You wouldn’t think golf in November in Yellowknife would be a thing, but it is when you’re with the Yellowknife chapter of the Mediocre Golf Association (MGA).

The local chapter will be sending its largest contingent to date to Las Vegas for the MGA World Championships, which kick off on Friday. As has been the case over the years, there are two separate events happening: the world championship itself for those who either finished in the top-16 on their respective chapter money list, won a tournament in 2022 or finished inside the top-15 in the 2021 Born Hairy Tournament. That’s happening at the Revere Golf Club.

The aforementioned Born Hairy Tournament, a play on the Korn Ferry Tour, is for those who didn’t meet the requirements for the world championship, but played enough with their chapter this season. They’ll be at the Arroyo Golf Club.

Yellowknife will have nine players competing in each of those events.

Shaun Morris, president of the Yellowknife chapter, said of those competing in the world championship, Kevin Hewitt has one of the best chances of putting up a good result.

“He played really well this season,” he said. “The only worry is the penalty strokes — he has 10 to deal with, so his lowest score would be 90 with penalty strokes.”

The penalty strokes are based on a player’s handicap; shots are added to a player’s gross score to come up with a net score for any round. Any player shooting under 80 in any round equals automatic disqualification — you’re too good, according to MGA rules. That’s only ever happened once in the history of the MGA in Yellowknife: Andy Williams shot 79 in The Last Gasp in 2018 and was given the boot.

JP Brabant is another player who could come up big in Vegas, said Morris.

“When he makes contact, he hits the ball a mile,” he said. “The problem is it isn’t always straight. If he can keep the distance and keep it in the fairways, he has a chance.”

And there’s Justin Bailey, who moved to Montreal in late June, but still counts as a Yellowknife player because he registered here at the start of the season.

Morris figures he could make a splash simply because he’s played on grass for most of the season.

“He’s played MGA events in Montreal and all that time on grass could be an advantage,” he said.

As for the Born Hairy circuit, Morris said that’s a crap-shoot because all you need is two good rounds and you could play yourself right into the main event the following year. That’s how Bailey and his wife, Winter Bailey, ended up in the world championship this year.

“Justin and Winter finished in the top-15 last year and the top-15 from the year before get spots in the big one,” said Morris. “Darin (Black) could win his way in — he only has two penalty strokes to worry about. Anyone could do it.”

In addition to the two big events, there are a couple of side tournaments that Yellowknife competitors could find themselves in contention for. The Chapters Cup is given to the team that has the three players who together shoot the three lowest 36-hole net scores during their rounds.

Hewitt will also be playing in what’s known as the Medio Cup, a Ryder Cup-style tournament featuring the top 10 on the MGA World Money List who will be in Las Vegas versus the top 10 from the San Francisco chapter, the founding chapter of the MGA. It isn’t a head-to-head matchplay competition like it is in the Ryder Cup, but each of the 10 players are matched up against one another for 36 holes. Each player will play their own rounds and whoever has the best 36-hole total between the two players paired against one another, that player earns a point for their team total.

Morris said he thinks Yellowknife just may have a shot at everything simply because of the weather.

“It’s going to be a great equalizer,” he said. “It’s supposed to be 12-13 C while we’re there. All of our southern friends will be freaking out, and that’s shorts weather for us.”

Here’s the full Yellowknife roster:

MGA World Championship

Kevin Hewitt

JP Brabant

Hughie Graham

Jim Karhut

Shaun Morris

James McKay

Ryan Sheppard

Justin Bailey

Winter Bailey

Born Hairy Tour

Darin Black

Alex Bornilla

Thip Chanthalangsy

Sou Chanthalangsy

Dan Drimes

Karlee McKay

Jenni Bruce

Gaeleen MacPherson

Devin Howse

source: MGA Yellowknife

James McCarthy

I've been hanging around the office as the sports editor for the better part of the last 16 years. In August 2022, NNSL Media decided to promote me to the managing editor's position, which I accepted after...

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