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Ritchie aiming to defend Provincial Senior title at Mactaquac

PHOTO BERNARD BRAULT, GOLF CANADA Pointe Au Pic, Québec: Canadian men’s senior golf tounament Final Round Club de golf Manoir Richelieu 1st hole Darren Ritchie Hampton Golf Club, Quispamsis Luc Guilbault Drummondville (Club de golf), Drummondville Joe Miszk Cherry Hill Club, Niagara Falls -Friday, September 24th, 2021

Dwayne Tingley

Darren Ritchie has often made history on the golf course, but his voice reaches new levels of pride when he talks about his 19-year-old son.

Nicholas Ritchie earned a spot on Sterling College’s varsity roster as a freshman this year and the Quispamsis native helped the Kansas school win its first conference championship.

He’s following in his father’s impressive steps.

Darren Ritchie, one of only four players to ever win Canadian amateur and senior men’s championships, will defend his New Brunswick senior title July 25-27 at the Mactaquac Golf Course.

Ritchie, who plays out of the Hampton Golf Club, also captured the Canadian Senior title last year – 29 years after he became the first Maritimers to win the national amateur crown by beating Mike Weir in a match-play playoff.

2021 NB Senior Champion, Darren Ritchie, pictured with Golf NB President, Judy Astle.

Ritchie, who was inducted into the New Brunswick Sports Hall of Fame in 2016, is more comfortable talking about his son’s success than his own legacy

“To play himself on the team at this age is incredible,” said Ritchie, a crane operator with Irving Equipment.

“He’s worked hard on his game and it’s all business with him,” he added.

“I’ve done well in the game and he’s making his way, too. In some ways, we’ve taken similar paths, but in other ways, he’s created his own opportunities.”

As teenagers, both Ritchies were outstanding athletes and had to choose between playing high-level baseball or focusing on golf.

Darren Ritchie picked golf and he’s never looked back.

“I’ve been very fortunate to play in New Brunswick,” said the 57-year-old, who also played competitive hockey and soccer in his youth.

“I believe Golf New Brunswick is the best golf organization in the country,” he continued. “I’ve been lucky enough to play across the country and I’ve seen how well-organized and professional they are here.

Aerial view of mactaquac golf course

“Golf New Brunswick has always supported the players from this province. We are fortunate.”

Ritchie, who also finished third at the New Brunswick Senior Championship two years ago, is looking forward to this year’s tournament even though he hasn’t played much golf lately.

“I’ve been busy, but I enjoy the competition at these big tournaments,” he explained. “It’s a strong field and I thrive on going up against the best players.”

The tournament has attracted a capacity field of 156 players.

The top three New Brunswick finishers will represent the province at the Canadian Senior Men’s Championship, presented by BDO, Sept. 6-9 at the Red Deer Golf and Country Club in Alberta.

Ritchie topped the field last year while Tom Cameron of The Gage placed second and Mike Jeffrey of Fox Creek was third.

Jeffrey, a former pro hockey player who played with the Moncton Hawks and Nova Scotia Voyageurs of the AHL, also set a goal of winning the provincial title.

Mike jeffrey pictured at the 2021 NB senior & mid-master championship

“I am competitive in everything I do and I’m not going there to finish second,” said Jeffrey, the Director of Operations for Corey Craig Group of companies.

“In hockey, I played my best against the good teams. In golf, my game improves against the best players so it’s going to be a great challenge,” said the 60-year-old Moncton resident.

The tournament will also feature Super-Senior and Mid-Master divisions.

Ritchie will also use the tournament to prepare for the United States Senior Men’s Golf Championship on Aug. 27-Sept 1 at the Kittanasett Golf Club in Marion, Mass.

He gained an exemption to the tournament by capturing the Canadian Championship last year.

“I am not playing much, but the tournaments I play will have very good players so that’s how I will prepare,” Ritchie said. “It’s an honor to represent New Brunswick and Canada.”

For more information on the 2022 NB Men’s Senior & Mid-Master Championships, including results and tee times, please CLICK HERE.

For more information on Mactaquac Provincial Park Golf Course please visit: CLICK HERE

Golf New Brunswick (Golf NB), a not-for-profit organization founded in 1934, is the official governing body for amateur golf in New Brunswick.  In January of 2006, the New Brunswick Golf Association (NBGA) officially merged with the New Brunswick Ladies Golf Association (NBLGA), resulting in one united governing body for amateur golf in the province.  Programs offered by Golf NB to its 50 partner facilities and 7,900 individual members include provincial championships, rules of golf education, course rating and handicap services, and junior golf development programs.