Sawmill’s Andrew Burciul hits his ball out of a trap during a Niagara Junior Golf Tour stop at Twenty Valley. Sawmill golfers swept the boys divisions at the event. BERNIE PUCHALSKI

Locals sweep boys divisions on junior tour

Nathan Freure continued his breakthrough season on the Niagara Junior Golf Tour in mid August at Twenty Valley by defeating Andrew Scott on the first playoff hole.

The two golfers finished regulation play tied at two over par 74 before the Grade 12 student at E.L. Crossley recorded a birdie on the par 5 first hole. The Sawmill golfer just missed a 12-foot eagle putt, but his birdie was good enough to beat the par posted by Scott.

“It was my first playoff so I was a little nervous, but I hit a good drive and a good second shot and almost made the eagle,” he said. “I wasn’t shaking but I was pretty nervous. I just tried to keep it calm and collected and play my game.”

It was the second win of the season for the 16-year-old Wellandport resident, who went into the tournament second overall in the points race in the under-19 division. He is in his fourth year on the junior tour and is enjoying the success he’s having this season.

“It is nice to finally play the golf I have been wanting to play and win a few times.”

His improved scoring is no accident.

“I worked a lot indoors this past winter, figured out a few things and did a lot more practice.”

His motivation was simple.

“Last year, I played one of my worst years and I didn’t improve at all. I wasn’t very happy about that.”

With his win, Freure now has a shot at catching points leader Michael Martel for the overall title when the tour concludes Monday, Aug. 23, at Beechwood.

“I am going to have to have a good round again at Beechwood to have a chance but I think that I can do it,” he said.

First-time winner

Sawmill’s Blake Furtney carded a 79 at Twenty Valley to record his first career victory in the under-15 division of the Niagara Junior Golf Tour.

The 14-year-old Pelham resident has been golfing since he was eight but this is his first year of competitive golf.

“I just decided I want a new challenge,” the Grade 9 student at E.L. Crossley said.

Furtney came into the event seventh in the overall points race and was excited to get his first tour victory.

“I am very happy,” he said. “I wanted to get a win.”

He was confident he could compete on the tour in 2021 after he placed third in the first event.

On the course he used a simple approach for success.

“I was hitting the ball straight off the tee today and hitting fairways.”

Things didn’t start our well for him, however, when he sat four over par after the first three holes.

“I made a par and then I started playing better.”

He has been pleased with the progress of his game this season.

“I have definitely improved off the tee.”

Little Ben strikes again

Sawmill’s Ben Julie won his second event of the season when the junior stop made a stop at Twenty Valley.

Julie’s 76 was good enough for a two-stroke victory over club mate Matthew Gray in his fifth under-13 tour event of the season. He has been golfing for about eight years and last year he won one event and tied for first in two others on the local tour.

“Everything was just going very well today,” the 12-year-old Pelham resident said. “My short game was really good.”

The Grade 7 student at Wellington Heights Public School was two under par after the first four holes before recording a double bogey on his fifth hole.

He likes how he is playing this season.

“I feel like my short game is really good.”

That short game is extra important for Julie because at 4-foot-7 and 70 pounds, he’s obviously not as long off the tee as some of his more larger competitors.

“I usually just try to chip it close and make the putt.”

Julie is looking forward to a busy August on the links. He is playing in the U.S. Kids Canadian Invitational and then Sawmill will be hosting the Ontario peewee (under-13) tournament on Aug. 30 and 31. Julie will be one of four Sawmill golfers playing in the event.

Girls division

Burlington Golf and Country Club’s Anisha Gosh was the only girl competing and she fired a solid 88.

The top two point getters on the tour, Sawmill’s Casey Kenney and Port Colborne’s Mikayla Lacey, were away at the Ontario Junior Girls Championship at the Brockville Country Club. Kenney (88-84) and Lacey (92-102) both missed the cut.

Below are the leaderboards from play at Twenty Valley:

Under-13 boys division: Sawmill’s Ben Julie 76; Sawmill’s Matthew Gray 78; St. Catharines Golf and Country Club’s Chase Partridge 83; Sawmill’s Trent Clarke 83; Twenty Valley’s Gavin Christie; Peninsula Lakes’ Brennan Turner; Sawmill’s Joseph Zupanic; St. Catharines Golf and Country Club’s Dawson Dermatas 90; Golf Canada ClubHouse’s Ryan Kirkpatrick 91; Players Club’s Carson Fulkerson 94.

Under-15 boys division: Sawmill’s Blake Furtney 79; Players Club Ottawa’s Angelo Butera 80; Sawmill’s Cole Thompson 80; Sawmill’s Will Burleigh 81; Sawmill’s Andrew Burciul 86; Lookout Point’s Kian Oelofse 88; Players Club Ottawa’s Vincent Cuviello 89; Players Club Hamilton’s Jack Ilskens 89; Players Club Ottawa’s Aidan Smith 92; St. Catharines Golf and Country Club’s Christopher Elliott 93.

Under-19 boys division: Sawmill’s Nathan Freure 74; Port Colborne’s Andrew Scott 74; Lookout Point’s Benjamin Hebert 75; Sawmill’s Hudson Mielko 75; St. Catharines Golf and Country Club’s Morgan Daly 75; Lookout Point’s Aidan Lopinski 76; Lookout Point’s Michael Martel 79; Players Club Ottawa’s Noah LeBrasseur 80; Sawmill’s Ben Kelly 82; Lookout Point’s Deryck Burke 82.


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