Future bright for Ellis, Baker
Isaiah Ellis has made an impressive debut in the boys 17-19 division on the Niagara District Junior Golf Tour.
The 15-year-old Smithville resident moved up a division after dominating the U-15 category on last year’s tour and the results so far have been noteworthy.
Ellis carded a 71 Friday at Willodell to place second, two strokes behind Matthew Martel, who captured top spot with a 69.
Ellis also placed second, fifth and seventh in three other stops this season.
“I didn’t have enough competition so I moved up this year,” said Ellis, who is scheduled to enter Grace 11 at Grimsby Secondary School in September. “This year there are a lot more players who are good.”
Ellis doesn’t seem intimidated going up against older competitors.
“Matthew (Martel) and Ben (MacLean) hit it about 10 (yards) past me but it’s not that much of a difference,” he said. “It feels good that I can compete.”
Ellis had a solid round with 15 pars (five birdies) and three bogeys.
“Usually my iron game is pretty good and today my putting was good. The main thing that let me down today was my iron shots but overall I was feeling pretty good today,” he said. “I think I was five under through 10 and feeling pretty good and then on the back I missed a few shots and that brought me down a bit.”
Ellis, who golfs out of Lookout Point, began to take golf seriously when he joined the junior tour four years ago.
Looking ahead, he is hoping for a golf scholarship in the States.
Baker looks ahead
Sasha Baker is taking a step back.
The 18-year-old Dunnville native has decided to defer her golf scholarship to Brenau University in Georgia for a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I wish I was going this year but this will be good because I wasn’t at school for the last three months and now I get a year to figure it out and get prepared to go,” Baker said. “I’ve talked to some girls who are going this year and they are pretty scattered brained about what’s actually going on.
“They feel like they didn’t get all the information they needed.”
Baker is also going to use the time to improve her marks.
“I’m going to take a few more high school courses and try and get my academic scholarship up for university and golf a lot and get my game going for next year.”
Finding tournaments to play in has also been a challenge, which is why Baker has continued to be a regular on the junior tour.
Baker fired an 82 to finish in a tie for third Friday in the girls under-19 division.
Megan Miron carded a 73 to win her third straight tournament while Peyton Bennett was second, one stroke behind at 74.
She was pleased with her round after struggling in earlier stops on the tour.
“Up until today it wasn’t my best performance at all but I felt a lot better about my game today for sure,” she said. “The last three tournaments I haven’t been able to get off the tee and it put me in a bad spot right off the bat on every hole. Today I was a lot sharper off the tee and my approach shots; I was getting on the green in regulation.”
Baker said winning is secondary at this point.
“For the junior tour, I just love being around the people and getting out and golfing. It doesn’t matter if I win or not, it never has. Being a role model for the little girls and being out with the friends I’ve made, it’s awesome,” she said.
The tour has also given her some much-needed competition.
“I need that practice, I need to play those 18 holes to get back into it. All I have for practice is basically a nine-hole course so it’s hard to get the tournament yardages and play how I would in a tournament,” she said. “With all the stuff going on with COVID I need to get out and play those tournament rounds. A lot of the tournaments I would have played in last year aren’t running this year. I’m from such a small town I need to find a way to get out and play those 18-hole rounds in a competitive.”
Next stop on the tour is Wednesday, Aug. 5 at Sawmill.
Under-13 boys: Ben Julie 85; Chase Partridge 90; Kian Oelofse 91; Lucas Sartor 95; Joseph Zupanic 97; Jackson Jones 110; Matthew Gray 137.
Under-15 boys: Will Burleigh 80; John Kingdon 80; Michael Martel 80; Brendan Jarrett 82; Elliott Christopher 89; Cole Thompson 89; Jaxon Christie 92; Sam Boich 101; Alec Linton 104; Leighton Wurm 115; Ben Shaver 117; Cody Hawking 117.
Under-17/19 boys: Matthew Martel 69; Isaiah Ellis 71; Andrew Scott 73; Benjamin Hebert 73; Ben MacLean 73; Ryan Harold 78; Adam Scarlett 80; Deryck Burke 80; Cian Burke 80; Damien Stehling 81.
Under-19 girls: Megan Miron 73; Payton Bennett 74; Mya Mackey 82; Sasha Baker 82; Casey Kenney 86; Alexis Alderson 89; Sierra Kowalyshyn 89; Mikayla Lacey 90; Jade Gracie 90; Ella Zanatta 106; Kate Jeffery 129.
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