Despite having to travel from Alberta to Florida and adjust his practice schedule around hurricane Nicole, Sylvan Lake’s Brady Durkin, 14, took it all in stride and brought home a sixth-place finish from the Maple Leaf Junior Golf Tour National Championships.
The tournament was held at the Orange County National Golf Course in Florida and it was supposed to start on Friday, Nov. 11. However, hurricane Nicole meant the tournament start date was pushed back to Nov. 12 and it turned into a two-day tournament instead of a three-day event. The tournament hosted 200 Canadian junior golfers, 24 of which fell into Durkin’s age category.
“It was a great experience,” Durkin said of the national championships. “I learned a lot.”
While Durkin said he didn’t think he played his best during the tournament, he also said he didn’t have a lot of time to practice, with the way the weather worked out. He arrived in Florida on Tuesday, Nov. 8, but didn’t have a chance to practice until Friday, Nov. 11, the day before the tournament started.
“I kind of had to go into it cold turkey, and that’s not something that’s happened to me before,” he explained.
“It was really foggy to start the day,” he said of the Saturday start. “But we did have decent weather for the two days.”
The Orange County National Golf Course is one of Durkin’s favourite golf courses and he had played there in March when he attended a golf skills camp.
“It felt good, I had a lot of confidence knowing that I knew the course,” he said.
At the end of this 2022 golfing season, Durkin is ranked third in Alberta and in the top 10 junior golfers in Canada.
Although the golf courses across central Alberta are buried under snow now, Durkin is simply moving his practice indoors. He explained that he works out, following a golf-specific training routine and working with a trainer, and he also works with his golf coach all winter and practices on the golf simulator at the Red Deer Golf and Country Club.
Around Christmastime, Durkin will be back in Florida for a three-day international tournament.
“There will be kids there from all over the world, so that will be pretty cool,” Durkin said of the tournament, adding that it will be a new course and a new tournament for him.
For the 2023 golf season, Durkin said he will be competing in more tournaments and he hopes to compete more in the US, as well.
“I want to see where I match up with kids in the US, and from around the world,” he explained. Durkin hopes to earn a college scholarship playing golf and attend school in the US, so more tournaments there will help him on his way toward that goal.