AJT Victoria Junior Open
By Dunc Mills:
The final regular season event of the 2023 McLennan Ross Alberta Junior Tour season was held Thursday at the City of Edmonton-owned Victoria GC, located in the heart of the city in the North Saskatchewan River valley. “Vic” is one of the oldest golf courses in Alberta, now well over 100 years in existence, and while the course has hosted hundreds of tournaments over the years, but this was the Tour’s first visit to the layout.
A light morning drizzle greeted 96 registered juniors from across the province, but the weather cleared up nicely as the morning went along. The course plays less than 5,900 yards from the tips, so with the quality of the competitors on hand, we expected some good scores. We were not disappointed.
Ryan Badger of the Edmonton Petroleum Club blistered the back 9 with a 5-under par 32, highlighted by four birdies in a row from #10-13. Badger’s 4-under par 67 was the low overall score for the day among the junior boys, and led the way in the U17 age group. Tour winner Brady Weiss of Stony Plain was 3 shots back in the U17s with a fine 1-under par 70 of his own.
We had one U10 boy entered today, Dane Miller of the Public Player Club, and this youngster acquitted himself quite well, firing a 114. In the boys U13 division, Knox Kehler of Edson captured his umpteenth U13 title of the season today, firing an 80, five shots ahead of Jayden Shigehiro of the PPC. Boys U15 champion on Thursday was Nhan Truong of the Royal Mayfair, who picked up his clubs out of storage at the Mayfair and walked across the Groat bridge to Victoria. I”m just kidding about that, but Nhan COULD have if he had wanted to! Troung edged pre-tournament age group favorites Harrison Kiziak and Jayden Popik of Belvedere by a single shot. Kiziak was fresh off winning the U15 division at the Alberta Golf U17 /15/13 championships at Alberta Springs in Red Deer earlier in the week, and Popik already has multiple Tour wins to his credit.
We have already highlighted Badger’s outstanding round in the U17 flight, and last by not least, Kian Lawrie of the PPC edged Jensen Dawes of Drayton Valley by a single blow in the boys U19 age group. Lawrie was on even-par 71 in an effort highlighted by an eagle-3 on #13.
We had 11 junior girls on hand today across all age groups. Justine Leon of Lakeside GC in Chestermere rated to be among the tournament leaders, based on her recent form that included a runner-up finish at the aforementioned U17/15/13 championship at Alberta Springs. Leon was low overall gross score winner today as her 75 was tops in the U15 flight, three shots clear of Shylee Kostiuk of the Glendale GCC. Belanna Bandola of Windermere was low in the girls U13 division while Nicole Rohr of Camrose bounced back from an off-form tournament in Red Deer with an 80 to capture the girls U17 flight. Eva Hogue of the Edmonton CC made her first Tour start of the year a worthwhile one as her 80 topped the girls U19 age group.
This brings the Tour’s regular season to a close for the 2023 year. Many of the players on hand at Victoria have qualified to compete on Thursday, August 31st at the 28th annual Tour Championship at River Bend Golf and Recreation Area in Red Deer. We expect a full field of 100 of the best juniors who have competed all summer in Tour events throughout the province to be on hand at River Bend to wind up a very successful year on the McLennan Ross Alberta Junior Tour. For those players who did not qualify for the Tour Championship, we want to extend our thanks and congratulations to you and your families for your support of the Tour over the summer, whether that might have been in one tournament, or several. The McLennan Ross Alberta Junior Tour continues to be an outstanding platform for these young competitors to get their first taste of tournament play. But as you can see from the results all summer, you need to bring some game to win these events.
We look forward to seeing the players next Thursday!