The excitement and drama of the Ottawa Sun Scramble starts up on Friday with the Royal Oak Kick-Off Day at Falcon Ridge.
Local media personalities will break the seal on the huge event as they strive to have their names etched onto the coveted Régimbal Cup. The winners will join the former champion teams of Martin Comtois and Jonathan Blouin, Mark Papousek and Bob Radmore, Kurt Stoodley and Mike Pang, Kenny Walls and Angry Al, and Chris Stevenson and Tim Baines.
Kick-off day is the official launch of the two-week festival of golf and, along with the Régimbal Media Challenge, features the main tournament’s Central Qualifier, equipment demos by TaylorMade and Cobra, the Make-A-Wish $5,000 putt competition, a long-drive contest and free hors d’oeuvres in the clubhouse.
The Michelob Ultra Million-Dollar Ace is sure to be a first day highlight. Ten people will get a shot at $1M from 165-yards out from the first green.
Two lucky shooters will be randomly drawn from the names of anyone in attendance (free for the public to attend), Ottawa Sun contest winner Anthony Webb, Royal Oak draw winner Victor Low, one winner from an Executive Golf online contest, one from the Régimbal Media Challenge, and four Sun Scramble competitors: Mary Shepherd (Ladies B); Chris Bowering (Flagstick Open); “Strongman” Travis Lyndon (Absolute Comedy C); and Marc Pilon (Flashpoint D).
While the Royal Oak Kick-Off Day is free to attend, there will be a simultaneous golf event available. A Slammer Tour match-play competition is on the schedule for a nominal play fee. This event is open to anyone who wishes to register at www.slammertour.com.
“It’s such an exciting time for the local golf community,” says PGA-member Andy Rajhathy, vice-president of Executive Golf and tournament manger. “We have several local pros playing this year in the Flagstick Open, Ladies Open and the Senior Open, and I’m really looking forward to seeing the Graham Gunn vs. Tony Dunn battle for the André Lacasse Cup at Talon and Eagle Creek.”
Local pros playing in the Flagstick Open include Colin Orr, Joe Dubinski, Bill Minkhorst, Rajhathy, Justin Riopelle, Julian James and Bob Flaro. Competing in the Ladies Open are Loch March pro Danielle Nadon and June Staton of Anderson Links.
Six-time Flagstick Open champions Allen McGee and Kyle Koski are back, but with new partners for their ninth appearance.
“I think our work as a team is complete, so we figured it was time to shake things up and try something new,” said McGee, who will be playing with his son, Hunter, while Koski hooks up with local pro Chris Bernard of Emerald Links.
But the Sun Scramble isn’t just about the region’s top golfers: it is aligned with Executive Golf’s mission to grow the game of golf – and that means encouraging more people to play more golf in support of the overall industry. The tournament has evolved since 2005 into an annual event where players of all skill-levels get the chance to compete for a city title amongst others of equal caliber – from A-class to those still trying to break 100.
“We’re trying to dispel the myth that competition is just for top players,” said Rajhathy. “As long as you’re playing against others in your own league, then you do have a fighting chance at glory and that’s why we’re working hard to encourage high-handicappers, juniors and ladies to get a partner and give it a try.”
According to tournament director and Executive Golf president, Jamie Ryan, good things can happen when kids pick up the game at an early age.
“I still remember back in 2007, watching little Brooke Henderson push her monstrous cart up the hill at Chateau Cartier’s No. 17 in the Junior Open. Her determination was apparent and inspiring then, and just look at her now.”
Ten spots remain in the Flashpoint D division (for players trying to break 100) and there is plenty of room for juniors.
To register, visit http://ottawasunscramble.com/ottawasunscramble-registration.html.