Freure and Kowalyshyn tops at Rockway
Golf is a fickle game.
After winning the overall tour championship in the under-19 boys division of the Niagara District Junior Golf Tour as a 16-year-old in 2021, Nathan Freure won once in 2022 but couldn’t defend his title.
“Last year it was a bit of a struggle for most of the year. I didn’t have my best stuff,” the 18-year-old Fonthill resident said Friday, after winning the latest tour stop at Rockway Vineyards. “I worked on it through the winter and I have figured it out a bit more this year. I have been playing better golf this year and I have been a little more consistent.”
Not much changed to get there.
“It is just hitting the ball a little bit better and putting a little better.”
The 73 he shot Friday was good enough for a three-stroke victory and represented his first tour win of the season.
“Today was kind of an all over the place kind of day. Off the tee, I was everywhere but I hit a lot of greens. I was striking my irons well and the putts went in occasionally.”
The Sawmill member is coming off his first season of post-secondary golf with the University of Guelph.
“It went well. It is a short season and it happens fast in the fall but I enjoyed it. It was a good experience.”
His top finish was a tie for fifth at the Guelph Invitational.
The second-year mechanical engineering student is hoping to have a successful summer and use it to jumpstart his sophomore season at Guelph.
“I am definitely still focusing a lot on golf but it is tough with university mostly being school-focused. But I am still spending a lot of time on trying to get better,” he said. “I want to have another good season in Guelph and see where I go from there.”
Freure would have loved to have missed Friday’s tournament at Rockway Vineyards but he missed the cut at this week’s Ontario under-19 championship.
“It was a tough two days. It wasn’t rolling my way, the putts weren’t falling and there were a few little things here and there. It’s nice to come back here, play a good round and get some confidence back.”
KOWALYSHYN TOPS GIRLS DIVISION
Sawmill’s Sierra Kowalyshyn carded a 75 Friday to win her second tournament of the year in the under-19 girls division.
“It is going very well. I got off to a little bit of a rocky start but lately I have been getting a lot better,” the 14-year-old Stoney Creek resident. “I wasn’t hitting my irons very well and my driver wasn’t as precise as it is now.”
The improved play is no accident for the Grade 9 student at Bishop Ryan, who is in her third year on the tour.
“I worked with my coaches and I worked with my dad on the driving range a lot.”
There was only one other competitor playing Friday but that didn’t change Kowalyshyn’s strategy.
“Honestly I approach it the same way. A win is a win no matter what so I am super grateful.”
The victory is one more step along the way to winning the overall tour championship.
“It’s important to me because I golf a lot on the Niagara junior tour and I haven’t won a tour championship yet. It would be really nice.”
Her game is trending in the right direction to make that a reality.
“My ball striking has gotten a lot better, I have gotten a lot better with my contact and I am hitting things a lot longer and straighter,” she said. “I just have to keep practising, working hard and playing in the best tournaments I can. The year, I am starting to play a few more in the States so I can hopefully start getting recognized by colleges.”
She can’t get enough of the sport.
“I love it so much. I love being outside in nature. It is so peaceful and it makes me happy playing it.”
Next stop on the tour is Monday, July 10 at Bridgewater.
Under-19 girls: Sierra Kowalyshyn, Sawmill 75; Edyn Sobie, Players Club Mississauga 86.
Under-19 boys: Nathan Freure, Sawmill 73; Blake Furtney, Sawmill 76; Michael Martel, Lookout Point 76; Noah LeBrasseur, Cherry Hill 79; Jack Ilskens, Lookout Point 80; Andrew Burciul, Sawmill 80; Alec Linton, Sawmill 81; Austin Ste. Croix, Twenty Valley 81; Luca Santostefano, Cardinal Lakes 82; Anthony Sartor, Players Club Ottawa 82.
Under-15 boys: Matthew Gray, Sawmill 75; Ben Julie, Sawmill 77; Dawson Dermatas, St. Catharines Golf and Country Club 77; Brennan Turner, Pen Lakes 78; Chase Partridge, St. Catharines Golf and Country Club 80; Charlie Smith, Players Club Ottawa 83; Joseph Zupanic, Sawmill 86; Vince Belardi, Sawmill 87; Cam Strugar, Golf Canada Clubhouse 88; Jaxxon Pozzobon, Sawmill 89.
Under-13 boys: Landon Friesen, Sawmill 80; Jack Vitiello, Sawmill 82; Daxx Partridge, St. Catharines Golf and Country Club 83; Alex Shorthouse, Players Club Hamilton 87; Joshua Bertand, Sawmill 90; Jonah Sobie, Players Club Mississauga 98.