Historic return to cup play for Greater Victoria, Vancouver golfers

South Island team members Penny Baziuk (from left) and Jackie Hellard, golf historian Mike Riste, and Greater Vancouver team members Diane McFarlane, Elaine Blatchford and Kathryn McGarvey gather holding vintage clubs on the first tee at Gorge Vale Golf Club before the start of the 100th anniversary Huntting Cup competition Monday. The competition alternates between the mainland and Island. (Don Descoteau/News Staff)South Island team members Penny Baziuk (from left) and Jackie Hellard, golf historian Mike Riste, and Greater Vancouver team members Diane McFarlane, Elaine Blatchford and Kathryn McGarvey gather holding vintage clubs on the first tee at Gorge Vale Golf Club before the start of the 100th anniversary Huntting Cup competition Monday. The competition alternates between the mainland and Island. (Don Descoteau/News Staff)
Captains Kathryn McGarvey, left, of the Greater Vancouver team and Lenore Davis of the south Island team lay hands on the Huntting Cup before competition began at Gorge Vale Golf Club on Monday. The day’s play marked the 100th edition of the team event. (Don Descoteau/News Staff)Captains Kathryn McGarvey, left, of the Greater Vancouver team and Lenore Davis of the south Island team lay hands on the Huntting Cup before competition began at Gorge Vale Golf Club on Monday. The day’s play marked the 100th edition of the team event. (Don Descoteau/News Staff)
South Island team member Jackie Hellard tees off on the first hole at Gorge Vale Golf Club in Huntting Cup play Aug. 8. (Don Descoteau/News Staff)South Island team member Jackie Hellard tees off on the first hole at Gorge Vale Golf Club in Huntting Cup play Aug. 8. (Don Descoteau/News Staff)
Volunteer historian Mike Riste of the B.C. Golf House Society tees up a replica antique ball and holds a vintage wood-shaft driver, while at Gorge Vale Golf Course in Esquimalt for the 100th Huntting Cup ladies golf competition. (Don Descoteau/News Staff)Volunteer historian Mike Riste of the B.C. Golf House Society tees up a replica antique ball and holds a vintage wood-shaft driver, while at Gorge Vale Golf Course in Esquimalt for the 100th Huntting Cup ladies golf competition. (Don Descoteau/News Staff)

When one considers that the Ladies Professional Golf Association has only been around since 1950, celebrating the 100th anniversary of a B.C. tournament seems a jaw-dropping accomplishment.

It’s no surprise then, that organizers and players taking part in the Huntting Cup match play competition were excited about this year’s event, held Monday (Aug. 8) at Gorge Vale Golf Club in Esquimalt.

Since 1922 the tournament has pitted top women golfers from the Greater Vancouver region – who now compete to qualify for the Sweeny Cup team – against a south Island crew known today as the Harris-Erickson group.

“It’s a huge big deal, for women’s golf to have a trophy competed for, for 100 years … I get teary actually,” said Sweeny Cup team captain Kathryn McGarvey, who has played in this competition for upwards of 30 years. “It gives me goosebumps to think about all the players who have played in this ahead of us.”

She recalled being at the 80th cup tournament when legendary Victoria golfer and B.C. and Canadian hall of famer Margaret Todd gave a speech at Royal Colwood. “I just feel so connected to history here.”

On the course, the visitors, featuring a roster of 16 players with handicaps of 10 or less, captured the cup winning 10 of 16 matches, with one match tied. They outscored the Harris-Erickson league crew (handicaps of 15-under) by a combined score of 147.5 to 140.5 in this first competition since 2019, when their team won at Peace Portal in White Rock.

Island match winners were Penny Baziuk, Cindy Brown, Alison Murdoch, Marlies Russell and Mary Braithwaite, while mainland winners included Diane McFarlane, Karen Pultz, Tricia Rachfall, Vicki Potter, Phllis Laschuk, June Zhang, Denise O’Connor, Mary Freeman, Mellodee Rayne and McGarvey.

Greater Vancouver has maintained a definite edge over the years, winning all but 28 events including two rare ties. The Victoria crew last won in 2018 at Uplands Golf Club and previously hoisted the cup at Gorge Vale in 2008.

Harris-Erickson captain Lenore Davis, who plays out of the host club, was thrilled to see this competition return after three years.

“There’s an awful lot of golf talent out here, but you can see also the sense of camaraderie, the feeling that the women are meeting up again. We haven’t seen each other for a couple of years in competitive golf. The feeling is just awesome here today,” she said.

“Some of the leading women who’ve competed for B.C., there’s a couple of them here at this tournament, but they’ve come from the lower Island and Vancouver for years. It’s just a great calibre of golf.”

The original competition saw women from the Colwood and Victoria golf clubs take on those from Jericho and Shaughnessy Heights.

The 2022 competitors got a chance to relive a wee bit of history before the tournament Monday, as B.C. Golf House Society historian Mike Riste brought a couple of dozen vintage clubs and balls to add to the historical atmosphere.

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