Linton, Muylaert Achievements Exemplify Courage, Heart

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

by Jeffrey Reed, Editor, LondonOntarioSports.com

On paper, the careers of Western Mustangs women’s softball captain Claire Linton, and late great golf course architect Rene Muylaert, are worlds apart. But look closely, and you’ll acknowledge that both curriculum vitaes demonstrate enormous intestinal fortitude from the two area sports figures.

On Friday, May 10, LondonOntarioSports.com and LondonOntarioGolf.com will shine the spotlight on Linton and Muylaert at the web publications’ ninth annual awards banquet. Linton will receive the fourth annual Jeffrey Reed Courage Award, presented by LondonOntarioSports.com, while LondonOntarioGolf.com will posthumously award Muylaert with the ninth annual London Ontario Golf Heart Award.

The Courage Award, created by yours truly and my wife, Beth, is presented annually to a Southwestern Ontario athlete who has shown courage on and off the playing field. And since 2011, the Heart Award has recognized a member of the Southwestern Ontario golf industry who has played an instrumental part in growing the game.

Claire Linton

In very different ways, both Linton and Muylaert have inspired countless others by beating the odds, and at the same time giving unselfishly to their perspective sports.

Linton, 21, of Brampton, Ont. is the first Western Mustangs varsity athlete to win the Courage Award. From 2015-18, the Mustangs women’s softball team captured four conference, four provincial and one national championship. And according to head coach Pete Lemon, Linton was a huge part of those winning teams.

Working as a camp counsellor before what was to be her sophomore season, Linton suffered a serious injury which would change her life forever. A torn calf muscle not only prevented her from playing that season, but it also proved to be a catalyst in bringing out her best traits: never shying away from a challenge; always facing incredible odds with dignity and grace; working tirelessly to beat the odds; and at the same time, giving back to others.

Linton relied on crutches for four months, put in countless hours of physiotherapy at Fowler-Kennedy Sports Medicine Clinic and, with much-needed moral support from her coaches and teammates saw results that would eventually see her return to the playing field as a much-improved varsity athlete.

During her sophomore season on the bench, the Mustangs had repeated their accomplishments of the previous season – conference and provincial champions, and second-place finishers at nationals. In 2017 during Linton’s third year, they swept conference, provincials and nationals, and Linton was presented with the Mustang Award for exemplifying the ideal values of a Mustang student athlete.

This past season, Linton was named team captain and the squad’s starting first baseman. She impressed with a .424 batting average and stellar defence. Each of her four years with the Mustangs, Linton was named an Academic All Canadian for maintaining an above 80 average in the classroom while competing as a varsity athlete.

“Western softball is not just about achievements on the field, but also it’s about giving back to our wonderful, supportive community,” Linton explained.

Rene Muylaert

Muylaert, too, was all about people and less about himself. The Strathroy native, who died in 2005 at age 69, designed almost 50 Ontario golf courses, and was enlisted to design additions and renovations at numerous other Ontario clubs. Rene’s twin Brother, Charlie, partnered with him for about two decades – Rene designed the course layouts, while Charlie managed day-to-day construction at Green Par Golf Construction. Charlie died in 2015 at age 79.

The brothers grew up on a tobacco farm near Strathroy, and later fell in love with golf course design in the late-1950s. Rene specialized in creating golf courses on small acreage in Ontario, and often went out of his way to work tirelessly with owners who boasted small budgets.

London and area courses amongst Rene’s impressive resume include: Bear Creek Golf and Country Club (Strathroy) re-design; Echo Valley Golf Club (London) restorations; Greenhills Golf Club (Lambeth); Highland Country Club (London) restorations; London Hunt and Country Club (London) bunker renovations; West Haven Golf and Country Club (London); City of London municipal golf system (more than 30 greens designed); and his pride and joy, The Oaks Golf Club (Delaware).

Oaks superintendent Rick Perrault worked with Rene as he designed the 1993-opened Oaks course, a par-72 championship course built on the sandy banks and bluffs above the Thames River valley.

Said Perrault, “Rene was a quiet gentleman in the golf architectural world, yet he left a huge footprint on golf courses across Southern Ontario. He approached each new project as an opportunity to design an enjoyable, playable golf course that fit into the existing landscape.

“Rene’s name may not be recognizable outside of Ontario,” Perrault explained, “but his contributions to golf in our region is remarkable. For those of us whom were fortunate to work with Rene and understand his passion and love for golf course design, we were truly lucky.”

LondonOntarioSports.com and LondonOntarioGolf.com are honoured to be recognizing the achievements of Linton and Muylaert next Friday at Highland Country Club in London.

Today is the final day for advance ticket purchases. For ticket information, click here.

For biographies of all nine Heart Award winners, click here. For biographies of all four Courage Award winners, click here.

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Jeffrey Reed has been a member of the London sports media since 1980, and is publisher/editor of LondonOntarioSports.com, and LondonOntarioGolf.com. Have a story idea for Jeffrey? Reach him at jeff@londonontariogolf.com.

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About jeffreyreed

A leading Canadian communications professional. Corporate office http://www.JeffreyReedReporting.com established 1989. Publisher/Editor of this website and https://londonontariogolf.com.

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