Chai rallies for MJT victory

Coldstream golfer down by five at the turn, rallies to win division on home course

Brandon Chai came from behind on his home course to pick up his first Maple Leaf Junior Golf Tour win.

Chai, 17, from Coldstream, shot consecutive rounds of 4-over 75 to finish at 8-over 150 to win the junior boys division of the tour’s MJT Ford Series at Predator Ridge Monday and Tuesday.

Chai was a two-stroke winner over Ely Overennay of Castlegar, and his 150 total placed him second in the overall low gross behind men’s collegiate division winner Marcus Brown of Surrey (2-under 142). Chai won the Hoselton Sculpture Trophy for the victory.

“My mental game was definitely the best part,” said Chai. “After the front nine I was down by five to Ely, but I stayed patient and was able to pull it back for the win.”

Overennay, 17, of Castlegar, BC, placed second in the division with scores of 75, 77 (152), and secured a shortlisted spot on MJT Team West to the International Team Challenge Matches in Niagara Falls in September.

Jaden Steinke of Vernon shot 81-80 to finish tied for fifth in the same division while Dexter Weiten of Coldstream went 87-85 to finish tied for 11th.

A wait-listed field of 91 junior golfers teed off in the MJT Ford Series, battling for division titles and shortlisted spots on MJT Team West in the ITC.

A highlight of the event was an ace on the fourth hole by Haley Hewer of Penticton on Day 2, although this was unluckily not on the specific contest hole to win a 2017 Ford Focus sponsored by Ford of Canada and Watkin Motors. Hewer, 20, won the MJT Collegiate Women’s Division with rounds of 86-72.

Vernon’s Ryan Vest was second and Will Lockwood third in the PeeWee boys division. Vest shot 77-81 to end up at 158, four shots behind the winner, Cooper Humphreys of Kelowna, and one ahead of Lockwood (84-75).

Jaden Snitynsky of Vernon was tied for eighth at 90-84-174.

Kendra Jones-Munk of Vernon was sixth in the 15-18 Girls class, shooting rounds of 88-94-182.

In Bantam boys, Max Lockwood of Vernon finished fifth with rounds of 85-83-168. Austin Armanini of Vernon tied for seventh at 173 (84-89), one shot ahead of Vernon’s Justin Darnbrough (84-90).

Hunter Penalva of Vernon was 14th in the Juvenile boys division with rounds of 95-75-170.

MacKenzie cracks top-five

Vernon’s Frank MacKenzie of Predator Ridge finished fourth overall in the B.C. Super Seniors (65+) Golf Championships held at Myrtle Point Golf Club in Powell River.

MacKenzie fired rounds of 78-73-79 to finish at 230, 15 shots back of the Super Seniors and overall B.C. Seniors champion, Doug Roxburgh of Vancouver.

MacKenzie was 10th overall in the event, which combined the Seniors and Super Seniors.

Roxburgh won his third B.C. Senior Men’s title, the lone golfer to finish under par at -1 (71-72-72). The 13-time B.C. Amateur champ was two shots better than John Gallagher of Burnaby.

Former Hillview Golf Club pro Lance Lundy, now of Pemberton, ended up sixth overall (74 -73-77). Lundy was in third place after the opening round.

Mark Longworth of the Vernon Golf and Country Club shot rounds of 85-86-89 (260).

Surrey’s Dave Hudson had the highlight of the opening round Tuesday, a hole-in-one on the par-3, 198-yard 17th hole. Hudson opened with an 86.