Ryan Vest was as hot as the weather.
The Vernon golfer successfully defended his 2019 Maple Leaf Junior Golf Tour title on his home course Monday and Tuesday, July 20 and 21, firing rounds of 71 and 70 to finish at 3-under 144 on the Predator course at Predator Ridge.
Vest made seven birdies over 36 holes and was a two-shot winner in the Bantam Boys division over Tate Bruggeman of Edmonton. Coldstream’s Braxton McDonald was fifth in the field of 23, shooting rounds of 72-74 to finish at 2-over 146.
“I was happy to play some solid golf,” said Vest about his first 2020 MJT win. “I just tried to play as best as I could.”
The Maple Leaf Junior Golf Tour was back in action rolling into the first of two wait-listed events in the Interior (tour plays the Okanagan Golf Club in Kelowna Thursday and Friday, July 23 and 24).
The first stop was the high-profile MJT Ford Series at Predator Ridge Resort. The field featured some of the top talent from across BC and Alberta, who played in beautiful sunshine and scorching temperatures for both rounds on the magnificent Predator course, under new MJT health and safety protocols. The event also had a Ford Hole in One Contest presented by Watkin Motors, which Annalise Stolzenberg of Langley came the closest to winning.
Hot scoring from 15-year old Cooper Humphreys of Kelowna led to him winning the Low Overall and MJT Juvenile Boys title, after he blazed around the championship course firing scores of 71 and 68 (139). Humphreys, who picked up his second 2020 MJT title with his outstanding performance, said, “I wanted to play with no fear. I made a big putting change and it worked out well. It means a lot because I really wanted to win.”
Andrew Ferworn of Predator Ridge was third in the Juvenile Boys Division, shooting rounds of 78-73 for a 7-over 151 total. He was 12 shots behind Humphreys. Jaden Snitynsky of Predator was 27th with rounds of 88-98-186.
The Low Overall Girls score and MJT Girls 15-19 title was won in style by MJT veteran-champion Erin Lee, 15, of Langley, BC. The talented Lee, who has been a regular on the top of the MJT leaderboards over the years, picked up her first 2020 win at Predator Ridge after firing excellent scores of 68 and 74 (142).
She was 12 shots better than Vernon’s Kendra Jones-Munk of the Vernon Golf and Country Club. Jones-Munk had the low round in the group Tuesday, shooting a 73 to go along with her opening-round 81.
“I went into the second round trying to push during the round and get as close to the leader as I could,” said Jones-Munk. “I made some moves during the round. I played safe when I had to and there were some holes that were riskier and I could take some risks on those holes. I did that and it paid off.”
Austin Armanini of Predator Ridge was third in the Junior Boys Division, which included the low round overall on Tuesday, a 5-under 67. He opened with an 82 and finished at 149, four shots behind the group winner, Russell Howlett of Delta. Tanner Witt of Vernon shot an opening-round 85 and did not play on Day 2.