The West Kootenay Junior Golf Tour lived up to expectations with low scores and a three-way playoff to decide tour winners and qualifiers for the provincial championship.
Trail’s Birchbank golf course will host the B.C. Junior Golf Championship this year on July 5-8, so area golfers were eager to solidify one of the five spots up for grabs this weekend.
Playing in windy conditions Saturday at Redstone didn’t hurt Christina Lake’s Tanner Kopan who was itching to break out.
Kopan led the way with a one under par 71 for his first victory on the junior tour this year.
Steve Simister from Rossland Trail Country Club (RTCC) had his best round on the circuit, winning the 17-18-year old division with a 77, and Garrett Underwood from Champion Lakes captured the 15-16-year division carding an impressive 76.
Rounding out the winners were Isaac Janzen from Creston taking the 13-14-year olds with an 84, and precocious nine-year-old Kaeden Lane from Christina Lake shot an incredible 38 in the 9-hole division for 12-year-olds and under.
At Birchbank, Sunday, the players teed off in a steady downpour making for challenging conditions.
The top-three leaders from Saturday teed off on the 10th hole for the shotgun start. Kopan continued his stellar play, leading the field with an even round 36 for the front nine. Redstone’s Kevin Bennett and Underwood stayed close behind, with 37s.
Standing water on fairways forced many players to take relief, but it didn’t help when it came to putting.
“It was a little bit rough, lots of putts,” said Kopan. “It’s making it easy for the irons but putting is pretty tough.”
However, it was Bennett who came out on top, keeping the ball in play and making putts consistently to take the low individual with a 76, his second win on the circuit.
Jordan Hoodikoff from Christina Lake followed close behind and won the 17-18 year old division with a 77, with Tanner Kopan on his heals, carding a 78 and Steve Simister a 79.
The 15-16 year old division was decided in a three way playoff, after Brenan Moroney (RTCC), Tyler McKay (RTCC), and Garrett Underwood all shot rounds of 80.
On the first playoff hole Underwood was eliminated after he bogied, and both McKay and Moroney parred. But on the second playoff hole McKay came up short and left Moroney with a putt to take his third junior tour victory.
In qualifying for the provincials, Kopan won medalist honours with a combined 149, with Bennett, Underwood and Moroney taking the next three spots. McKay was awarded the fifth spot based on his performance on the circuit.
One more position for Zone 1 will be determined after the final tour event in Creston, June 5.
The criteria are based on the same pre-established formula as the fifth spot.
The next Junior tour event goes Saturday at Castlegar. Tee-off is at 2 p.m.
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