AJT Desert Blume Junior Open
By Dunc Mills:
While doing the starting this morning on the first tee at Desert Blume GC in Medicine Hat, we were joking with the first few groups about not having to worry about the ‘exposed tree root rule’ today. Desert Blume only HAS one tree on the golf course in the general playing area, and it doesn’t have any exposed roots. So when Jeremy Hart of Sirocco GC stepped to the first tee, he found it ironic that he hit the only tree on the golf course. Twice. Chalk up a triple-bogey ‘hockey stick’ on the hole and by the time the lanky Calgarian left the third green, Hart was already five-over par and headed for oblivion. But give Jeremy a world of credit. He buckled down, got his game back on the tracks and peeled off five birdies over the next 15 holes, scorching the back nine in four-under 31 to post a final score of 1-over 73. Hart’s round was low overall for the junior boys and of course took home top prize in the U19 flight. This has to be a candidate for the Never Give Up Award for this year on Tour.
Hart ended up needing every one of those five birdies, as 14-year-old Parker Stengler of Paradise Canyon Golf Resort in Lethbridge fired a ‘boring’ 2-over par 74 to end up 2nd overall and captured the boys’ U15 age group in the process. Stengler only won HIS flight by one shot as well, as another 14-year-old, Owen Romaniuk of the host club, was another shot back on 75.
Leading the pack in the boys U17 division was Andrew Leon of Lakeside GC in Chestermere with a steady 76. It turns out that Andrew wasn’t even low in his own house today as his sister Justine fired rounds of 72-73 the last two days in the Alberta Golf U17/15/13 Championship in Red Deer to finish runner-up by one shot to Pine Hills’ Skylar May in the girls U15 division.
Of the junior girls on hand today at the beautifully conditioned Medicine Hat layout, Taryn Sanderson of Vulcan GC was low overall with a 97.
Desert Blume certainly ranks in the top three most difficult courses the juniors see on the McLennan Ross Alberta Junior Tour, and no doubt it’s the toughest one to walk. The course dips and dives through the coulees at the southeast Medicine Hat layout, but the players were more than up to the challenge. At least this year, the playing conditions were much easier to handle than last year’s 37C scorcher.
Only one regular season event now remains on the Tour, this Thursday at the City of Edmonton-owned Victoria GC in the Edmonton river valley. This will be the biggest field of the year on Tour as nearly 100 juniors are expected to compete in Thursday’s 8 a.m.shotgun start. The field is taking shape as well for the season-ending Tour Championship coming up on Thursday, August 31 at River Bend Golf and Recreation Area in Red Deer.