Sawmill golfers shine on junior tour
It was a clean sweep for Sawmill Golf Course Monday on the Niagara District Junior Golf Tour.
Sawmill golfers placed first in each division with Nathan Freure capturing the U19 boys division, Casey Kenney taking the U19 girls division, Andrew Burciul the U15 boys and Matthew Gray the U13 boys in the tour’s fourth stop of the season at Rolling Meadows.
For Freure, it was the 16-year-old E.L. Crossley student’s best round and first win in his fourth year on the tour.
“I’ve just been trying to get better,” the Wellandport resident said. “Last year wasn’t a great year but I’ve turned it around for me and it’s working this year.
“I worked really hard this winter to figure it out. I did a lot of indoor practice and it worked out for me.”
Freure fired a one under par 69 to edge out Benjamin Hebert and Matthew Martel, both of Lookout Point, by one stroke.
Freure said there was some confusion at the finish line.
“I thought, according to the leaderboard, I was tied for first,” he said. “There was a three-way tie but they put in some wrong scores so I was actually up by one but I had no idea.
“I had to wait a bit.”
Freure, who began golfing when he was nine or 10 and began to take the sport much more seriously a few years ago, had no idea where he was in relation to the other golfers.
“I was just worrying about my own game,” he said.
Freure had a consistent round, firing 35 the front nine and 34 on the back nine.
“I started off with a birdie so I got some confidence going,” he said. “It’s important because it gets the confidence going and a good putter and everything going.”
In the girls U19 division, Kenney fired a 79 to outdistance Marieve Ayres of Dundas Valley Golf & Curling Club and Sierra Kowalyshyn of Sawmill Golf Course, who tied for second at 86.
It was the third straight tour win for the 15-year-old Sir Winston Churchill Secondary School student.
“It does (give me confidence) but I just try to do my own best,” she said. “The win is always great.”
Kenney fired a 39 on the front nine and 40 on the back nine. She had six bogeys, a double bogey, a triple bogey and two birdies.
“It was really wet, especially at the beginning,” she said. “It dried out by the end of the round but it was super wet to begin with. It affects the greens mostly putting with the speed.
“I say you attack the pin more when it’s like that.”
Burciul won the U15 division, carding a four over 74 to edge out Blake Furtney of Sawmill and Kian Oelofse of Lookout Point by six strokes. It was his second tour win of the season after placing first at Brock on the first stop.
“I almost had a hole-in-one on 16 with a six-iron,” he said. “My drives were pretty good but unfortunately I had a double bogey on 12 on a par three.”
The 13-year-old Thorold resident is a graduate of Monsignor Clancy who will be attending Denis Morris in September.
Gray, a 12-year-old student at Nelles Elementary School in Grimsby, was the U13 winner with a six over 76, edging Chase Partridge of the St. Catharines Golf & Country Club by two strokes.
“I found the greens were quite fast so I thought my chipping and putting would be quite helpful to play well and it was, ” he said. “I missed a couple of putts, which was fine. I left a couple of other putts short which made me feels good because I’ve been working on my short game quite a bit.”
Gray also won a tour stop on his home course last year.
The tour continues Wednesday at Grand Niagara, Friday, July 23 at Willodell; Monday, July 26 at Legends on the Niagara Battlefield; Wednesday, Aug. 4 at Twenty Valley; and Monday, Aug. 23, at Beechwood in Niagara Falls.
1. Matthew Gray, Sawmill Golf Course +6 76; 2. Chase Partridge, St. Catharines Golf & Country Club +8 78; 3. Joseph Zupanic, Sawmill Golf Course +9 79; 4. Ben Julie, Sawmill Golf Course +17 87; T5. Trent Clarke, Sawmill Golf Course +20 90, Brennan Turner, Peninsula Lakes Golf Club +20 90; 7. Lucas Sartor, Beechwood Golf & Social House +24, Carter Fulkerson Players Club – Golf Ontario +32 102; 9. Vince Belardi, Sawmill Golf Course +34 104; 10. Daxx Partridge, St. Catharines Golf & Country Club +35 105.
1. Andrew Burciul, Sawmill Golf Course +4 74; T2. Blake Furtney, Sawmill Golf Course +10 80, Kian Oelofse, Lookout Point Country Club +10 80; 4. Jack Ilskens, Players Club – Hamilton +12 82; T5. Angelo Butera, Players Club – Ottawa +13 83, Will Burleigh, Sawmill Golf Course +13 83; 7. Cole Thompson, Sawmill Golf Course +14 84; 8. Aidan Smith, Players Club – Ottawa +15 85; 9. Alec Linton, Players Club – Ottawa +17 87; Elliott Christopher, St. Catharines Golf & Country Club +23 93.
1. Nathan Freure, Sawmill Golf Course -1 69; T2. Benjamin Hebert, Lookout Point Country Club E 70, Matthew Martel, Lookout Point Country Club E, 70; T4. Noah LeBrasseur, Players Club (Ottawa) +6 76, Sammy Rootes, Golf Canada ClubHouse +6 76, Michael Martel, Lookout Point Country Club +6 76; T7. Andrew Scott, Port Colborne Country Club +7 77, Hudson Mielko, Sawmill Golf Course +7, 77; 9. Morgan Daly, St. Catharines Golf & Country Club +8, 78; 10. Aidan Lopinski, Lookout Point Country Club +9 79.
1. Casey Kenney, Sawmill Golf Course +9 79; T2. Marieve Ayres, Dundas Valley Golf & Curling Club +16 86, Sierra Kowalyshyn, Sawmill Golf Course +16 86; 4. Anisha Ghosh, Burlington Golf & Country Club +21 91; 5. Alexis Alderson, Lookout Point Country Club, +39 109.