Part of international competition is adapting your game on foreign soil.
Moose Jaw golfer Leighton Bearchell got a taste of that last week when he represented Canada at the 2012 Stephen Ames Cup at St. Andrews Golf Club in Moka, Trinidad and Tobago.
The 17-year-old golfer and his Canadian teammates beat the Trinidad and Tobago team 12-4 over three days of match play competition.
“It was extremely humid and hot. When you walked outside it was like walking into a wall of water,” said Bearchell. “I found that the ball didn’t go as far because the air was so heavy.”
Not only was the climate different, but so were the conditions on the course.
“The greens have different grass over there. They were very grainy,” said Bearchell. “It was interesting.”
Bearchell won two of three matches he played under the match play format.
“I hit it pretty well. I was pretty happy with my game,” said Bearchell.
“It was lots of fun. I had a good time.”
Bearchell was paired with the Canadian captain Matt Williams from Calgary who helped Canada win the Stephen Ames Cup the last time it was held in T&T in 2010.
On the first day of competition, Bearchell and Williams played Andrei Collins and Jake Delaney and won a hard fought match of best ball golf.
The Canadians won the first point on the 11th hole and they led by a single point heading to the 18th hole, but were able to half the hole and win the match.
The next day they played alternate shot against the same T&T duo and finished with a one-up win. The Canadian pair were three shots up after 12 holes, but saw the boys from Trinidad fight back to tie it up.
“We ended up winning 12-4, but it could have been a lot closer than that. A few of the matches were pretty close. We won one-up a few times,” said Bearchell.
While match play is fairly rare, Bearchell enjoyed it.
“Playing alternate shot and best ball with a partner creates more of a team aspect to the game,” said Bearchell.
“We fed off of each other. When he had a good shot we ran with it almost. It’s a different feel when you’re playing with somebody against other people.”
On the final day of competition, Delaney beat Bearchell in their singles match. Delaney took the 17th hole to go two up and end the match.
Over the course of the competition, the eight-player co-ed teams go to know each other pretty well.
“It was good to get to know the kids though. We started off as strangers and then ended up being friends in the end,” said Bearchell.