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Longtime members Pires and Aukema both claim club championship for second time
Roger Pires is living proof you don’t have to hit a golf ball a mile to play with the big boys.
At age 60, Pires captured his second Osoyoos Golf Club men’s club championship this past weekend shooting 76 on opening day on Saturday and following that up with a 78 on Sunday.
Winning the club championship for the second time – he captured his first title back in 2009 – at age 60 makes this victory even sweeter, said Pires.
Being consistent and keeping the ball in play off the tee have always been his keys to success on the golf course and that’s not going to change any time soon, he said.
“When I’m playing against the guys who hit the ball a mile, I don’t even look,” he said smiling. “I know my game and it’s not about hitting it as far as they do, but about hitting it down the middle and keeping the ball in play.
“All weekend, my driver was working beautifully and I hit almost every drive right down the centre of the fairway and I was able to hit the green with my approach shot on most holes and that’s why I scored as well as I did.”
If not for a shaky putter, Pires said he would have shot much better than he did.
“I didn’t put well at all because I should have scored a lot better than I actually did,” he said. “As I mentioned earlier, I was hitting the ball beautifully from tee to green all weekend, but I didn’t putt well and it cost me quite a few strokes.
“Obviously, it was still good enough to win and I guess that’s all that really counts.”
Born in Portugal, Pires grew up in southern France and didn’t play much golf at all until moving to Osoyoos in his early 30s and landing a job as a greens keeper at the Osoyoos Golf Club.
“I didn’t play much golf at all until I moved here,” he said. “After I got the job that I held for 30 years, I started playing more and more and I got addicted just like everybody else. Golf is a game you can play for most of your life no matter how old you are and that really appealed to me.”
After having hip replacement surgery back in 2007, Pires said he’s playing some of the best golf of his life since that time.
“I haven’t had any pain since my surgery and it has made a huge difference in my golf game,” he said. “I won my first club championship two years after that surgery and that’s something I will always be proud of.”
Pires captured the club championship by a single stroke over Jeff Duguid, who led the tournament after shooting a 75 on Saturday, but fell back a bit on Sunday with an 80.
Pires had a four-stroke lead heading into the final nine holes on Sunday and held on for the one-shot victory.
“I knew I had a comfortable lead heading home, but I was nervous and played a couple of bad holes down the stretch, but I hung in there and managed to scrape out the victory,” he said.
Paule Aukema joined Pires in winning her second club championship as she shot 77 on Saturday on the Desert Gold course and followed that up with an 82 on Sunday on the Park Meadows course to easily claim the women’s championship.
Aukema moved to Osoyoos from Calgary with her family back in 2007 to retire and chose this community in large part because of her love of golf and how much she and her husband enjoy the Osoyoos Golf Club.
“We used to vacation in Osoyoos for many years and I just love this club,” she said.
Aukema said her short game was the key to this title.
“I putted fantastic and my overall short game was very solid,” she said. “My chipping and putting was great and that kept my score down.”
She always gets nervous playing in the club championship tournament , said Aukema.
“You want to play well in the club championship because it’s a big deal to the members,” she said. “I always get nervous, but I do love the competition and it was nice to win this for a second time.”
Jordan Schulting won the junior club championship with rounds of 83 and 86, while Fred Meester won the senior men’s title shooting outstanding rounds of 77 and 74 for a two-day total of 151.
A total of 130 golfers participated in the club championship tourney.