Brockville Country Club hosts first major golf tournament since 2019

A major golf tournament begins in Brockville on Monday, something that hasn't been seen at the Brockville Country Club (BCC) in two years.

"COVID-19 has just been a curse very frankly, it's shut down a lot of things," said host tournament chair David Dargie on Saturday. "But this is our time to shine with a provincial event."

Now that the province is in Step 3 of the reopening plan, spectators will be allowed at the tournament, according to Dargie, albeit safely.

"We're going to meet them at the entrance to the parking lot and direct them to the registration tent," Dargie said. "They'll go through a COVID check, they'll sign the contact listing and then they'll be given a band each day, four different bands to come onto the course as spectators."

"It's a golf course, we'll spread it out. That's the beauty of golf!" Dargie added. "Social distancing!"

Ninety-four of the top junior golfers in the province are registered for the 2021 Ontario Junior (U19) Girls' Championship, with some pretty big names winning this tournament in the past, including Brooke Henderson who won in 2011 and 2012.

Golf Ontario coordinator Jessie Mercer is glad to finally get this tournament underway.

"Brockville was slated to host this last year in 2020, and then, of course, COVID had plans of its own, so it's almost been two years in the making," Mercer said.

"A provincial stage, no matter the sport, is a big stage to begin with," Mercer added. "Last year there just wasn't the same amount of competitions out there and so for these girls to be able to come here to Brockville and to show their skills against their competitive peers is a huge accomplishment for them."

"They've all earned their spot one way or another to be in this field and we are thrilled to have them," Mercer said.

Like 16-year-old Sonya Weerasinghe from Richmond Hill.

"It's super exciting to get back out here," Weerasinghe said on the practice green. "Being in lockdown for so long it feels so good to just get out with all the girls and just compete again."

Alexis McMurray from Oakville feels the same way. She's been preparing mentally and physically throughout the pandemic.

"I kind of had a setup going in my garage for a while which was just getting it done and it made me really excited to get back out again," McMurray said, complimenting the course.

"The greens are rolling pretty good, so it's exciting and I'm excited to get out there see what it's like," she added.

This is McMurray's final year to play in this tournament. In the fall she'll be off to the University of Minnesota to continue her career.

This tournament will also be a bonus for the city of Brockville, bringing in much-needed revenue for area businesses.

"It's about an 80 to 85 thousand dollar event, so that's good money," said Dargie. "Considering accommodations really haven't had a lot of business, and the same with food and beverage, we're going to put some dollars into some of the pockets of the local businesses."

The last provincial championship held at the BCC was for the junior men, way back in 1989.

"I'd like to welcome these folks coming from all over Ontario and we hope that we get some spectators out," Dargie added, hoping the weather cooperates.

"If we get days like this, we're blessed," he said.

The Ontario Junior (U19) Girls' Championship runs from August 2 to 5, and if you cannot attend in person, live scoring can be found on the Golf Association of Ontario website.