Continuing the legacy: Jones follows in mum’s famous golf shoes

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Callbacks come often for Jimmy Jones, sparking memories of his late mother as he roams his old stomping grounds.

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At her last tournament, for example, her scorekeeper told her that their daughter had been her mother’s flag bearer at the Canadian Open years ago.

“I come across things like this about once a week, especially in the golf world,” said Jones, in Winnipeg for the Manitoba Open on Thursday. “It’s great to hear stories. It makes me smile every time I hear one. I also meet many of his old friends.

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Dawn Coe-Jones was one of the greatest golfers this country has produced, a three-time LPGA Tour winner and the first Canadian to top $1 million in career earnings.

The Canadian Golf Hall of Famer died of cancer six years ago at the age of 56.

But, boy, is his memory alive in the 26-year-old following in his footsteps.

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“From what I’ve been told, our walk is pretty much the same,” Jimmy said. “I’ve always heard I looked like him and had the same walk and a few mannerisms. And I’ve seen a few pictures, and it’s quite similar if you zoom in on us, holding our arrival. Our faces look pretty similar. It’s really cool. My swing has gotten a little bit longer over the years. But mine felt short, like his, a little hit.

Jones was a senior in college (University of South Florida) when he lost his mother.

By then he had given up on his hockey dream and taken up golf, absorbing whatever lessons he could along the way.

His famous mother, who had settled in Florida – he was born in Tampa – helped him with his high school and college golf teams, caddyed him when he came to Canada for major amateur tournaments and he left advice on which he relies. this day.

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“She’s always been a big believer in ‘When it’s breezy, easy swing,'” Jones said. “She was always proud of herself when the weather was crappy. Because she was from tough Lake Cowichan, BC, so she instilled a tough mindset in me. When it’s crappy outside, you can use this to your advantage.

It was so shitty in Winnipeg on Thursday that the first round of the Open was swept away in Southwood, pushing back for another day an event that has been canceled by the pandemic for the past two years.

Starting Friday, Jones will take his second chance at the course, his first coming of 2019.

When travel restrictions and tournament cancellations prevented him from returning to Canada for the past two years, he handled the mini-tours in Florida (2020) and the Challenge Tour in Europe (2021).

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Playing in Europe wasn’t the same, he says, and he was “freaking out” to get back to more familiar territory.

This season he has made four of six cuts on the PGA Tour Canada, his best result in Victoria, where he finished tied for 26th on a course his mother’s father used to play.

“Oh, she would be so proud,” Jones said. “As I got older, I realized how instrumental she was here, and it makes me proud to play in the same places…just trying to carry on her legacy.”

He will also wear something else.

Shortly after his mother’s death, Jones’ college coach had a great idea to honor her, something Jones can take with him to the course.

“Me and a few buddies wear these yellow wristbands with her initials on them,” he said.

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“It’s just little things that are good, constant reminders. I know she is with me every step of the way and I hope to make her proud.

He can’t think of a better way than to turn pro.

“That’s the plan,” Jones said. “I believe I have the game to do it. It’s just a matter of coming out under the gun and taking action when you have to and doing it. With the help of her and the right support system I have around me, we have a good chance.

“So might as well give it all we’ve got.”

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Pursue the dream

They came from all over North America, sometimes even beyond, pursuing their dreams of professional golf in Canadian cities like Winnipeg.

Alex Fuchs’ dream started in France and took him to Liberty University in Virginia before landing in Western Canada for the first time this summer, on the PGA Tour Canada.

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“It was a dream when I was a kid…I wanted to play on the PGA Tour,” Fuchs, 24, said in Thursday’s opening round. “I’m a bit far from that, but I’m trying to go in that direction. I feel like the PGA Tour Canada is the first step to getting there.

Fuchs acknowledged that doubts set in when you only make the cut once in the first six events.

“There’s not a lot of money, so it can get a bit stressful,” he said. “But what’s important is to do everything I can to continue and give the best shot.”

From North Carolina, near Charlotte, is Blake Wagoner, a 25-year-old from a family of footballers: his uncle, Dan, played four seasons in the NFL, while his father, John, was a quarterback at Ohio State.

“My dad’s family, growing up, was all about football,” Wagoner said. “I don’t even think that today a member of my family or my extended family owns a set of golf clubs. But my father wanted me to play all sports, so he enrolled me in a summer camp for a year and I fell in love with it.

The switch from football to golf became complete for Wagoner when he suffered a broken back in a game as a freshman tight end in high school.

“It was just a hairline fracture, straight up, so nothing too bad,” he said. “But, I mean, nothing back-related is ever good.”

Wagoner first arrived in Winnipeg in a bit of bad weather, so he wasn’t complaining too much about watching movies and resting instead of playing in the first round.

“When you’re on the road that much, it’s more about recovery than anything else,” he said.

“So having that day off wasn’t such a bad thing for me.”

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