AJ Ewart of Vancouver eyes up his putt on the third green in the B.C. Juvenile Golf Championships Thursday at Spallumcheen Golf and Country Club.

AJ Ewart of Vancouver eyes up his putt on the third green in the B.C. Juvenile Golf Championships Thursday at Spallumcheen Golf and Country Club.

Ewart, Rigsby claim Juvenile golf titles

AJ Ewart of Coquitlam and Courtenay’s Abigail Rigsby won B.C. Juvenile golf titles Thursday at Spallumcheen.

B.C. Golf Association

AJ Ewart of Coquitlam shot his third consecutive under-par round and took home the BC Juvenile Boys Championship by six strokes over Keaton Gudz of Victoria Thursday at Spallumcheen Golf & Country Club.

Ewart shot rounds of 70, 66 and 69 to finish at 8-under 205. Gudz shot a final round 73 to finish at  211, while Andrew Spalti of Vancouver and Tristan Mandur of Mill Bay shared third spot at 212.

For Ewart, it’s the biggest B.C. Golf title he’s won since winning the 2012 BC Bantam Boys title.

“I’ve been so close so many times so to finally win, I’m pretty happy right now,” said Ewart. “It’s pretty surreal.”

Ewart played a conservative tournament schedule, doing well at the Canadian Juniors but skipping the Canadian Amateur before he went to Wood Buffalo, Alta. to play the Western Canada Summer Games.

Ewart claimed double gold there, winning as part of the B.C. team and also the individual boys title. He capped it all with his win at Spallumcheen.

“I took the five days off after the Canadians and that was good,” said Ewart. “I know I can always play the Canadian Amateur when I get older.”

Ewart started with a steady front nine which included two bogeys and three birdies. Ewart had begun the day with a one shot lead and his closest challenger, Cowichan’s Callum Davison, made no birdies on the front nine, with his two bogeys putting him four shots back of Ewart as they made the turn.

Ewart ended all suspense on the 10th hole when he hit an iron on the short par-4 and wedged up to make birdie. Davison was more aggressive, hitting driver and making bogey for a two-shot swing that gave Ewart a six-stroke lead.

“I kept on telling myself I had to play safe,” said Ewart. “As we were waiting on the 10th hole, I thought about hitting driver, but I knew the safe play was to hit an iron.”

Even with a bogey on the 12th hole, Ewart nursed his lead through to the end, winning in grand style with a birdie on the 18th hole even when his drive went down the ninth fairway.

“I think I have some strokes to give,” said Ewart as he walked triumphantly up the ninth fairway. “I think I’ll be OK.”

Gudz, who played in the final group with Ewart and Davison, also couldn’t get anything going on his front nine, with his two bogeys putting him too far back of Ewart to make a run on the back.

“He played unbelievable and he deserved to win because he played the best for all three days,” said Gudz. “He made a lot of putts and he got out in front and we weren’t going to catch him.”

Ewart just has one more tournament this summer, an AJGA event, before he gets ready for his high school basketball season, which begins in October.

“I think I’ve grown seven inches in the last eight months,” said  the 5-foot-11 youngster.

Vernon’s Mac Gourdine tied for 14th spot with a final-round 74, giving him 221 over three rounds. Braeden Cooper of Vernon tied for 21st with a 75 Thursday. He finished at 226. There was a field 83 players with a cut after 36 holes.

Courtenay’s Abigail Rigsby shot a new course record 65 Thursday to win the Juvenile Girls crown by three strokes over Surrey’s Hannah Lee. There was a field of 29.

Rigsby had a spotless card, with six birdies, including a downhill 20-footer on her last hole that saw her better the previous course record, a 67 shot by Mary-Ann Hayward at the 2013 Canadian Senior Women’s Championship.

“I just found out at the scoring tent that I had set the new course record,” said Rigsby, who was playing her final tournament of the season and final BC Juvenile.

“It’s pretty surreal,” said Rigsby as she was doused with a champion’s water shower by friends Megan Ratcliffe and Mary Parsons. “I’ve played some really good golf ever since the Canadians, where I broke par there for a round. I came back to my home course (Crown Isle) and shot a 69 and I’ve just played really well.”

Trailing by four strokes heading into the final round, Rigsby reeled off three straight birdies and overhauled Lee by the fifth tee box en route to her first BC Golf championship.

“I couldn’t believe all those putts dropped,” said Rigsby. “I can’t really explain it, but it felt good to get ahead.”

Rigsby couldn’t wait to get her new Titleist golf bag with 2015 Champion embroidered on it. “I needed a new golf bag,” said Rigsby. “It’s a great way to finish off my season.”

 

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