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Lambton Junior Golf Tour set to launch in May

Tara Jeffrey Mike Rocca says it’s time for young golfers to have more opportunities to shine in Sarnia-Lambton.

Tara Jeffrey

Mike Rocca says it’s time for young golfers to have more opportunities to shine in Sarnia-Lambton.

“I’d been thinking for a while that it’s time to have something locally to support the junior golfers in our area, so they don’t have to travel so far to participate in tournaments,” said Rocca, who often drives to areas like the GTA just so his 11-year-old daughter can play in tournaments. “It’d be great if we had our own tournaments to offer here in town.”

A few months ago, he reached out to a handful of people, including representatives from a couple of local golf courses, and came up with an idea: the Lambton Junior Golf Tour.

“We had a couple of online meetings and the next thing you know, we’ve got a title sponsor (IG Wealth Management), we’re affiliated with SMAA (Sarnia Minor Athletic Association) we’ve got a website going, and we’re doing it.”

The Lambton Junior Golf Tour (LJGT) invites both new and experienced golfers to participate in the program, which will launch with a season-opening combine at Huron Oaks, May 28.

That will help determine which youth are tournament-ready, Rocca explained, along with those who may benefit from an instructional component.

Players who qualify as tournament-ready will participate in four, 18-hole tournament events. On those same dates, those deemed eligible to participate in a shortened 9-hole tournament format will start with instruction, followed by nine holes of golf.

Season-long standings will also be tracked, awarding winners in each age category: 9-10, 10-13 and 14-18.

“Its been really well supported and I can’t believe that it has come together so quickly,” said Rocca. “This is completely non-profit. Everyone that’s involved is doing it on a volunteer basis, and the net proceeds all go towards the prizes for the kids.”

He’s hopeful the tour will be a great networking opportunity for young golfers in Sarnia-Lambton.

“When you have tournaments locally, it’s far better playing on courses you’re familiar with, people you know, and not driving two or three hours,” he said, adding that they’d love to bring more courses, sponsors, and participants on board each year. “Were hoping it’ll light the fire and really inspire some kids to take golf to another level — and who knows what comes out of this down the road ten years from now.”

A tournament and season closing combine held in September will also serve as the 2024 LJGT qualifier.

“You never know — we might have another Mike Weir come out of this,” he added.

“If that happens, then mission accomplished. If not, as long as the kids have fun, that’s the bottom line.”

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