General Manager and Head Professional Lyndon King at Collicutt Siding GC in Crossfield operates what is without question the largest junior golf academy in Canada. This year, the club has 880 (that is EIGHT HUNDRED AND EIGHTY) juniors as young as 4 enrolled in their Learn to Golf program where the kids get an hour of instruction a week, a hot dog, chips and a pop, for eight weeks, for the incredible cost of $25 per player! Lyndon’s program has attracted interest and publicity from across North America and deserves all the praise we can muster for his initiative in helping to grow the game.
The McLennan Ross Alberta Junior Tour dropped in to the Crossfield layout on Tuesday for the inaugural Crossfield Junior Open, and while we had a field of 17 juniors, including 6 girls (more on that later) that competed over a full 18-hole event, the real stars of the show today were the 8 junior juniors aged 6-10 who competed in a separate 9-hole funfest accompanied by parents and grandparents who acted as caddies, scorekeepers, traffic cops and buddies to shepherd these youngsters around 9 holes of golf, followed by a meal and prizes together with the older kids who played the full 18. The club set up a shorter course with tee markers set appropriately for these kids, and from what I could see, they all had a great time. Six-year-old Niko Tran toured the course in 47 blows for overall low score of the day, which to me looked like about a stroke per pound for this slightly-built kid!
In the “main” event, the six junior girls on hand comprised more than a third of the field. Titleist Order of Merit leader Brynne Davies of Earl Grey had her Tour win streak snapped by Natalie Greb, who made the trip north from Pinebrook G&CC in Calgary. This was Greb’s second Tour win of the season as she also won the season opening event at Henderson Lake back in June that kicked off the 2019 Tour season. Greb’s 82 was 3 strokes clear of Davies, with Tasha Wallace of The LInks of GlenEagles in Cochrane another shot back with an 86. As these three players had all previously qualified for the Tour Championship at Wolf Creek Golf Resort on August 23, today’s qualifying spot went to fourth-place finisher Brooklyn Campbell (92) of Didsbury.
In the Junior Boys division, Kylin Fraser of Calgary, who plays out of the Public Player Club, fired a steady 4-over par 76 to earn his first Tour win. It’s rare that a Tour winner’s round is birdie-free, but Fraser’s scorecard today featured four bogies and 14 pars and he qualified for Wolf Creek in the process. Kyle Schwartz of Inglewood also punched his ticket for the Tour Championship with a 78 from the flight for boys born in 2000-02, while Grayson Van Norman (82) of Silver Springs took down the flight for boys born in 2005 and later. Wild Card spots went to Ned Booth (86) of Willow Park and Jonas Marshall (83) of Silver Springs.
With the cancellation of today’s event in Lacombe, the next stop on Tour is this Thursday and Friday at Goose Hummock Golf Resort near Gibbons, for one of only two 36-hole tournaments on the 2019 Tour schedule. With Lacombe’s event falling by the wayside, the Goose’s tournament had a big spike in entries this afternoon and we might have the largest field of the summer come Thursday morning.