Griffiths rises above break

Zak Griffiths showed Sunday why he’s one of the top young golfers in the province, and it had nothing to do with winning

Zak Griffiths of Red Deer tees off Sunday during the Junior Golf Nike series/Stephen Ames Cup at River Bend Golf Course. He finished second in his division despite a hard-to-swallow triple bogey on one when someone picked up his ball.

Zak Griffiths showed Sunday why he’s one of the top young golfers in the province, and it had nothing to do with winning.

The 16-year-old was able to shake off a shocking start to his second and final round of the Canadian Junior Golf Association stop at River Bend Golf Course and still managed to finish second.

Griffiths was forced to go back and rehit from the tee after someone picked up his ball after his drive on the first hole.

“So I was shooting three off the tee and ended up with a triple (bogey), which was a tough way to start,” said Griffiths. “But you can’t do much about it.”

Griffiths showed his maturity as he shook off the start and finished with a two-over 74 for a 36-hole total of 147, two strokes back of Rhys Tosczak of Calgary in the 15-19 year-old division.

“It’s a learning experience,” added Griffiths. “You have to take it and get over it quickly and move on. I actually played fairly well after that first hole as I was one-under the rest of the way.”

The River Bend event, which was a Nike Golf junior series/Stephen Ames Cup qualifier, is the last on Griffiths’ home schedule for a few weeks as he returns to the United States to compete in a trio of junior events. He leaves Monday for Colorado Springs. From there he’ll travel to Kentucky and New York.

Tosczak also shot 74 Sunday after a 71 Saturday. Tosczak changed his swing this season and it’s starting to pay dividends.

“It was nice to finally close one out,” said the 17-year-old. “In a couple of previous tournaments I led after the first day, then let it slip away on the second. This kind of gets that monkey off my back.”

Tosczak grabbed control of the tournament when he birdied nine and ten to go two under.

“I was on a roll, but the wind started to blow on 11 and then I doubled 12 and it was tough coming home,” he said. “But it worked out.”

Meanwhile, Red Deer’s Jesse Teron shot an even-par 72 Sunday to win the boys’ 14-and-under division with a 140 total.

“It was pretty windy, but I was able to play fairly consistent,” said Teron. “The final four holes were the only time I ran into a little trouble.”

For Teron it was his second win in the last three starts on the CJGA tour.

“Things are going well,” said the 14-year-old, who finished three strokes ahead of Matt Williams of Calgary (73-70).

Travis Chorley of Jasper came in at 70-77—147 while Aaron Crawford of Calgary had a 79-76—155.

Theoren Olver of Three Hills shot an 82-84—166 with Brett Pasula of Red Deer at 82-89-171 and Nolan Bruin of Red Deer at 96-100—196.

John Moug of Calgary was third in the 15-19 year-old category with a 149 total, following a 73 Sunday.

Jake Behiels of St. Albert was fourth at 76-75—151.

John Miller (80-74) and John Sinclair (72-82) of Red Deer tied for eighth at 154.

Madison Pedersen of Calgary came in at 89-84—173 to win the junior girls’ title by one stroke over Sydney MacDonald of Calgary (83-91). Melissandre Genuis of Calgary finished at 82-93—175.

drode@bprda.wpengine.com

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