Matt McEachran-Law will be smiling at any sand traps coming his way today in the B.C. Junior zone qualifying tournament in Revelstoke.
The 16-year-old long ball hitter went into the 36-hole event oozing of confidence in the bunker.
“My long game is pretty good, but my short game is off; my wedge game is down the drain,” said McEachran-Law, a four handicap at the Vernon club. “If I could just play out of bunkers and drive, I could win a tournament.”
The Grade 10 Seaton student was laughing about his struggles and hopes to follow a superb showing at the Zone 2 B.C. Summer Games playdowns when he carded a 71 for third place and a spot on the Okanagan team.
He and good buddy Russell Day, who’s also playing in Revelstoke this weekend, will play in their first Summer Games, July 19-22 at Hazelmere in Surrey.
There was a field of 74 at the Thompson-Okanagan zone qualifier with the top four 16 and under players making the Games’ team.
“It was nice to have the qualifier here because you know all the blind spots on the course,” said McEachran-Law.
Matt, whose brother Chris golfed in the Summer Games two years ago in Langley, took up golf as a six-year-old, getting serious about his game at 10.
“I played with my brother a lot and played with lots of older kids and I played better doing that. My dad and brother were always better than me, but two years ago I passed my dad.”
McEachran-Law took lessons from Scott Allan two years ago at Predator Ridge, but is tweaking his own game these days with Allan no longer at the resort.
“He (Allan) changed my grip. He’s the reason I’m a good bunker player.”
Allan believes the combination of McEachran-Law’s aggressive golf game and strong social skills will be a great asset to the Zone 2 team.
“The Summer Games are all about coming together quickly as a team, forming instant bonds with your fellow athletes and enjoying the experience,” said Allan.
Matt, who plays regularly with Day at Vernon, follows the PGA Tour with great interest.
“I like (Phil) Mickelson in general, but my favourite personality is Ben Crane. He’s super slow, but he’s funny.”
Away from the tee boxes and bunkers, McEachran-Law is a pretty good basketball player. He was a shooting guard with the senior AA Seaton Sonics last season, making the Valleys. He’s now playing spring league in Kelowna with the likes of Jon Garvie, Chris Gallant and Ajay Jhajj.
“I’m pretty torn between the two sports right now,” said McEachran-Law, who is also joined on the Summer Games team by Lionel Taylor and Colten Share of Kelowna.
Day, also 16 and in Grade 10 at Seaton, began whacking a ball at age four with his grandfather, Len Adams.
“He took me here for junior lessons on the range a few times. I was kind of frustrated at first when I was five or six. When I was 10, I could finally hit the ball straight.”
Also deep off the tee, Day holds a strong short game thanks in part to tips from Vernon pro Justin Baillargeon.
“He’s got a great game,” said Baillargeon. “Shooting 73 under pressure here did wonders for his confidence. He rocked it.”
When he’s not on the course or the range, Day works in the back, where he’s been part of the pro shop staff for three years.
“He was a little kid when he started here,” said Neal Koide, director of member services. “He grew six to eight inches in the last 10 months and he’s shooting in the 70s.
“He’s here everyday practising, even on his days off. He was out in the rain Wednesday, in a chipping contest with some other kids.”
Said Day: “I play almost everyday with Matt; we’ll play 36 holes a day in the summer.”
Day, who in his younger years, received lessons from Jesse Crowe and Kevin Geistlinger, likes the young Tour phenoms like Rickie Fowler on Bubba Watson.
“Their videos are pretty funny,” said Day, a former talented hockey centre who played Libero (defensive specialist) for Seaton junior volleyball Sonics a year ago when they finished seventh in B.C.
Prior to the Revelstoke playoffs, Day was shaping things up with his TaylorMade R11S stiff shaft driver, working especially on his draw shot.
The provincial junior goes July 10-13 at Sunshine Coast Golf & County Club in Sechelt.