Ryan Vest swings away on the Maple Leaf Junior Tour in Whistler. (Photo Submitted)

Chai, Vest rate Florida invites

Brandon Chai and Ryan Vest of Vernon won titles in the Maple Leaf Junior Golf Tour’s Whistler stop

Brandon Chai and Ryan Vest of Vernon won titles in the Maple Leaf Golf Tour’s Whistler Junior Championship presented by Prodigy.

Chai, 17, took the junior boys crown (17-18 years) by five strokes over Christopher Dale of Mission by shooting rounds of 72-78-150 on the gorgeous Arnold Palmer-designed course. The final round was Tuesday.

Hot weather and undulating greens on a course in fantastic condition were the features of the event, where titles in eight divisions were up for grabs as well as direct spots into the MJT Boston Pizza National Championship presented by TaylorMade-adidas to be played at Reunion Resort in Orlando, Nov. 10-12.

Chai, 17, earlier this season won the Tour stop at Predator Ridge.

“This week the key for me was my wedges and short irons. The course is not that long, and the greens were really firm so it puts a lot of pressure on the scoring clubs.” JVest relied on his 3-wood and strong iron play on the tight track to shoot 71-73-144 in the Pee Wee Boys (11-12) category. Vest, 11, won by nine strokes over Jay Xu, 10, of Burnaby.

The highlight for Vest was “hitting an 80-yard wedge to a foot for a birdie.”

Will Lockwood, 11, of Vernon, was third at 79-80-159.

The Bantam Boys (13-14) Division was ruled by Brycen Ko, 14, of Richmond.

Ko carded stellar rounds of 70-69 for a nine-stroke victory over Riley Lai, 14, of Vancouver.

“Staying calm was key to the victory because if I didn’t, things could easily have gotten out of hand for me,” said Ko. “My highlight was making a 20-foot putt on number nine after double bogeying hole six and bogeying seven.”

Max Lockwood, 13, of Vernon, took third in Bantam at 76-83-159.

Cole Wilson of Kelowna took the Juvenile Boys 15-16 class with rounds of 73,72 (145) to win by eight strokes over Brandon Frechette, 16, of Lake Country. Wilson recovered from an opening triple bogey on the first hole of the tournament, but steadied himself, and played great golf for the remaining 35 holes.

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