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Lacombe’s Brady McKinlay hopes to repeat at Alberta Men’s Amateur Championship

He finished at even par on day one
Lacombe’s Brady McKinlay shot even par at the Innisfail Golf Club on the first day of the Alberta Men’s Amateur Championship. (Photo by Ian Gustafson/ Advocate staff)

Through the first day of the Alberta Men’s Amateur Championship, Lacombe’s Brady McKinlay is in a great position to compete for the title.

From July 4-6 hundreds of golfers will battle to win the tournament at the Innisfail Golf Club and McKinlay isn’t far behind the leader after shooting even par 72 on Tuesday.

McKinlay was the tournament champion in 2022 at The Ranch Golf and Country Club where he finished 11 under par.

This time around he hopes to defend his crown.

“Just knowing that in this field I can win and I don’t need to play crazy good golf,” he said “I just need to play my game. It is a different golf course but knowing I can win here gives me a lot of confidence. It will be tough to repeat.”

The 22-year-old is down just three strokes to Connor Kurysh who leads after shooting three under par on the first day.

McKinlay recorded three birdies and looked like he might finish the round two under par but on the 18th hole, he notched his only double bogey of the day.

He explained his finish stung but despite that, he thought he played a solid round.

“I played really conservative today so we’ll see if I need to be a little bit more aggressive and make some birdies,” he added.

It’s been a few years since he’s played the course in Innisfail but he’s quite familiar with it from his junior days. He explained it’s a really challenging course.

“I kind of know how it plays. It just plays a lot differently when I’m hitting it further than when I was 15. It’s just tough because if you try to bite off too much you really have no chance on some of these holes,” McKinlay added.

This marks McKinlay’s first tournament on home soil of the summer since returning from the United States.

The Lacombe, native attends school at Utah Valley University where he plays golf for the Wolverines in the NCAA circuit. During the school year, McKinlay won four consecutive tournaments and played in the NCAA regionals for the first time.

He won three straight to close out the Fall but won the opening tournament of the Spring semester.

“I played well and didn’t do anything crazy for the rest of the spring but I’m looking to get back on the winning trend here soon,” he said.

“It’s tough because you don’t want to go into any tournament expecting to win but going into something like this where I have won before it’s hard not to think about it.

“I’ll just take it day by day… and hopefully I’m there on the last day to try to finish it off.”

Brady is competing against his uncles Tom Jr. and Bobby McKinlay as well as his cousin Easton McKinlay. He said it’s pretty cool to compete against three family members and added there’s never been four in one tournament together.

“Maybe not trash talk but there’s healthy competition that’s for sure. I’m kind of the young guy that’s trying to make it now and they’ve both gone through that stage already,” he said.

Other central Albertans in the tournament include Innisfail’s Joe Kelly, Red Deer’s Cole Bergheim, Innisfail’s Cole Fox, Red Deer’s Carter and Logan Graf, Olds’ Tim Hollman, Innisfail’s Jace Ouellette, Lacombe’s Brody Knight, Innisfail’s Tanner Smith, and Red Deer’s Brady Durkin.

Ian Gustafson

About the Author: Ian Gustafson

Ian began his journalism career as a reporter in Prince Albert, Sask. for the last three years, and was born and raised in Saskatchewan.
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