Vernon golfers hot on Maple Leaf Tour

A few Vernon and area players were hotter than the searing temperatures in the Maple Leaf Junior Golf Tour’s Ford Series.

A few Vernon and area players were hotter than the searing temperatures in the Maple Leaf Junior Golf Tour’s Ford Series at The Harvest Golf Club in Kelowna.

The golfers battled for division titles, international exemptions, and the team interclub title Monday and Tuesday.

Lionel Taylor, 19, of Kelowna, carded 68-70-138 to defeat defending champion Steven Lee, 19, also of Kelowna, who shot 69-71-140.

“I didn’t make very many mistakes, and made about five 40-footers,” said Taylor. “I feel really good about winning – I’ve been up there every year and it was nice to win.”

Third place in Junior Boys went to Matthew Kreutz, 18, of Coldstream, who came in at even par (71-73-144).

After starting out four shots back on Day 2, Marcus Apchin, 16, of Kelowna, pulled ahead and won the Juvenile Boys title, firing 76-74-150 for a three-stroke victory over Mitchell Thiessen, 16, of Chilliwack (72-81-153).

Winning his first two-day tournament ever was MJT newcomer Matt Hopley, 13, of Kelowna, who produced 72-75-147 to edge Braeden Cooper, 14, of Vernon (77-71-148) for the Bantam Boys title.

“I hit 30 greens and was confident throughout the tournament,” said Hopley. “The highlight for me was having the chance to shoot under par on the first day which I had never done before.”

Third place went to Philipp Kaiser, 14, of Kelowna, who shot back-to-back rounds of 82.

Two 12-year-old Calgary boys were on the MJT Pee Wee podium, after Cooper Lindberg shot 73-83-156 for the win, and Richard Dou (84-77-161) tied for second with eight-year-old Ryan Vest of Vernon, who shot 83-78-161.

MJT veteran Haley Hewer, 18, of Penticton,     ruled the Girls category at 74-74-148 for a 3-stroke victory.

The team of Morgan Benko, Noah Kerins and Justin Gaukel from Northview Golf and Country Club in Surrey won the Interclub part of the tournament with a total net score of 276, earning a free entry into the MJT Ford Series at Predator Ridge Golf Resort in Vernon next month.

In addition, Apchin and Hewer both won age–specific exemptions into the North American Junior Amateur in Arizona this December.

Jared Larsen of Vernon took the Mr. Lube Long Drive Competition for Junior Boys, while Cooper claimed the Bantam Boys Golf Town Comeback Award for best second day improvement.