With first- (2015) and second-place (2014) Canadian and second-place Australian and world blind golf wins already under his belt, Darren Douma is still on a roll, placing second in his B3 sight category and earning the first overall low net score at the Nova Scotia Blind Golf Association (NSBGA) tournament, and being part of the first-place Canadian team that beat the U.S. in the Nations Cup tournament.
In their division (10 per cent sight), Tom Marks of Danville, Pa., shot rounds of 82-86, beating Douma’s 84-89 in the July 29/30 36-hole NSBGA tournament at the Mountain Golf and Country Club near Truro, N.S.
“Tommy had me down two strokes after day one,” recalled Douma. “The following day I bounced back to take a two-stroke lead after the first five holes.
“We remained all tied up through 12 holes. Then I ran into trouble on hole 13 and put my tee shot into the woods onto a bed of moss. I tried to play a simple punch out, but the ball embedded. I continued to put the ball into a bad position all the way to the green, where I finished with a disappointing nine. Unfortunately, this hole put me down five strokes, and Tommy continued to play steady.
“In the end, I lost by the five strokes I gave to hole 13.”
In the three days leading up to the Nova Scotia tournament, Douma played on the Canadian team in the Nations Cup tournament, taking on American Blind Golf (ABG) players.
“Two days were team match play and the final day was singles match play,” said Douma. “In the end, Canada took the Nations Cup 12.5 to 10.”
For the Nations Cup, Douma was partnered with Montreal’s Bruno Boucher.
“We were a force to be reckoned with,” Douma said. “We dominated our first match so much, they put us together again the second day. We again had a great match where we dominated and won. We said to each other we were the dream team, because it was like a dream. We couldn’t do anything wrong. We jelled so well much to the dismay of the U.S. opposition.”
Douma attributes at least part of his success to his sight coach, who also worked with him at last year’s Canadian championships.
“Don Lynds was a huge help to me again this year coaching for six days,” he said. “He kept me focused because we had great team chemistry.”
Having organized his own event, the Canadian open at the Creston Golf Club last month, Douma is well aware of the preparation required, and was quick to praise Brian MacLeod, who hosted both events in N.S. and competed in his 100th blind golf event.
“Brian won the B1 gross, which marked his 67th career victory in blind golf,” said Douma.
While at the tournaments, Douma was encouraged by the ABG players to attend the National Stroke Play Championship in San Antonio, Texas, in October.
“They would really like me to come and challenge Tommy Marks again,” he said.
The offer is certainly a tempting one, providing both a challenge and a chance to spend time with other visually impaired golfers.
“As blind and visually-impaired players, we forget about our challenges, and we go out there to compete and compete hard,” said Douma. “At the end of the round and day, we are there to have fun with each other. We are definitely a close-knit blind golf family.”