Rossland Secondary School went out on a high note as it hosted what was literally the final round of the B.C. Single-A high school golf championship at Birchbank on Tuesday.
With the imminent closing of RSS, it was only appropriate that the golf team should be in the hunt for a top three finish and with Tyler McKay leading the way the RSS fivesome won a bronze medal at the provincial championship.
Eight teams and 40 golfers teed off in the second and final round of the event with defending champion Immaculata out of Kelowna leading the way, and Kimberley golfer Jared Dutoit holding a six-stroke lead over RSS golfer McKay after Monday’s opening round.
McKay sat tied for second place after carding a 1-over-par 73, trailing Dutoit who made six birdies and one bogie to finish at 5-under, 67.
But in wet conditions and a six-stroke lead, Dutoit was uncatchable as he shot an even par 72 to win the high school championship.
“My goal was to win obviously,” said Dutoit, “I tried to go two rounds in the 60s but today I came up a little short, but I’m pretty happy with the result.”
McKay seemed to have a solid hold on second place at the turn. The Rossland native had a three shot lead on Steven Lee from Immaculata who posted a 4-over 40 on the front nine, while McKay carded a 39.
The 17-year-old started off the back nine with a birdie on the par-5 434 yard 10th, but bogies on 12 and 17, kept Lee close. On the par-5 18th McKay stepped up and drove a 280 yard drive to the bend of the 506 yard dog leg. He then took out an 18-degree hybrid and from 224 yards, stuck it to within six feet of the pin. However, his eagle putt just slid by the hole, and McKay would settle for birdie and an even par 36 on the back nine.
That would make all the difference as Lee caught fire, birdieing 12, 14, 16, and 18 to finish with a scorching 32 on the back nine. Lee’s second round 72 was good enough to eclipse McKay by one stroke for a two round total of 147, while McKay finished with a 75, and 148 total – identical to his performance at the 2011 provincial championship.
“It was a good round, both rounds were good,” said McKay. “My ball striking isn’t quite up to what it usually is this week, but I managed to get around and 4-over-par over two days I can’t complain.”
Despite the rainy weather, course conditions remained in good shape, but players had to alter their game to suit the conditions.
“You probably take an extra club or half-club into the green because it will land softer and won’t release out as much, and the ball is going to go a little shorter when it’s colder,” said Dutoit.
Dutoit, who will attend the University of Idaho on a golf scholarship in August, managed five birdies on the day to go with three bogeys and a double-bogey for an even 72, and 139 total.
As for the other RSS players, Braden McKay, coming off a wrist injury, shot a brilliant 1-over 73 to finish in a tie for seventh spot overall and a 154 total. Brenan Moroney shot a 79 Tuesday for a tie for 15th, while Jeff Ashton came in with an 86, and Wyatte Henderson a 90 over the second round.
The total scores of the top four players, however, boosted RSS to a top three finish surpassing West Point Academy who it trailed by three strokes yesterday.
Immaculatta repeated as overall champions with a cumulative two-day total of 35 over par, 611, while Selkirk led by Dutoit came second at 635, and Rossland Secondary third at 641.
The RSS golf team’s bronze medal at its final Single-A provincial high school championship is a fitting end to a great RSS sporting legacy.
“It’s unfortunate the school has to close,” said McKay. “Hopefully if we can hang on and get a top five finish, I think that will make the school pretty proud for the last event ever.”
McKay will attend Lindenwood University in Missouri on a scholarship in August.
See scoreboard for final results.