Renaud the youngest golfer ever to win the Idylwylde
by Randy Pascal
Back in the summer of 2014, organizers of the Idylwylde Invitational, and the likes of Robbie Coe and Vince Palladino more
specifically, pushed for an exemption status to be granted to a then 13 year-old phenom by the name of Tristan Renaud.
Turns out the folks at the Idylwylde apparently know a thing or two about golf.
Renaud has put together one of the most memorable months in the history of Sudbury golf, following up a dominant win at the 2017 Investors Group
Ontario Junior Golf Championship earlier in July with his first ever triumph at the prestigious Idylwylde Invitational this past weekend.
With a 6 & 5 dismantling of Connor Watt, Renaud became the youngest golfer, by far, to claim the title in the seventy year history of the event.
In fact, next to Renaud, who doesn't even turn 17 until December 20th, the next youngest Idylwylde champion would be a then 19 year old Ian MacDonald,
who hoisted the trophy back in 1995.
There was seldom a blip in Renaud's game, over the course of the three days, as he opened by tying for the best qualifying round, at 70 on Friday, and then
knocked off Jim Christison (6 & 4), Ward Kyle (2 & 1) and two-time champion Ryan Willoughby (3 & 2) en route to his crown.
While both victories are huge in their own right, Renaud provided some interesting comparisons in both his play, as well as his post-championship
mindset for the two tournaments.
"I would say that my level of play was maybe a little bit poorer this week than the Ontario Juniors, but my level of focus was right there for both," he
said. "I was thinking about every single shot, trying to maximize what I was getting out of my game."
"This one feels a little bit different because it's on my home course. It's the Idylwylde Invitational, the biggest tournament I've known since I was
11 years old. In that respect, it's pretty cool. The Ontario Juniors certainly doesn't blow this out of the water, because you have to play well at both,
but it's definitely an accomplishment that I will see more come out of."
With so many talented young local golfers now staking their claim as legitimate contenders in this field, it should come as no surprise that Renaud would
look back to a battle of Sudbury teenagers as the key turning point of his weekend.
"Through ten holes with Ward Kyle, I was two down and he was just playing lethally," said Renaud. "There was nothing I could really do about it, the putts
weren't dropping. I stepped up on #11 and I thought I've got to do something special."
"I started making birdies, grinding out pars. From that point on, it just seemed to all fall in place." By the time the final arrived on Sunday afternoon,
Connor Watt would be teeing it up with a golfer who arguably is playing as well as any amateur in the province at the moment.
In the end, Renaud would have nothing but praise for the runner-up who would knock off the likes of Todd Crowder (4 & 3), Mike Roberts
(19th hole) and Nick Quesnel (1 up) before settling for second place.
"I admire sportsmanship and his positive attitude, even when it was going down, or I got a lucky break, it was admirable," said Renaud. "I enjoyed
playing with him." Such is the quality and depth of the field, these days, that a first flight showdown between Kyle Rank and Mike Zizek
could constitute "must see golf", in most years, if not for the downpour of rain on Sunday, as Zizek pulled just ahead of the defending champ in the end.
Zizek ousted tournament veteran Frank Kucher (3 & 2) in one semi-final, while Rank did likewise to Jude Johnson (1 up) in the other. Former Idylwylde pro Ryan Bastien
captured the second flight with a 1 up win over Adam Simpson, while Brett Wilkinson knocked off teenager Evan MacLean in the third
flight bracket final.
Following is a complete recap of championship flight play:
Round of Sixteen
Tristan Renaud beat Jim Christison - 6 & 4
Ward Kyle beat Marc Lefebvre - 1 up
Emmett Taillefer beat Ryan Hagger - 1 up
Ryan Willoughby beat Marshall Graper - 3 & 2
Connor Watt beat Todd Crowder - 4 & 3
Mike Roberts beat Darren Edward - 4 & 2
Nick Quesnel beat Jay Jewett - 2 up
Vince Palladino beat John Kusnierczyk - 5 & 3
Tristan Renaud beat Ward Kyle - 2 & 1
Ryan Willoughby beat Emmett Taillefer - 3 & 1
Connor Watt beat Mike Roberts - 19th hole
Nick Quesnel beat Vince Palladino - 2 & 1
Tristan Renaud beat Ryan Willoughby - 3 & 2
Connor Watt beat Nick Quesnel - 1 up