Panthers pocket B.C. golf berth

The VSS Panthers have qualified for the B.C. Senior AAA Boys Golf Championships in Abbotsford

The VSS Panthers have qualified for the B.C. Senior AAA Boys Golf Championships, June 6-8, at Ledgeview in Abbotsford.

The Panthers, coached by Mike Sawka, finished second behind the Kelowna Owls at the Valley tournament Tuesday at Gallagher’s Canyon in Kelowna.

The Owls posted a 326 score, three strokes better than VSS.

Braeden Cooper (Grade 11) of VSS was the top score of the tournament again this year with a 74, one stroke better than Justin Towill of the Okanagan Mission Huskies. Cooper shot 72 at the 2016 championships at Spallumcheen.

Jaden Steinke, with a 78, Max Lockwood, at 86, Elias Wery, with 91, and Erik Colwell, carding a 93, rounded out the Panther scoring.

“This is the second year in a row that a VSS team has advanced,” said Sawka, golf coach at VSS since 1995. “Last year we finished 15th out of 22 schools at provincials. I’m very excited for the boys to see them pull through considering the challenging course and the rain they had to endure for most of the round. It’s also exciting to look forward to next year will all five players returning. That should make us a favorite to qualify again.”

Meanwhile, Wyatt Brook of Rivershore in Kamloops won the Zone 2 Junior Tour stop with a 1-under 71 Saturday at the Vernon Golf &Country Club. Ryley Johnson of Spallumcheen took low net honours with a 68.

Ryan Vest, 10, of Predator Ridge, carded a 70 to take the Bantam title. Vest reeled off five birdies and three bogies. He is ineligble for the Order of Merit because he plays from the forward tees. Brandon Frechette of the Okanagan Club pocketed the Juvenile low gross crown with a 75.

Nik Federko of Two Eagles (West Kelowna) fired a 74 in the Junior category.

The Tour resumes June 3-4 at Salmon Arm and Talking Rock near Sorrento. The Zone championship runs June 10-11 at Gallagher’s Canyon.