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Tuesday, Nov. 20, 2018
Tristan Renaud crowned Ontario Junior golf champion
by Randy Pascal

There was a definite buzz in the local golf community this week, and it went far beyond simply the annual contesting of the Ryder Cup.

Sixteen year-old Tristan Renaud of the Idylwylde Golf & Country Club stirred up memories of a similarly-aged Vince Palladino, capturing the 2017 Investors Group Ontario Junior Boys’ Championship with a dominating performance at The Rock Golf Club in Minnett.

More impressive, however, was the scope of the victory. Shooting rounds of 68-75-70-68 (281), Renaud finished at one over par, no less than ten shots better than both Angelo Giantsopoulos (Richmond Hill) and Marcus Khaw (Burlington).

“I was hitting the clubs that I was hitting very precisely,” said Renaud. “My four iron, hybrid, three wood were all right on line, most of the time. You can’t miss on either side on this course. It’s hazard and out of bounds and bush lining both sides of the fairway, all the time.”

While the grade 12 student at St Charles College was feeling very good about his game, dating back to this spring, this four day sequence took him to a whole new level. “I knew how good I was hitting it and I was so conscious of exactly what the club face was doing at impact,” he stated.

“I was so conscious of exactly where the ball was going to end up when I was over the ball, I didn’t think there was any possible chance that anybody was going to beat me.” While that might sound cocky, avid golfers will attest it is far more a by-product of simply being focused beyond belief, locked in to the moment in a manner that few, if any, could match.

“On day one, I was three under on the front nine,” recalled Renaud. “Nobody else was doing that. When I made that turn, I remember thinking that I was making this golf course seem pretty easy, and it’s not. When I looked at the leaderboard at the end of that day, it was pretty astounding that some really good players were not breaking forty, breaking eighty even.”

Part of this leap forward is attributable to the steady maturation in the manner in which Renaud attacks a course, a skill-set that had begun to emerge even as he became the youngest golfer since Palladino to receive a guest entry into the prestigious Idylwylde Invitational a few years back.

It is no longer about showing off his ability to produce prodigious drives off the tee. “I would rather lay up and have more fairway to work with, and probably have a better angle in to the hole, than rip a driver up to the 100 yard marker,” said Renaud. In the grand scheme of things, the impact of this victory alone undoubtedly opened more doors, south of the border, for the local product that any other tournament in his life.

“Finishing ten shots ahead is great, anywhere, but at that golf course, is incredible, because it’s so easy to make a mistake,” he suggested. “You need to be laser focused there.” Come September, Renaud should expect a flood of enquiries from NCAA Division I programs, the first chance the schools have to formally talk to him.

“Teams, in general, like to fill their rosters ahead of time, so for someone like me to get hot now, it’s the perfect time.” And while some might think the best strategy now is to leave well enough alone, that is simply not in Renaud’s DNA.

“I’m going to keep working,” he said. “There still are things that did not go right at the Rock. A lot of things went right, a couple of things didn’t. If I didn’t have anywhere to improve, then I would be on tour. It’s an accomplishment, but it doesn’t mean I can stop working.”

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