Chandler McLaren may have posted the low score at the McLennan Ross Junior Golf Tour’s stop at Lacombe Golf and Country Club on Wednesday, but he still was not thrilled with the way he played.
The Wolf Creek Golf Course member was one of just three players to break 80 on the day, firing a 3-over-75, but it was the shots he didn’t make that had him thinking after the tournament.
“I played pretty good, but I missed some putts, I probably could have shot a 33 on the front nine, but I was happy,” said McLaren, 18. “I made some putts that I normally wouldn’t have made, and I made some pars coming in to bounce back from a double (bogey) on 14.”
McLaren won the junior boys (95-97) division by two strokes over Sylvan Lake’s Jaxon Lynn (77) and Camrose’s Mike Harrison (77). Red Deer’s Michael Pruss (Riverbend) shot an 80 to finish third and Jeremy Rietze of Lacombe and Kolby Vold of Ponoka both finished with an 81 to round out the top five. Meanwhile, Lacombe’s Brandon Woltjer finished with an 86.
McLaren just finished his first year of pre-med at Red Deer College and says he will be trying out for the Kings golf team this year before moving to Australia.
If he keeps putting together tournaments like this one and a second place finish he had earlier this year at Drayton Valley, he may just make it.
Still he has some work to do.
“My iron play is not normally very good, like today I snap-hooked an 8-iron, so I need to strike the ball a little bit better,” he said.
Dunc Mills, the tour’s executive director, said McLaren is one of the tour’s better players this year.
“He is one of the kids that I would have picked in advance to be a favourite to do well,” he said.
The course was in excellent condition with the hot sun. McLaren said the greens were as fast as he’s ever played.
“It was unreal considering where they were at the beginning of the year,” he said, noting the delayed opening at Lacombe G&CC due to winter kill on the greens.
Red Deer’s Jordan Williamson (Balmoral) won the 98-99 division with an 80, topping Strathmore’s Korbie Allan (81), while Lacombe’s Brandt Holt finished up with a 100.
Lacombe’s Jordan Cooke won the 2000 and under division with an 84, one shot ahead of Stettler’s Sam Hamelin (85) and two ahead of Red Deer Golf and Country Club’s Carter Graf (86). Chase Broderson led a pack of Lacombe players with an 87 while Brady McKinlay and Brandon Grabb both shot 102 and Clay Pederson shot a 113.
Calgary’s Lauren Cheng won the girls’ division with an 86, one stroke ahead of Innisfail’s Courtney Dickson while Red Deer’s Clare McMahon (Balmoral) shot a 92 to tie for third with Annabelle Ackroyd out of Calgary.
“Nobody ever really rips this course up,” said Mills. “It looks like on the score card that kids should be able to shoot low numbers, based on the yardage, but the greens are small, they’re really fast and they’re tricky. There were some pin locations that were really challenging and so I think the kids struggled on the greens more than anything today, and the wind picked up a bit today too, so that drove the scores up a bit.”
There were 48 kids who signed up for the tournament, a little lower than normal, but still acceptable considering the Canada Day long weekend.
“We had kids from Edmonton, Calgary Airdrie and places in between, so it was a good representation of kids that did travel to come,” said Mills.
The tour is in Barrhead today but is back in Central Alberta with an stop in Innisfail on Tuesday and Carstairs on Wednesday.