Junior golfers hit Lloydminster links

By Jamie Harkins

June 8, 2017 12:00 AM

NICE SHOT Raymore's Adrian Worm-Poorman hits a drive off the 18th tee while a group of fellow golfers admire his shot. JAMIE HARKINS LLS PHOTO

The best junior golfers from Alberta and Saskatchewan can now say they’ve played one of the toughest courses on the Prairies.
The Lloydminster Golf and Curling Centre provided the challenge for 60 of the top 11 to 21 year old golfers from the western provinces during the Maple Leaf Junior Golf Tour (MJT) stop in the Border City on Saturday and Sunday.
None of these PGA Tour hopefuls hit for par with the closest Lloydminster competitor, Austin Morrison, falling 16 strokes back of the two-day 144 total and 11 ticks back of the tournament leader, Bradley Moser.
“Unfortunately the wind came up and the golf course played extremely tough,” said Jeff Chambers, Saskatchewan MJT tournament director.
“This was probably the highest scoring golf course we’ve been at for a few years, mostly because of wind and just the vegetation that’s grown. It’s a very thick golf course.”
Onion Lake’s Ethan MacDonald carded a 92 on the first day of competition, before following up with a strong 11-shot improvement on the second day.
The 173-stroke total placed the golfer 10th in the junior boys aged 17-19 division.
“I did a lot better around the greens and on the greens (Sunday),” said MacDonald, noting he’s competed in the tour for three years.
“This is a usual round in the MJT, but when I’m in different tournaments, I shoot a lot better for some reason.”
MacDonald was joined at the Lloydminster MJT stop by five local golfers.
Onion Lake’s Kenley Lewis placed fifth in the junior boys division with a score of 165, while Morrison captured a bronze medal in that age category by shooting 160.
Lloydminster’s Reid Turner and Vaughn Holbeche carded a 179 and 187, respectively, for 10th and 14th place finishes in the juvenile boys aged 15-16 division.
The Border City’s Austin Wolos gained ground after a tough first day to take the 14th spot on a 194 score in the bantam boys aged 14-and-under division.
“Didn’t get my irons too straight (on Saturday), but then I hit the ones in the back nine with more confidence and then ended pretty well,” said Wolos. “Today I was more confident, had a fresh new start and shot both 46 on front and 46 on back.”
Wolos said the MJT stop seemed controlled and fun, with everyone on the links focused on the task at hand while also enjoying the sport.
He said the competition was tougher than any he faced on a golf course before, but everyone was still willing to help each other out, as he did by guiding his peers around a few obstacles.
“People asked me on the course is the water over there or that way,” he said.
“It’s an advantage (playing) the home course, because when people ask you questions about the course you can answer them right away, plus if you’ve hit it in a bad place you know where the greens are, so you have a little bit of a chance to get the score a bit more down.”
Chambers said the MJT is considered a developmental tour and one where kids can learn the rules and etiquette of competitive golf, while preparing their game for the college level. He said the Lloydminster Golf and Curling Centre rolled out the red carpet for them to help make that a reality this past weekend.
“It was a little tough for the kids to score especially in the wind, but they did their thing and they enjoyed it,” said Chambers.
“It just shows them how much guys have to work on all their parts of the game because it’s very demanding off the tee, from the rough, in the bunkers and on the green. It’s just a great championship golf course.”

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