Big year for junior golf in the region

Rossland-Trail Country Club to host 2011 B.C. Junior Boys’ Championship in July.

While many B.C. junior golfers are getting a start to their season in the Lower Mainland and Okanagan, the Rossland-Trail Country Club will be their desired destination come July.

The local 18-hole course will be the site of the 2011 B.C. Junior Boys’ Golf Championship July 5 to 8.

With that in mind, the Zone 1 West junior golf tour takes on even greater importance this season as area players look to fine tune their game in hopes of competing in the provincial championship on a familiar track.

“It’s a huge year,” said zone president Rob McKay.

“There’s a bit of a buzz,” he added. “We’ve got some pretty solid juniors locally.”

The zone’s 10-event tour kicks off on April 23 in Balfour and moves throughout the region with stops at the Redstone golf club and the RTCC on May 21 and 22.

Those two events will also double as the zone qualifier for the provincial championship.

“We’ll get six spots from the qualifier and the host club will get one spot for a total of seven spots,” said McKay.

He added other spots are available through qualifying tournaments.

Jeff Papilion, head professional at the RTCC, said a committee will determine the club’s entry for the junior championship.

“It’s too early to tell how we’ll do it,” said Papilion. “This is a huge opportunity for our juniors.”

He said there are several young talented golfers in the region and he expects most will gain a berth through qualifying.

That would open the door for the committee to select a player who is under the radar.

“My feeling is we should pick one of our kids who is an up-and-comer and could gain the most from the experience,” said Papilion. “But that will be discussed as a committee.”

The tournament, which will attract the top under-19 players in the province, will also shine a spotlight on the host track.

“The junior event is a great opportunity for the local club,” said Papilion. “It brings huge exposure.

“It’s all the best junior golfers in the province. And, as we know, these are the golfers of tomorrow.”

Although the field has yet to be determined, the 2010 B.C. junior boys’ champ Adam Svenson is eligible to return.

Svenson, 17, not only won a B.C. title in 2010 but he went on to win the Callaway Junior World Golf Championship in San Diego last July.

He is currently ranked 22nd among the world’s junior golfers.

Meanwhile, the local junior circuit is hoping to add some extra incentive to its main event.

The season-ending Top-20 event features to best players from the Kootenay tour meeting for the championship. Zone organizers have announced they’re negotiating with the Maple Leaf Junior Tour  to give the winner an entry into the Junior PGA Championship at Northview Golf and Country Club in Surrey in July.

“I talked to the guys down there and they’re pretty sure it’s going to happen,” said McKay.

Among the other dates on the West Kootenay’s junior tour include June 4 at Champion Lakes and May 28 in Castlegar. The top-20 tournament is scheduled for June 26 at a yet to be determined course.