, but he finished second at the Avondale Open two years ago and won the club championship there in 2016. He said the tour has a talented field of golfers.
“Anybody that’s hot, and has a hot putter that week, can win,” he said. “I just kind of go with the mindset, you go play one shot at a time and add it up at the end and kind of see where you finish.”
The key at Avondale for Gamester is keeping the ball in play.
“A lot of people try to force drivers on holes that aren’t really needed. You’re better off leaving yourself a longer approach shot and keeping it in play.”
The tour points are also used to select Prince Edward Island’s golfers for the Atlantic Cup, which used to be known as the Mel Murray Maritime Cup. Each of the four Atlantic provinces has a 12-member men’s team competing for provincial bragging rights.
“The points are extremely important this year because the Atlantic Cup is off to Newfoundland,” said Tim Yorke, who organizes the Island squad.
P.E.I. won last year’s championship in Summerside. This year’s tournament is at the Bally Haly course in St. John’s, N.L., Sept. 22-24.
“I think that's what a lot of people are really fighting for,” said Gamester, who was on the team two years ago but not in 2016.
Today’s draw for the opening round of the Avondale Open.
10 a.m. – Mark McKenna and Jeremy Stevenson.
10:10 a.m. – Jeremy Brown, Scott Morton and Steven Gamster.
10:20 a.m. – Brodie McGregor, Paul Gormley and Marty Koughan.
10:30 a.m. – Tim Yorke, Stephen Anderson and Adam Gallant.
10:40 a.m. – Tommy Schurman, Ronnie Dennis and Martin O'Brien.
10:50 a.m. – Jeff Hughes, Curtis Martell and Anthony Warren.
11 a.m. – Curtis Hall, Tyler Murphy and Ricky Knockwood.
11:10 a.m. – Starter.
11:20 a.m. – Sherry White, Melissa Castle and Brenda McIlwaine.
11:30 a.m. – Fiona Thompson, Chris MacLauchlan and Sue Allen.
11:40 a.m. – George Stewart and Charlie O'Brien.
11:50a.m. – Rick Arsenault, Bobby Savidant and John Creamer.
Noon – Grant Somers, Matthew Bowlan and Leonard Doyle.
12:10 p.m. – Leigh Adams, Norm Platt and Kennie MacWilliams.
12:20 p.m. – Darren Martell and Cameron King.
A look at the last 10 men’s championship at the Avondale Open.
2016 Jason Campbell
2015 Greg MacAulay
2014 Tim Yorke
2013 Martin O'Brien
2012 Tim Yorke
2011 Greg MacAulay
2010 Tim Yorke
2009 Chris Welton
2008 Chris Welton
2007 Tim Yorke
2006 Chris Welton
2005 Mike Fortier
Did you know?
Golfers earn points for the men’s amateur player of the year award through their results at six golf tournaments.
Tour’s 2016 final results.
Jason Campbell 360
Tim Yorke 275
Anthony Warren 270
Brodie MacGregor 240
Jeff Hughes 190
Martin O’Brien 185
Curtis Hall 140
Paul Gormley 117.5
Darren Martell 117.5
Curtis Martell 115
Here are the 2017 tour stops:
Avondale Today-Sunday Avondale
Mill River Open June 17-18 Mill River
PEIGA Amateur** July 14-16 Stanhope
Stanhope Open Aug. 4-6 Stanhope
Island Open Aug. 19-20 Belvedere
Harvest Moon Aug. 26-27 Brudenell/Dundarave
** The amateur is worth twice as many points.