Keeping his eye on the birdie

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Alex Gerrard competing at Scotland's Euro golf tourney

INNISFAIL – It’s a hole in one kind of opportunity.

Fourteen-year-old Alex Gerrard of Innisfail was recently chosen to represent his country as part of Team Canada at the 2018 Euro Junior Golf Cup in Scotland.

“I’m pretty excited. I’m not too nervous because I’ve played in enough golf tournaments now, but I’ve never been to Scotland,” said Gerrard. “It’ll be cool to experience it because that’s where golf started.”

The three-day tournament takes place at three different golf courses, including the famed St. Andrews Links, from Aug. 7 to 9.

“We’ll play a practice round on each course. Then the tournament is three days on three different courses,” he said, noting Team Canada will have a two-day team building camp in Toronto prior to their departure for Scotland.

The event is previously known as the World Junior Golf Cup. It was developed in 1998 around St. Andrews, Scotland and is held every year. Three countries take part in the Euro Junior Golf Cup: Canada, the United States and Scotland.

The three teams compete in singles matches over three days with the winner earning the John Clark Trophy.

“I played in the qualifier in Airdrie in June to qualify for Team Canada,” said Gerrard, noting the all-boys team was assembled by the Canadian Junior Golf Association (CJGA), and includes a total of eight members, six under 19 and two under 15 years of age.

It will be Gerrard’s first team event and his first international tournament.

He noted how weather and terrain will add to a different golfing experience for him.

“The golf courses over there are a lot different than the ones here,” he said. “It’s a different style of play almost, so you need to figure out how to play on courses like that. They’re more firm and flat and there’s not as many trees but long grass, the ball will roll a lot more and it will be windy,” explained Gerrard.

He was introduced to the sport at a young age, developed a keen interest and now trains year-round.

“I started golfing when I was six and (participated in) my first tournament at eight,” said Gerrard. “I didn’t start playing in lots of tournaments until I was 11 or 12 and I started working with my coach, Jamie Reimer in Calgary when I was 11.

“I practise almost every day,” he added, noting he often hits the greens at the Innisfail Golf Club and Red Deer Country Club.

Upon his return from Scotland, Gerrard said he sees golf in his future at both the high school and college levels.

“I enjoy it and I want to keep improving,” Gerrard concluded.

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Kristine Jean

Kristine Jean is a reporter with the Innisfail Province, joining the newspaper in 2015. She covers Penhold municipal politics, news and community events as well as sports in and around the town as well as in Innisfail.