JUNE 30, 2004

Tarn MacArthur
Photo: Phil Carpenter, The Gazette

Tarn MacArthur: Teen golfer has drive
June 30, 2004
by Arpon Basu. The Gazette

Torrid ascent on national rankings. MacArthur is No. 3 in
his age group after taking up game just two summers ago.

"I was so nervous it was ridiculous," Tarn MacArthur, 18, says of playing in his first Canadian Junior Golf Association event last year.

As Tarn MacArthur approached the first tee to begin a Canadian Junior Golf Association qualifying event at the Chateau Montebello golf course last month, he had a moment of reflection.

A year earlier, MacArthur was at the same course playing in his first CJGA event. He had only been playing the game for a year at that point and may not have been ready for the level of competition he was about to face.

His scores, rounds of 89 and 85 for a two-round total of 34 over par, reflected that.

"I was so nervous it was ridiculous," MacArthur, 18, said. "But once I saw the kids I was playing with, I knew that after some practice I could hang with them."

By the end of last summer, MacArthur's confidence grew and he finished second in two tournaments, shooting a round of 69 in one of them.

When he returned to Montebello in May, MacArthur was a different golfer.

"I sort of felt on the first tee that day that I had come full circle," he said.

MacArthur finished second at Montebello this year with a two- round total of 11-over par, a 23-stroke difference from a year ago. A week later, he fought off wind gusts of up to 50 kilometres per hour to win the Callaway Golf Quebec Junior Masters at Metropolitain Golf Club in Anjou by three strokes.

The following week, he finished third at Val-des-Lacs, shooting one-under on the back nine en route to a 76 in the second round, despite taking nine strokes on the ninth hole after hitting a sprinkler head.

The solid results have made MacArthur the third-ranked 17- to 19- year-old golfer in Canada, miles ahead of the next highest Quebecer, who sits 26th.

MacArthur's ranking is made all the more incredible by his relative lack of experience, having only begun to play golf two summers ago.

"I'd gone to the driving range before, but I never thought of picking up the game," the Cote St. Luc resident said. "I got clubs for my birthday, because I asked for them, and I played all summer at Meadowbrook. I started shooting in the high 80s and by the end of the summer, I was in the high 70s."

On one hand, that is an astounding improvement in such a short time, but on the other hand, MacArthur's athleticism makes it almost expected.

He was on the junior provincial downhill ski team while growing up in Morin Heights, and also was a top point guard while playing high school basketball.

He always figured he had a chance to land a U.S. college scholarship for skiing, then for basketball, until he found golf.

"I'd rather be hitting golf balls than running suicides (on the slopes)," MacArthur said with a laugh.

He has another year left at Vanier College, so he's got some time to find a suitor.

In the meantime, his focus will be to continue his torrid ascent of the national golf rankings.

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