Ryan Sheppard has earned himself a nickname among his fellow travellers in the Yellowknife chapter of the Mediocre Golf Association circuit:
That’s because he’s finished so close to the top in several MGA tournaments without winning one. How many times exactly? Shaun Morris, the chapter’s president, said it’s been eight runner-ups.
His nickname can be shelved for a short while as he finally got off the schnide this past weekend at the Yellowknife Golf Club.
Sheppard captured top spot in The MGA, a play on the PGA Championship, finishing with a score of 87, one shot better than Bob Ross, who carded an 88. Sheppard’s win gave him the big cheque of $1.35 and sole possession of top spot on the chapter’s money list.
Sheppard’s round was actually 83 but under MGA rules, penalty strokes are added based on a player’s handicap. Because of that, Sheppard had four strokes added to his final score.
“They (penalty strokes) brought me back,” said Sheppard. “Still, it was my best round of the year so far.”
The players were greeted with a stiff wind in some spots for the entire round, which Sheppard said was both a hindrance and a help.
“Definitely helped you if you were playing with the wind behind you,” he said. “You could drop down a club with the wind helping you so club selection was really important.”
Sheppard also gave plenty of credit to the drink cart which traversed the course for much of the round, saying it certainly helped with the attitude.
“You pop back a few fireballs and all of a sudden, you’re firing darts,” he said.
More than 40 players teed off, including some from Hay River, and Morris said it couldn’t have been a better night for golf.
“We started out with gusty wind but it died down about 10 holes or so into the round,” he said.
Sheppard’s win kept the title in the family as his father, Craig Sheppard, was the winner of the 2020 edition of the event, something Morris said must have been a huge relief for sonny boy.
“No longer will he have to live in his dad’s shadow,” he said. “Ryan’s been the Greg Norman of the MGA and he was very happy when we announced he was the winner.”
The top women’s player was Thip Chanthalangsy as she carded a 102.
This event will now serve as the official midnight tournament for the chapter. It used to be that the FORE! Championship served as the late-night special but that all changed when the PGA moved its schedule around.
“The PGA Championship is now in spring and so the MGA moved it up in the schedule to match that,” said Morris. “They adjusted so we adjusted.”
Next up for the chapter will be the F.U. Open, the MGA’s take on the U.S. Open, happening on July 11.