Rossland golfer Tyler McKay took full advantage of his home course on Wednesday jumping out to an early lead at the the CN Future Links Western Canadian Junior Golf championship at Birchbank Golf Course.
McKay shot a 6-under, 66, on the par-72 Greater Trail course to take a three-shot lead on Vancouver’s Trevor Yu, Surrey’s Khan Lee, Jake Scarrow from Dewdney, and St. Albert’s A.J. Armstrong all at 3-under.
“It’s pretty good, it’s actually my new personal best at this golf course,” said McKay following the first 18 holes of the 54-hole event.
McKay parred the first three holes before birdieing four, seven, and nine to card a 3-under 33 for the front nine. He kept it going on the back nine, birdieing the 500-yard 10th hole, before carding his only bogey of the round on 12. He’d par 13 and 14, but the Lindenwood University student ended strong with three birdies on the final four holes to close with another 33.
“I just saw the lines pretty well on the greens today,” said McKay. “I stayed patient, made a few putts. It was one of the best putting rounds I’ve had all year, so that probably was the putter today.”
Other notables include past CN Links champion Zach Anderson of Nanaimo who finished at 1-over, 73, Noah Luddering of St. Albert, and Cole McKinnon from Surrey at 1-under, and Matt Kadatz of Calgary who shot an even-round 72 on the day.
Armstrong was 4-over after six holes but went on to drop five birdies and an eagle in the final 10 holes, shooting a 30 on the back nine to salvage his 69.
“It’s a very strong field,” said McKay. “They have some great players up from Vancouver and the coastal area, as well as Alberta and Saskatchewan, all the western provinces are well represented.”
As for West Kootenay golfers, Carson Arcuri from Nelson was at plus-six, Rossland’s Braden McKay shot a 7-over, 79, Nelson’s Hannah Southam carded an 80, while Champion Lakes golfers Trevor and Aiden Browell were at 8 and 11-over respectively. Salmo’s Ethan Paton shot a 10-over 82.
Tyler will look to keep it going today and the final round on Friday, as the top-six will qualify for the CN Canadian Junior championships in Niagara Falls, Ont. at the end of the month.
“It was a good round, I just hope I can do it for a couple more days.”
The Birchbank course is in pristine condition for the event, with a deluge of weekend rain making for challenging rough, lush fairways, and soft greens. Players start teeing off at 7:30 a.m.
The CN Future Links program is designed to forge a link between Canada’s youth and golf to ensure the future of the game in Canada. Since the inception of the program in 1996, more than one million young Canadians have taken part in the program. cnfuturelinks.com.