2021 AJT Nanton Junior Open
Alberta Golf (Nanton) – By Dunc Mills
That’s a wrap!
The regular season of the 27th annual McLennan Ross Alberta Junior Tour presented by Crowe MacKay came to a conclusion this afternoon in Nanton. One of the four remaining charter members of the Tour in addition to Innisfail, Lacombe and Ponoka, the Nanton event has often occupied a slot late in August and has frequently been the last opportunity for juniors to earn a spot in the upcoming Tour Championship. That was precisely the case today with Wolf Creek scheduled for Monday, August 30th. With many of Alberta’s top younger juniors otherwise occupied at the U17/U15/U13 Championships at Alberta Springs, the Nanton tournament gave 44 maybe slightly lesser-known players a chance to shine and punch their ticket to the Tour Championship in the process.
One such player taking full advantage of the situation was 14-year-old Kelan Dhanani, part of the junior program at the prestigious Calgary GCC. Site of last month’s Alberta Men’s Amateur championship, the Calgary GCC has produced dozens of top flight juniors over the years, and based on today’s results, Dhanani might be poised to take his place on that list.
After a steady 1-over par 36 on the front nine, Dhanani used an eagle-birdie burst on #10 and #11 to get under par on the day. He kept his game together all the way to the house to finish with an excellent round of 2-under par 69. This was not only Kelan’s first McLennan Ross Alberta Junior Tour win, but his first round ever in the 60s and obviously was also a career low. He’s been on a bit of a heater lately after recently capturing the overall Junior Boys Club Championship at the Calgary GCC.
Patrick McLarty of Highwood was runner-up with a tidy 2-over 73, with Trey Smith of Speargrass GC in solo third on 74.
With the resurgence of interest in junior golf the last two years, it almost seems ‘disappointing’ to have had nine junior girls in the field today, but the entrants were a nice mix of tour regulars and some fresh new faces getting some important competitive experience at a young age. Inglewood’s Shelby Robinson, 16, was best of the bunch today with a steady round of 80. Hannah Thomas (96) of the Glencoe earned her first Tour Championship spot out of the Girls U13 division, and will be joined in the field at Wolf Creek by her clubmate Remi Park (U15) who posted a score of 95 this afternoon. Pace of play for all the kids was excellent, with the entire field finishing under four hours.
We expect a field of well over 100 players next Monday at Wolf Creek to conclude the 2021 season in the always exciting Tour Championship. Jayla Kucy of Camrose will be seeking her fourth consecutive Junior Girls Tour Championship, but the Junior Boys title will be wide open, as 2020 winner Zach Haydamack of Mickelson National did not compete on the Tour this summer.
Tour Championship qualifiers today included:
Boys U13 – Jackson Fabris, Strathmore (85)
Boys U15 – Kelan Dhanani, Calgary GCC (69)
Boys U17 – Cole Phillips, Willow Park (73)
Boys U17 (Wild Card) – Liam Broddle, Inglewood (79) ***Liam, if you’re reading this, you ‘cashed’ today but left early. The pro shop has a gift certificate waiting for you!
Boys U19 – Tyler Brown, Strathmore (88)
Girls U13 – Hannah Thomas, Glencoe (96)
Girls U15 – Remi Park, Glencoe (95)