A last-minute decision to enter the golf competition at the Alberta Indigenous Games paid off rather handsomely for Logan Morin.
The 18-year-old, from the Enoch Cree Nation, convincingly won the boys' juvenile category, for those born between 1992 and 94 at the Games, held July 17–21.
Morin shot an opening round of 78 and followed that up with a round of 75 to win the two-day competition by a whopping 52 strokes.
While the boys' bantam (b. 1997–98) and midget (b. 1995–96) categories each featured a dozen participants, the juvenile division had just three entrants. Yet that didn't dampen Morin's enthusiasm for his accomplishment.
"A win is a win," he said. "I'm happy."
The Games’ golf competition was staged at the Indian Lakes Golf Course, on the Enoch Cree Nation. It's a course that Morin is rather familiar with, as he's been working there since he was 14.
"That helped a lot," he said of his familiarity with the Indian Lakes course. "I knew where to put it."
Though he knew the AIG would be taking place at his local club, Morin said he did not enter the competition earlier as he thought its dates would conflict with another tournament he was entering in Calgary from July 22–24. He left for that event on July 21.
Morin's uncle Harvey, the Games’ golf coordinator, called his nephew the morning the competition was starting to tell him it would only be a two-day affair and would not conflict with the Calgary tournament. So Morin scurried down to the Indian Lakes course and registered a mere two hours before the event started.
After his opening round, Morin had a 26-stroke lead over his nearest rival. As a result, he said he didn't have much pressure on him heading into the last day of play.
"It was more relaxing," he said. "I knew I just had to have another normal round."
Morin graduated from Edmonton's Jasper Place High School last month. He's hoping to go to Grant MacEwan University in Edmonton in September to study either golf management or professional golf.
As late July approached, Morin was still waiting to hear whether he would be accepted into either of these programs. If necessary, he said he might return to high school to upgrade some of his marks before reapplying to university. Morin is hoping to become a golf pro some day.
"That would be the plan, or working somewhere in the [golf] business," he said.
Morin has various responsibilities at the Indian Lakes club. He works shifts at the driving range as well as in the pro shop and clubhouse. And he's frequently on the links himself.
"I play every day, unless I take a break or it's raining," he said.
This marked the Games' first year. They were created to help fill a void for Alberta athletes after the North American Indigenous Games, which were to be held in Milwaukee this summer, were canceled. Organizers had hoped to run nine sports, but due to low registration numbers only five—golf, canoeing, track and field, basketball, and ball hockey—were staged.
The Games attracted about 400 participants, far fewer than the 2,000 that organizers had originally hoped for. The events did, however, include a cultural component, including an education and career pavilion that featured representatives from about 15 groups, including post-secondary schools as well as aboriginal and non-aboriginal organizations.
"Everything was smaller than we wanted," said Games' spokesperson Allan Ross. "Due to the shortage of human resources, we didn't have the capacity to do justice to the concept."