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Junior golf tournament tees off in Sylvan Lake

The Maple Leaf Junior Golf Tour took over Meadowlands Golf Club for a tournament July 26-27
A young golfer watches his ball after teeing off at Meadowland Golf Club’s tenth hole on July 28. Photo by Kaylyn Whibbs/Sylvan Lake News

Sylvan Lake’s Meadowlands Golf Club welcomed young golfers from across the province earlier this week.

On July 26, 35 golfers took to the course to compete as part of the mini tour while 97 kids teed off on July 27-28 for the Maple Leaf Junior Golf Tour’s MJT PLYR Series.

Luke Rundell, CPGA teaching professional and tournament/league coordinator at Meadowlands Golf Club, says the event went well.

“It’s huge to have the Maple Leaf Junior Tour in Sylvan Lake because I don’t think it’s every been here before and it’s one of the main national junior development tours in Canada,” Rundell said, adding it was “very awesome” to have the event in town and at Meadowlands.

There were no spectators allowed at the tournament in order to abide by COVID-19 protocol of keeping outdoor gatherings to less than 200 people.

A handful of local golfers participated in the tournament at Meadowlands with Brady Durkin, 12, clinching the peewee boys division by one stroke.

Durkin has been training with Rundell for a little over a year and qualified for the US Kid Junior Worlds at Pinehurst in North Carolina last season.

Since then, Rundell says, Durkin has made the decision to give up hockey and focus on his golf, so he spent the winter working with a fitness program and on his swing in an indoor simulator.

“The start of the [2020] competitive season, he started with two wins and a second place,” explained Rundell, adding the second place came in a tough one stroke loss after a double bogey and a missed putt on the final two holes.

In the tournament at his home course Durkin went into the final day down two shots behind the leader and ended up winning by a single stroke over the kid who beat him at the previous tournament.

“He’s been doing really well, it’s pretty cool to see his consistency and his improvement in that short of a window,” Rundell said of Durkin.

Rundell says he thinks the tournament was a good enough experience that the Maple Leaf Junior Golf Tour will probably return to Sylvan Lake next year.

Brady Durkin, 12, smiles with his hardware after clinching the peewee boys division in the Maple Leaf Junior Golf Tour’s MJT PLYR Series at Meadowlands Golf Club on July 28. Photo Courtesy of MJT.