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Best in junior golf coming in August



"Records will definitely be broken – with the high calibre of kids in this competition, this I know for sure."

Confident words from Whistler Golf Club’s head professional, Alan Kristmanson, during his announcement that the club has secured the American Junior Golf Association’s prestigious Future Links Tournament Aug. 20-23, 2001.

The AJGA is the largest junior golf organization in the word and was the proving ground for top ranked alumni players such as Tiger Woods and Canada’s Mike Weir. The AJGA will be holding two tournaments in Canada this year in partnership with the Royal Canadian Golf Association, the first event being in Toronto this July. Approximately 90 boys and girls aged between 13 and 18 years will compete during the four-day Whistler event, with half the field guaranteed to be Canadian. Six Sea to Sky corridor contestants are predicted to make the cut, based on recorded rankings and performances.

Kristmanson says the high profile tournament is the perfect vehicle to showcase the $2.5 million worth of renovations carried out on the golf course over the past year.

"This is the first time the event has been held in British Columbia so we are pretty excited about the exposure it will bring the players and the facilities here," he said.

Exposure it seems, is a quality that many Canadian golfers lack, compared to those in the United States. Kristmanson says this tournament goes a step towards addressing this imbalance.

"It’s tough in Canada because we’re so spread out that sometimes it’s hard to get found out about, but now they get to play against the top level American kids and get their player profiles on the AJGA Web site."

AJGA chief operations officer, Peter Ripa, say more than 200 colleges in the U.S offer full-tuition golf scholarships, and sharp-eyed college coaches use the Web to identify up and coming talent.

"The golf ball does not know where you live, it just goes in the hole and these coaches want the top players regardless of where they live."

Expectations are already running high for top tournament performances on Whistler Golf Club’s 18 hole, par 72 course.

Kristmanson says: "I expect to see some 65, 66 scores and a 210 would probably win it on a three-day par 72."

However he says results will be weather dependent, as windy conditions on the course can make golf a lot tougher. Being 2,200 feet above sea level and still subject to the coastal weather systems also throws up a few surprises, he adds. In snowboarder terms, Whistler has "phat" air.

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