By Martin Cleary
Isaiah Ibit made all the right decisions earlier this week on the Rideau View Golf Club course to win the National Capital Secondary School Athletic Association boys’ open golf championship.
But after the Grade 11 St. Peter Catholic High School student-athlete learned he had captured his first Ottawa high school title, he had to make the biggest decision of his day.
By winning the NCSSAA championship, he qualified for the two-day OFSAA high school tournament next week in Komoka, which is just west of London, along with his Knights team. The competition runs Wednesday and Thursday.
Competing at next week’s OFSAA championship would be the highlight of his high school season, except that he has a calendar conflict. Ibit, 16, is scheduled to attend next week’s Ontario Junior (U19) Tour Championship and Super Camp.
The 54-hole provincial tournament runs Monday through Friday at the Ambassador Golf Club in Windsor, is designated as the Team Ontario selection tournament and Golf Canada will put the golfers through its National Testing Protocol. Ibit was selected to Team Ontario for the 2022 season.
He faced a similar dilemma in 2021. He made the St. Peter golf team, but didn’t play in the NCSSAA championship because the OFSAA golf championship had a similar date conflict with the Ontario Junior Tour Championship and Super Camp.
This year’s decision was made more challenging for Ibit because his father David is the athletic director and golf coach at St. Peter and the school qualified for OFSAA in the team category. The Knights finished one stroke behind Glebe Collegiate Institute in second place.
After considerable thought and discussion with his father, Isaiah decided to attend the Ontario Junior Tour Championship and Super Camp, which also meant St. Peter couldn’t send a team to OFSAA. While St. Peter had an alternate player on its team, he didn’t play in the East Conference championship and wasn’t eligible to be part of a team to the OFSAA championship.
“It eventually came down to the Tour Championship was more important for me in my future,” Isaiah said.
“Hopefully, next year the Tour Championship doesn’t conflict (with OFSAA). St. Peter will be strong next year, very strong.”
Glebe won the boys’ open team title with a three-player score of 231, while St. Peter finished at 232. Nepean and West Carleton tied for third place at 239.
“I was proud of our boys,” David said. “I’m a little disappointed we will not be represented (at OFSAA), but it was his (Isaiah’s) decision.”
Backed by solid putting, Isaiah put together a round to remember, winning the NCSSAA boys’ open title with a six-under par 66. He shot a two-under-par 33 on the front nine and a four-under 33 on the back nine, while playing the Rideau View course for the first time in four years.
Glebe golfers took the next two low gross placings as Ben Sheridan was second at 69 and Graydon Laughlin claimed third at 71.
Ben Shiposh of West Carleton won the NCSSAA boys’ high-school division title at four-over 76.
“I had a good idea I would do it (win) as I knew the better players were in my group and ahead of me,” added Isaiah, who counted seven birdies, one bogey and 10 pars.
“My putting was really good. I made birdie putts and saves for par. My chipping and short game also were good and I took advantage of the par 5s and short holes.”
Isaiah said his six-under 66 was the lowest round of golf in his career and “I would say it’s up there as one of my best rounds.”
This season, Isaiah also placed third in the junior division at the Golf Canada NextGen Fall Series in Hampton, N.B., and third at the Ontario Summer Games.
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 OttawaSportsPages.ca.
Martin can be reached by e-mail at email@example.com and on Twitter @martincleary.
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