Martel laps the field; Miron, Bennett tie
Matthew Martel left the rest of the Niagara Junior Golf Tour field in the dust Tuesday at Battlefields at Legends on the Niagara.
The Lookout Point member carded a four under par 68 to win the fourth stop on the local tour by a whopping seven strokes.
“That is probably the best competitive round that I have ever played or one of them,” the 16-year-old said. “That’s for sure.”
The round wasn’t totally unexpected.
“I like the course and I have played well there before,” he said. “I knew if I kept it all in front of me, there was definitely a low number out there.”
Martel got rolling by draining an eight-foot birdie putt on the first hole and then nearly driving the green on the fifth hole.
“I felt good pretty well the entire day and it was just about making some putts.”
The win was the fourth overall for the five-year veteran of the tour and his second of the season.
“It is the first time I have won more than one event on the tour in the same season,” the Grade 11 student at Welland Notre Dame said. “I kind of cooled off a little bit in the past few days but, for the most part, I have been striking it really well. Today, I just kept it in play and left myself with a lot of wedges, which was probably the strongest part of my game today.”
Next up on the agenda for Martel is an Ontario men’s amateur qualifier Wednesday at Grand Niagara and the Ontario junior championship July 27-30 at the Saugeen Golf Club in Southampton. He earned an exemption into the junior provincial championship by placing second overall on the Niagara tour last season.
“I am going to go there and have a good showing and hopefully maybe even win the thing if I play like I did today.”
He’s hoping playing at Grand Niagara in the qualifier will help at the provincial championship.
“I know a lot of people that are going to be out there and I want to try to qualify, of course, but also use it for a practice round and practice with dealing with those nerves of playing in a provincial event.”
He’s not taking anything for granted in golf this summer.
“I want to golf as much as I can because you never know if there is going to be a second wave (of COVID-19).”
PAYTON’S PLACE IS FIRST
Payton Bennett left the Battlefields track at Legends on the Niagara Tuesday a little hot under the collar.
The 17-year-old Stoney Creek resident had a four-stroke lead over Megan Miron with four holes to play only to see it evapourate. The future scholarship golfer at Ball State ended up tying Miron for first in the under-19 girls division with a 76 . Because of the extra precautions surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, no playoffs will be held this season.
“I wasn’t too happy,” said Bennett, who came into Tuesday’s tournament with one victory compared to two for Miron.
“I missed a one-footer on the last hole but golf happens sometimes,” she said.
Bennett will chalk it up to one more lesson learned on the way to becoming an even better golfer.
“Every event you learn something no matter if you win or lose. Good or bad, you are always learning. Obviously, I made bogey on 17 and double on 18 so I struggled coming down the stretch.”
Bennett and Miron were in the same group Tuesday and the former knew exactly where she stood as the round came to a conclusion.
“It’s good to learn how to perform under those pressure situations,” Bennett said. “Obviously I didn’t today but I know that the next time I might be a little more inclined to perform better in that situation.”
While disappointed with blowing the lead, Bennett took solace in the fact that she rebounded nicely from a disappointing 89 she carded Monday in tournament play at Bridgewater.
“It was a very good bounce back day,” she said. “Even though I didn’t end up where I wanted to be, I have to focus on the fact that I was 12 shots better than yesterday.”
Bennett was a little nervous coming into Tuesday’s tournament because her game wasn’t where she wanted it to be.
“I have been struggling off the tee which is normally the best part of my game,” she said. “When the best part of your game isn’t going, you don’t feel confident.”
Bennett loves having Miron on the tour to push her game forward.
“I alway find that when we are together, even if we are not in a tournament, we push each other no matter what,” she said. “Even if we are playing a fun round, we are playing a match and always trying to get better.”
Following are complete results from Tuesday’s action.
Under-19 boys: Matthew Martel 68; Andrew Scott 75; Adam Scarlett 77; Cian Burke 79; Caleb Shorthouse 79; Owen Sartor 80; Damien Stehling 81; Johnny Romak 82; Ryan Harold 82; Benjamin Hebert 82.
Under-15 boys: Ty Werynski 74; Brendan Jarrett 79; Will Burleigh 79; John Kingdom 85; Michael Martel 86; Sam Boich 87; Jaxon Christie 93; Cole Thompson 96; Elliott Christopher 98; Ben Shaver 105.
Under-13 boys: Kian Oelofse 84; Matthew Gray; Ben Julie 89; Chase Partridge; Lucas Sartor; Joseph Zupanic 105.
Under-19 girls: Payton Bennett 77; Megan Miron 77; Casey Kenney 88; Mya Mackey 91; Sasha Baker 94; Alexis Alderson 96; Sierra Kowalyshyn 98; Jade Gracie 99; Ella Zanatta 107; Kate Jeffery 136.
Next stop on the tour is Friday at Willodell.
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