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Idylwylde Club Championships cap off the summer

Some have been here before - often; others were completely new to the scene. Some battles went to extra holes; others were not nearly as close.

When all was said and done, the Idylwylde Golf & Country Club had crowned five new club champions, along with recognizing a number of other flight and age group winners.

Showing the way, for the 16th time no less, was Vince Palladino, sliding in ahead of both Jesse Graham and Scott Whalen, while Tim Gordon finished first in the Men's Red Tee Club Championship, besting Paul Clark and Matt Venugopal.

On the ladies side, it was a very familiar last name, though time around, honours would go to Kaitlin Sheridan. The 31 year-old daughter of Idylwylde legend Louise Sheridan got the better of both Deb Maltais and Stephanie Dales, highlighting a summer in which she has spent a little more time on the course that she knows well.

"I golfed as a junior for a few years, but there weren't a lot of girls playing golf at the time, so I lost interest and pursued other things," said Sheridan. Yes, working your way through medical school can be a little taxing on the schedule (or so they tell me!).

"I would play a round here or there, either with my parents or my brother, maybe just a round or two a year. This year, I joined as a member, so I've been playing very regularly for the first time in a while."

"The consistency definitely improved, probably by the end of July," Sheridan added. "As a fairly novice golfer still, it comes and goes, of course."

And there is that small matter of genetics, as any good doctor should know.

"My golf swing is much more similar to my mom than my dad," Sheridan noted with a smile. "We both drive the ball pretty well - but her short game is far better than mine."

Despite the comfortable win, Sheridan is not about to get carried away with her golf game - at least not just yet.

"I would never endeavour to be in some kind of a circuit, but I do have the hopes of legitimately beating my mother someday," she laughed. "Maybe by the time she turns 65 - but that's a lofty goal."

Overall winner of the Junior Club Championship, Johnny Svalina was on a nice little run in August, adding the Idylwylde Jr Invitational to his trophy-case just a few weeks later.

"Personally, I've always approached the (junior) club championship with a little more passion," suggested the 16 year-old grade 12 student at Lo-Ellen Park Secondary School. "The winner of that gets a free invitation back to the Men's Invitational."

"I was happy to put together two really good rounds this year."

Outlasting Nikolaus Harry and Vincent Palladino, Svalina is keeping his post-secondary options open, still looking at institutions on both sides of the border. Either way, he fully expects his competitive golf career to follow him beyond his high-school days as he looks to refine his game.

"One thing I have really been focusing on is staying sharp, mentally, on and off the course," he said. "I always say that there are 15 clubs in my bag, and my brain is the 15th club. I just have to continue working with my coaches."

Meanwhile, Jim Christison earned bragging rights in the senior circuit, at least in terms of the Club Championship, while Cam Hreljac fired a two-under par round of 70 to lay claim to the Idylwylde Senior Men's Open. Carla Byck edged Anne Bouffard on the first playoff hole to capture the Ladies Senior Club Championship.

At the Junior Invitational, it was Mindemoya native Noah Thorpe who topped the Bantam Division field, in spite of the fact that is home course of Brookwood Brae might not completely prepare him for all that the Idylwylde course would send his way.

"They have bunkers here and we don't have any bunkers at home, so I had to watch a few You Tube videos on that," he said. "I was in the bunker two or three times, but you just try and hit it four inches behind the ball."

Still, the grade nine student at Manitoulin Secondary who also enjoyed top placements this summer at Forest Ridge and Lively was more than pleased with the way his game came together with challenging conditions.

"At home, I haven't been hitting my driver at all," he said. "I was hitting it into the bush, hitting it into the water. Today, I hit quite a few fairways."

Finally, Connor Di Salle trimmed his brother Ryan by just one stroke in the Juvenile grouping, battling the elements for the win. "It was pretty windy, we thought storms might be coming out, but they held out," said the 16 year-old Idylwylde member.

"For sure, this was not my best round (84). I've shot in the seventies plenty of times this year."

Like most young golfers, Di Salle can struggle at times with the inevitable ups and downs of most rounds, though he was pleased with his approach coming home. "Sometimes it's hard not to get angry when you make a few bad shots in a row and you know that you probably can do better than that," he said.

"I had to reset after fifteen. You can't get those back, so I just focused on making a good shot here."

Di Salle would also ride a nice steady putter to victory, one of the trademarks of a typical round for the Lo-Ellen Park senior. "I know the greens here pretty well and I'm a good putter on this course," he said.

"It's probably the best part of my game. Putting is all about feel - and I trust whatever line I read."

In news away from the course, Idylwylde junior Joseph Colasimone has been awarded a $3000 scholarship from Golf Ontario. The award is based on both his competitive golf performance and his academic achievements in grade 12.

A regular on the junior tour circuit in recent summers, Colasimone is currently studying towards a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Laurentian University, having just begun his freshman year.

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