Cooper grabs share of fifth

Braeden Cooper finished in a five-way share of fifth spot in the B.C. Bantam Golf Championships at Two Eagles Golf Course & Academy.

Vernon’s Braeden Cooper finished in a five-way share of fifth spot in the B.C. Bantam Golf Championships at Two Eagles Golf Course & Academy in West Kelowna.

Cooper produced a final-round 66 Tuesday after opening with a 70 Monday on the par-65 track.

Sean Buckles of North Vancouver (Seymour) won at 66-64-130, followed by Jeevan Sihota of Victoria (Gorge Vale) at 66-66-132 and Nolan Thoroughgood of Victoria (Royal Colwood) at 70-63-133.

“My first day wasn’t very good,” said Cooper, who turns 15 in October. “I had one bad swing on three and had a double and that cost me.

“My second day, I figured I would have to go 4-underish which is doeable on that course. But I was 3-over after four and then everything went pretty good after that.”

Cooper has club tournaments remaining at Vernon and Hillview.

Karen Zhang was crowned as Bantam girlschampion. The 36-hole tournament was played under grey skies, as winds carried smoke from American wildfires into the Okanagan.

Buckles, 14, broke out of a pack of five players who started the day as co-leaders at 66. Buckles was one of only two boys to break par in the final round. Thoroughgood shot the low round 63 Tuesday.

The tournament was decided on the 174-yard par-3 17th, where Buckles hit a gorgeous eight-iron to five feet, canning the birdie putt to take the lead. Sihota, playing in the same group, had to hit five-iron, where he could only make bogey.

“I knew it was close coming down the stretch and I was nervous on that tee, but I just focused and hit the shot,” said Buckles. “I stuffed it, so I was pretty happy.”

Sihota, only 11, said he was pleased he hung on for a runner-up finish.

“I was right in it until the last hole,” said Sihota. “Sean played great today and he deserves to win this. I’m happy for him.”

Thoroughgood made a spirited run, including four birdies on his front nine. But overswinging on the 10th hole led to a double bogey.

“I knew I had to go really low, maybe (-4) and I got it to that after nine,” said Thoroughgood. “My ball striking was pretty good, hitting it to five and six feet on the front, but the double on 10 really hurt me.”

Meanwhile, Bryn Parry of Vancouver (Seymour Creek) claimed his third straight TaylorMade and Adidas Golf PGA of B.C. Championship at Fairview Mountain in Oliver.

Parry carded a final-round 70 Tuesday after opening with a 66. He received the William Thompson trophy and $6,000.

The tournament, played over a smoky two days, saw multiple players come within strokes of snagging first place.

“I felt that when I hit really good shots, I got great rewards, and when I hit mediocre shots, there was a lot of work left,” said Parry. “The work turned into extra work because my putting speed was a little off. So, every time I made a mistake I had a six or seven footer left. But some of them went in… enough of them went in.”

Vernon’s Shannon Glenesk, who was near the top of the leaderboard after a 67 Monday, ballooned to an 83 Tuesday. He pocketed $150 in a four-way share of 37th place.

Myles Johnson of Spallumcheen was in a five-way share of 32nd place with 75-74, good for $176.

Parry previously took PGA of BC titles in 2000 and 2008.

Zibrik’s second place finish earned him $4,200. Four players shared third at 130 for $2,375: Lindsay Bernakevitch (Victoria Golf Club), John Shin (Northview Surrey), Jeremy Johnson (Fairmont Hot Springs Resort), and Ben Griffin (Uplands Victoria).