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HIGH ACHIEVERS: Ottawa athletes rise to the top in golf, curling

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By Martin Cleary

Championships and scholarships.

That’s the theme for today’s High Achievers: Stay-Safe Edition offering, as Kurtis Barkley of the Cedar Glen Golf Course won his second consecutive Canadian All Abilities Championship, the Ottawa Valley Golf Association crowned multiple champions in August, and junior golfer Miriam Braiter and curling skips Emily Deschênes and Kibo Mulima have been awarded scholarships.

Kurtis Barkley of the Cedar Glen Golf Course won his second consecutive Canadian All Abilities Championship by one stroke Wednesday at the Essex Golf and Country Club. Photo: Dan Pino / Golf Canada

A birdie on the second-to-last hole proved invaluable to Barkley as he finished his second round of the 36-hole national championship for golfers with disabilities at even-par 71 on Wednesday for a one-stroke victory on the Essex Golf and Country Club near Windsor.

Barkley made a strong statement in Tuesday’s opening round, marking six birdies on his card and firing a four-under-par 67 for a two-shot advantage. He finished with a four-under 138 total.

The victory allowed Barkley to defend his title in the second annual Canadian championship. Barkley has scoliosis, which is a curvature of the spine and has led to a compact upper body and respiratory issues.

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Runner-up Chris Willis of Aurora, ON., was within striking distance of catching Barkley, but he bogeyed the 15th and 16th holes before marking a birdie on the 18th to finish one shot shy of a tie for first place at three-under 69-70-139. Jesse Florkowski of Medicine Hat, AB., was third at 73-72-145.

“The conditions were awesome tee to green,” said Barkley, who is No. 6 on the World Gross Ranking for Golfers with Disability. “It’s a ball striker course, which I’m usually pretty good at it.

“I think I hit 14 greens today (Wednesday) and I hit 17 yesterday (Tuesday), so it was definitely suited to my game. I played smart percentage wise, and Chris is an amazing player. I battled with him in the Ontario (championship) and I look forward to many battles with this guy.”

In July, Barkley won his fourth consecutive Ontario Disability Championship.

Four-time Ontario champion Natasha Stasiuk of Oakville, ON., defended her national title by posting rounds of 84 and 82 to finish at 24-over-par 166. She was 13 strokes ahead of second-place finisher Tess Trojan of St. Catharines, ON., at 91-88-179.

Meanwhile, the Ottawa Valley Golf Association is getting ready to close its competitive season with the Tournament of Club Champions on Sept. 26-27 on the south course at the Hylands Golf Club.

Here are the champions from some of the recent OVGA championships:

· OVGA Junior Cup (U19)
Greensmere Golf and Country Club
Carter O’Brien (Prescott), one-under 71
Avery Nordman (Canadian), three-over 75

· OVGA Junior Cup (U13)
Royal Ottawa Golf Club, Royal Nine
Karson Hurlbert (Camelot), even-par 70
Nelly Adjaoud (Royal Ottawa), nine-over 79

· OVGA Cup Championship
Camelot Golf and Country Club
Open Men
Jonah O’Connor (Renfrew), three-over 75 – defeated Brad Goodman (Greensmere) and Stephen Veenema (The Marshes) in a three-hole playoff
Senior Men
Peter Harrison (Ottawa Hunt), one-over 73 – defeated Tom Henderson (Smiths Falls) in a two-hole playoff
Open Women
Lise Jubinville (Hylands), six-over 78

· OVGA Men’s Masters
Upper Canada Golf Course
Dwight Reinhart (Ottawa Hunt), four-under 68

· OVGA Junior Match-Play Championship
Falcon Ridge Golf Club
Mathis Fortin (Hylands) defeated Max Vandervoort (Eagle Creek) in 20 holes
Shinyao Zhang (Rivermead) defeated Avery Nordman (Canadian) 2 and 1

· OVGA Match-Play Championship
Canadian Golf and Country Club
Jonah O’Connor (Renfrew) defeated Ben Goodman (Greensmere) 1 up
Senior Men
John Taylor (eQuinelle) defeated Peter Harrison (Ottawa Hunt) 2 and 1
Diane Dolan (Hylands) defeated Teri De Luis (Brockville) 2 up


The Golf Ontario Scholarship Program provides financial assistance to deserving student-golfers for their post-secondary education and has awarded $679,500 since 1994.

Miriam Braiter of the Greensmere Golf and Country Club was one of eight scholarship recipients, winning the Helena Harbridge Award. She is a Carleton University student pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in Law degree.

Besides playing in Ottawa Valley Golf Association junior tournaments, Braiter also has organized a program called A Ripple Effect, which pairs volunteer youth with children having difficulty in their lives because of personal or family illness.

Her work earned Braiter a one-on-one meeting with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who recognized her leadership, collaboration, innovation and impact on the community.

“I hope to become a family lawyer to help families and kids have the best possible outcome from a difficult situation,” she said in a Golf Ontario press release.

“A Golf Ontario scholarship will assist me with the costs associated with my academic studies and will allow me to continue to grow my love of golf as I move forward in my golf career.”

Emily Deschênes of Greely, ON., and the Rideau Curling Club and Kibo Mulima of Inverary, ON., and the Cataraqui Golf and Curling Club and the Ottawa RCMP Curling Club have earned a For the Love of Curling Scholarship from Curling Canada.

The scholarship program received 71 submissions and a seven-person panel selected 11 curlers, who will each receive a $2,500 scholarship.

Deschênes won the Ontario U21 curling championship in 2022 and reached the final of the Canadian junior championship in Stratford, ON. She is a business administration student at Algonquin College.

Mulima skipped a junior rink out of the RCMP club for the past three years. He also attended the Canadian junior championship as the fifth for the Dylan Niepage No. 2 Ontario rink. He is taking a double major in communications studies and French studies at Wilfrid Laurier University.

“These are deserving recipients who amplify the values of sportsmanship, community and integrity. Our sport is in good hands with these future leaders of the game,” said Katherine Henderson, the Curling Canada CEO and selection panel member.

Martin Cleary has written about amateur sports for 50 years. A past Canadian sportswriter of the year and Ottawa Sports Awards Lifetime Achievement in Sport Media honouree, Martin retired from full-time work at the Ottawa Citizen in 2012, but continued to write a bi-weekly “High Achievers” column for the Citizen/Sun.

When the pandemic struck, Martin created the High Achievers “Stay-Safe Edition” to provide some positive news during tough times, via his Twitter account at first and now here at

Martin can be reached by e-mail at and on Twitter @martincleary.

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