Rossland golfer Xander Bankes battled from three shots back to win the BC Bantam Boys Golf Championship at the Belmont Golf Course in Langley last week.
Bankes, 14, opened with an even-par 70, before firing a final round 2-under par, 68, for a two-day total, 138, on the Langley course to defeat runner-up Ryan Vest of Vernon by two strokes. Vest finished the tournament at par after shooting a 67 on Day 1 and a 73 on Day 2. Aaron Huang of Vancouver, Shunkichi Yamamoto of Victoria, Adam Hyde-Lee of Shawinigan Lake and Daniel Bennett of Victoria shared third place at one-over par.
Bankes trailed Vest by three strokes heading into Day-2, but his game was flawless on the front nine. Bankes birdied the par-3 third hole, and the par-5 sixth and eighth holes to fire a three-under-par 32 to draw even with Vest, who parred the opening nine holes.
Playing in damp and windy conditions, Bankes sank two more birdies and three bogeys for a 1-over 36 on the back nine for a two-under 68, which matched his best ever competitive round. Vest struggled, making four bogeys on the back for a three-over 73.
“After day one I was in fourth, so I knew I had to have a good round to win,” Bankes told Golf BC. “So I tried to have a good round and it worked.”
Bankes’ five birdies in his round Wednesday, and nine overall, led the field of 44 Bantam golfers from across BC.
The Redstone Golf Club member came to the Bantam tourney highly motivated after missing the cut at the B.C. Juveniles.
“I didn’t play very well at Juveniles,” Bankes said. “That motivated me. This is more my age group, so I knew I had a better chance here.”
Bankes is also a multi-sport athlete who finished fourth at the North American freestyle skiing championship in Golden this past winter.
“I will definitely keep competing in golf,” said Bankes, who is heading into Grade 9 at Rossland Secondary. “I love to play, but skiing is definitely my favourite.”
On the girls side, Langley golfer Erin Lee won the Bantam championship with an even-par 142 for the two-day, 36-hole event.