Garrett Kucher may have been filled with nerves but he never showed it.
The nerves weren’t from the pressure of trying to win the 72nd Rossland-Trail Open. It wasn’t the stress of making the longdrive from Fort St. John to Chilliwack to Trail in a matter of days. And it wasn’t from competing against one of the best fieldsassembled for the annual event.
No, the nerves came from the abundance of familiar faces who were eager to see the 23-year-old play golf locally.
With grandparents following his every shot, family and friends wishing him well and many more cheering him on, Kucherresponded with rounds of 72-69-71 for a four-under par 212 total and the tournament title.
That gave him a one-stroke victory over Dylan Maine of Spokane, a three-time winner of the event. Dan Dupuis, the 2013winner, finished third with a 215 total.
Kucher said whether he was playing for $50,000 or for $500, it was his family in attendance that made the weekend one he’llnever forget.
“It was so cool coming up the 18th with all the people at the back of the green and my family there,” he said. “It was probablythe coolest part of my career so far.”
Kucher kept his cool back on the tee box on the final hole. Maine, who was one stroke behind Kucher coming home, was firston the tee and sent his drive into the trees.
That was all Kucher needed to see to lock in the win.
“That’s when I grabbed an iron and played it safe. I didn’t think (Maine) could birdie the hole from the trees.”
Kucher was right and his final putt sent his entire family entourage into jubilation.
“This was the biggest event of the summer for me to play in,” said Kucher.
While he has enjoyed great success playing this year with two victories on the Vancouver Golf Tour, Sunday’s win in Trail wasmuch bigger on some many levels.
“It was the first time playing in a golf tournament in the Kootenays,” he admitted, adding it was also the first opportunitymany family members have watched him play.
They have followed his exploits in the newspaper and online but to see him play and win at home was something Kucher willnever forget.
Kucher said the path to victory turned on Saturday when he was paired with the first-round leader and delivered a three-under par 69.
“I knew I was going to be close then.”
He locked it up with a one-under par round on Sunday.
In conjunction with the R-T Open, the club also held its Senior Men’s championship for golfers over-50.
Brad Harding won the low gross category and John Kim claimed the low net crown.