Solid start for Birchbank golfer

With a field of over 150 amateur male golfers aged 18 and under vying for the title, McKay is right in the mix after day one.

Birchbank Golf Club’s Braden McKay stormed out of the gate at the 2015 B.C. Junior Golf Championship at the Osoyoos Golf Club on Tuesday trailing the leader by just four strokes after 18 holes of the 72-hole event.

With a field of over 150 amateur male golfers aged 18 and under vying for the title, McKay is right in the mix after day one. The J. L. Crowe student shot a 1-over 73 on the first round of the 6,351 yard par-72 Park Meadows course and sits just four shots back of leader John MacDonald from Nanaimo who carded a 69.

McKay tallied a 39 on the front nine, and followed that up with a sizzling 2-under 34 on the back. The Rossland native opened his round a bit tentatively bogeying the second hole but made it back to even by birdieing the par-3 third. However, the 17 year old had a major hiccup on the fourth hole where he triple-bogeyed the 350-yard par-4 hole to drop to 3-over. McKay would reply immediately by birdieing the very next hole to get a shot back, but would give up one more on eight before parring nine to go out with a 39.

On the back nine of the desert-style course, McKay would battle back making  birdies on 12, 16, and 17, with the only blemish a bogie on the 15th hole, to make up two strokes and finish at 1-over, 73.

Right behind the Rossland native was Nelson golfer Hanno Southam who finished at 2-over 74 and is currently tied for 29th.

The 17-year-old MacDonald leads a foursome of golfers only one shot back: Patrick Tan of Marine Drive and Ole Hatlelid of Beach Grove, who each shot their 2-under par rounds in the morning; and Ziggy Nathu of Quilchena and Jackson Thornley of Marine Drive, who shot their 70s in the afternoon flight of golfers.

“My putting was definitely on today,” said MacDonald, who’s just graduated from Dover Bay in Nanaimo and is headed to the University of Mississippi this autumn. “I hit a couple of approach shots tight and it was a good day for me.”

Castlegar’s Ely Overennay shot a 7-over, 79, Aiden Browell of Fruitvale carded an 8-over, 80, while Nelson’s Carson Arcuri came in at 10-over, and Salmo’s Ethan Paton shot a 14 over, 86. Last year’s champion, Keaton Gudz, was tied with McKay after shooting a 73 on Tuesday.

Round 2 went on Wednesday but scores were unavailable at press time. Round 3 goes today with the championship wrapping up on Friday.