After a successful year on the Maple Leaf Junior golf tour, Riley Grona of Coronach is off to Singapore, an island country off the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula, in Southeast Asia.
Grona will be gone from December 3 -12 and will compete in the 13-15 age group on Team Canada.
Grona will travel alone to Vancouver where he will meet up with the rest of the team to travel to Singapore.
On November 4, on the Maple Leaf Junior Golf Tour website, golfers were invited to apply for spots in the 19th SICC/DBS Junior Invitational Golf Championship at the Singapore Island Country Club’s Island Course in Singapore on Monday 6 December to Thursday 9 December 2010.
The competition is open to junior golfers aged 19 and under as at 6 December 2010. 120 competitors from many countries will take part. The MJT selected 3 applicants to attend this event, all of which are 15 and under, so they will be placed in the 13-15 year old category. Connor Shaw from Dauphin, MB and Rayan Soni from Winnipeg, along with Grona will be accompanied by Vince Liu, CPGA and past coach of MJT Team Canada to China for three years in a row. Golfers were selected based off their stroke average.
Golfers had less that a week to email their name. The MJT will pay for the entry fee for the event, Team Canada uniforms, and the cost of the teams coach. The MJT selected the players from the final list after the November 8 deadline and Grona from Coronach was on the list. Grona is thrilled to be able to play his favorite sport while snow lies on his home course. “It was surprising and exciting and it gives me something to do in the winter.” said Grona.
After hearing of Riley’s invitation to attend the tournament in Singapore, a group of Coronach community members decided to fund-raise to help cover Grona’s costs to attend the event. A donation sheet has been set up at the Co-op Grocery Store and 50-50 squares are available at the Co-op Service Station. Joanne Samchyk, one of the organizers of the fund raisers said, “I have golfed with Riley before and think he is a great golfer and deserves this and I think he should have the support of the community behind him.”
Practicing is one thing that will be difficult for Grona, as the Coronach Golf course is covered in a blanket of snow. Grona in improvising. He said, “I chip and putt upstairs and before it snowed I hit balls into the field behind my house.”
Grona started golfing four years ago and has been an avid golfer ever since. Grona said, “When I first started I wasn’t too good, but I just love being out there, and I got better.”
This is not Grona’s first international tournament. He traveled to Arizona last November to compete in the MJT National Tour Championship. When asked about going to Singapore, Grona said, “I’m looking forward to go to Singapore and to be golfing again. We also get a day to go shopping (in Shanghai, China), near the end. I’ll be excited for my first practice round.” Jill Grona, Riley’s mother explained that they needed to do some extra paper work to prepare Riley. “Because they are stopping in Shanghai for two nights, they need a Chinese Visa, which can only be obtained at the Chinese Consulate in Calgary,” said Jill. “I sent it on the 17 of November and it is supposed to be here (November 25 or 26).” Although apprehensive, Jill is thrilled for Riley to have this opportunity. “I have mixed feelings because I’m scared that he’s going on his own, but I’m excited and proud.” said Jill.