Participants in the sixth annual Quesnel Special Olympics Golf Tournament pose for a photo. Laura Hender photo

Local athletes drive for victory at Special Olympic golf tourney

Matt Hender improved score by ten strokes to take second in A Division

The weather held up for the sixth annual Quesnel Special Olympics golf tournament this past weekend (Sept. 7-8).

Despite calls for rain, the 31 golfers from Quesnel, Prince George and Fort St. John enjoyed perfect conditions for their tournament at the Quesnel Golf Club.

Saturday saw the athletes compete in individual stroke play, and there were four winners for the four divisions the competitors were split into.

In the A Division for the best golfers, Matthew Hender was the top local, finishing second.

“He improved his score by 10 strokes [from last year’s tournament],” says Quesnel’s Special Olympics program co-ordinator, Rick Prosk.

“He actually played in the B Division last year, so to finish second in the A Division is a good improvement for him.”

Also shining for the locals was Rob Beiswanger, who finished first in the B Division. Clayton Bauder was not far behind, ending up with a third-place finish in the same category.

In the C Division, Paul Goyette and Douglas King finished first and second; while in the D Division, Quesnel athletes had a clean sweep, with Martin Scriver, Cherie Swaan and Cheyene Janes claiming first, second and third.

On Sunday, the athletes competed in pairs using a modified best ball format.

“We take the payers from the top two divisions and match up the athlete with the highest score with the athlete with the lowest score and put them together to play as a pair and then work our way down to the middle,” says Prosk.

“So the top golfers are playing with the weakest golfers, and then we get to the golfers that are pretty well matched in the middle.”

The two lower divisions were similarly matched up.

Six pairs took to the links in the C/D Division, and nine pairs competed in the A/B division.

Clayton Bauder and his partner Sam Russell from Prince George won the A/B Division, while Cherie Swaan and Miranda Laboucane from Fort St. John took first place in the C/D Division.

Awards were also handed out for a putting contest, with Quesnel taking three out of five.

Matthew Hender, Dean Cake and Cheyenne Janes all claimed prizes.

Quesnel also fared very well in the closest-to-the-pin contest, with Matthew Hender, Travis Burt and Cory Melnychuk winning all three available awards.

READ MORE: Special Olympic Golf tournament worth the drive

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