BY REGAN LYNN
Niagara Falls, Ontario offers visitors a myriad of activities, from the obvious scenic views or tours of the falls, to shopping, to visits to the casino, but those were low on the priority list of junior golfer Jaxon Lynn (16), a member at Sylvan Lake Golf and Country Club, who was participating in the 2014 Canadian National Junior Boys Championship (July 28 – August 1).
For the tournament, Lynn and 156 other boys (ages 14 to 18) played at the Legends on the Niagara: Battlefield course, about 10 minutes outside of Niagara Falls.
The Battlefield course featured a nice mix of wide links-style holes with generous undulating fairways and greens that are bound by dense forest and brush. Fairways that sweep across a gently contoured countryside give the golfers some breathing room both off the tee and as they approach the green, but there are many bunkers and water hazards throughout the course, which come into play. It played quite long for the players (7,300 yards).
Although the week was forecasted to be hot and muggy, the tournament had its share of inclement weather. Early practice rounds were hindered by wind and rain. Instead of playing 36 practice holes, Jaxon played only 27 holes to prepare for the tournament, his first of this magnitude.
An early tee time for round one greeted the players with overcast conditions, but the sun eventually decided to make its presence felt as the round progressed. A steady round left Jaxon with a score of 72, even par for the day. He was tied for 17th after round one, with the leader shooting an incredible score of eight under.
Mother Nature reared her ugly head for round two. Conditions were wet and play was suspended early on because of lightning and rain. Competitors on the course were removed and had to wait about five hours before being allowed to go back on to the course. Then play lasted for approximately 15 minutes before it was eventually halted for the day. Jaxon had an afternoon tee time and waited most of the day for updates about when his round would begin.
Ultimately, he started his second round a day late, after other players on the course finished their second round. Weather for round 2 was very breezy, but sunny. The course was very hectic after round two was finished, as golfers waited around to see who made the cut. Jaxon shot an 80. He was simultaneously disappointed with his score, but was relieved to make the cut and continue his tournament.
Round three started just after 5 p.m. for his threesome and they completed 15 holes before the golfers were called in due to visibility issues. Wind picked up the pace in the early evening, but the sun was out and the sky was clear. The next morning, the round (3 holes) was completed after an early start. Jaxon shot a par 72. Even though he was “throwing darts” at the pins, he was unable to capitalize by missing some relatively manageable putts.
There was a relatively quick turnaround after round three was completed, so the tournament could continue to be on pace. Going into the final round, the weather was the best it had been all week. Sunny, but muggy, it felt like plus 37. Finishing with a score of 74, Jaxon tied for 41st.
Overall, the visit to Niagara Falls was a positive occurrence. Coping with weather issues, delays, a tough golf course, and quality competition added to the experiences gained by Jaxon at the tournament. Hopefully, he will have the opportunity to participate in this event next year and he will be able to utilize what he has learned moving forward. He also appreciated encouragement and support from family and friends.