Young golfer’s drive pays off

When 11-year-old Cody Bailey travelled to Prince Rupert to compete in his first golf tournament, he didn’t think he had much of a shot.

Cody Bailey on the putting green at the Skeena Valley Golf Course. He took the low-net title at the Prince Rupert Centennial Golf Course Junior Jubilee on Aug. 12

When 11-year-old Cody Bailey travelled to Prince Rupert to compete in his first golf tournament, he didn’t think he had much of a shot – especially when he saw that the athletes he was competing against were between 13 and 18 years old.

But Cody left the Prince Rupert Junior Jubilee on Aug. 12 as the low-net winner, shooting 103 on the par 70 course on both days.

In golf, the low-net winner is the player who shoots the best overall compared to his handicap, while the low-gross winner is the golfer who shoots the best out of the whole field. Cody’s handicap right now is 25.

But the tournament wasn’t his personal best.

“That was two weeks ago,” said Cody, at the Skeena Valley Golf Course after participating in the last day of the junior summer golf program.

“I shot 83.”

“He’s probably out here five, six times a week,” said his Dad, Allan, noting that golf is pretty much all Cody wants to do.

The Skeena Valley Golf Course junior program ran all summer and Cody was an avid participant.

Even though the program is over, Tuesday nights are still designated junior night at the course.

Cody, who attends Uplands Elementary, also plays soccer and hockey. But golf is his passion. He’s even started beating his dad out on the course – and teaching his younger sister the ways of the green.

Cody started playing over three years ago with his dad, shooting balls at the range and taking a few shots here and there out playing rounds on the course.

He won a fun tournament put on by the junior program last summer.

But the Junior Jubilee in Prince Rupert was his first serious, out-of-town competition.

Cody is hoping to get a job at the golf course next summer, and he’s already talking about the B.C. Summer Games.

The low-net award is in memory of Francis Marie Wharton Loeppky, who was a junior at the Centennial Golf Course.

She died on the highway between Rupert and Terrace in 2003 and her mother has been giving out the award since 2004 and will do so until 2014. The plaque reads: “May a spark of her spirit and determination remain within you.”

“It’s a real honour,” said Cody’s Dad.

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