Dozens of young golfers put their skills to the test at the Merry-Hill Golf Club in Breslau last weekend. The club played host to the Maple Leaf Junior Golf Tour’s MJT Mini Tour Series stop.
Boys and girls 12 and under competed for titles in five divisions and spots in three major international tournaments scheduled for later in the summer.
“You’d be amazed at how well they play, how advanced the coaching and training has got, how in depth the programs are, and the parent involvement, and the determination to move to higher levels,” said David Smallwood, general manager at the Galt Country Club.
Among the winners of the tournament was Dawson Lew, a 10-year-old golfer from Markham. He finished the MJT Boys 9-10 division who fired off a score of 68. Lew managed to get two eagles and four birdies for a four-shot win over Gabriel Yazdani, 10, who scored 72.
“I thought the tournament was fun and the course was challenging,” said Lew in a release. “The moment I knew I was going to win was after I made a seven-foot putt on 17.”
Winning by retrogression was Shauna Liu, 10, from Maple, after tying for the lead with Oakville native Anum Manzoor, 10. Both obtained a total score of 84; Liu’s round included three birdies.
“I was happy with my overall game, but I know there’s lots more work to do,” said Liu.
In the MJT Boys 11-12 Division, Riley Bauer of Waterloo obtained the victory with a total score of 95. He claimed the title in a nail-biting fashion, scoring just a single point over 12-year-old Eddie McDonald of Elora.
The MJT Girls 11-12 Division victory went to 11-year-old Oakville native Swetha Sathish, who finished with a strong round of 76. This won her division along with the Low Overall Girls score, which she attributed to having a positive attitude. Placing second in the division with a score of 88 was Sophie Weber, 11, of Burlington.
The MJT Boys U8 division win was captured by eight-year-old Karuna Doulat from Brampton, who finished with 86. With two birdies on his front nine, Doulat cruised in the back nine to claim the trophy. He won by four shots over seven-year-old Dustin Zhao from Maple.
The tournament was a qualifier round for the following international tours: the Future Champions Golf Callaway World Championship held in Palm Desert, California, the IMG Academy Junior World Championship in Pinehurst, North Carolina, and the U.S. Kids Golf World Championship held in San Diego, California. Smallwood said he often sees quite a variety of kids attending.
“You’ll have quite a diverse scoring. You’ll have some that, if you watch their mannerisms and what they do on the golf course, you’d be hard pressed not to think that they’re LPGA tour players,” said Smallwood. “Then you’ll have some that this is their first inroad into a competition. You’ll have somebody that’ll shoot even par, and then you’ll have somebody that’ll shoot 40 over par. They’re there for different reasons.”
Parents of the children attending play the role of a caddie, carrying the player’s equipment and providing moral support and insightful advice. Smallwood said this can add to a more competitive atmosphere.
“The mini-tour is more competitive than the regular tour because whether it’s right or not, it’s because of the demands and expectations of the parents,” said Smallwood. “The intensity of the event is much greater. You’ll still have parents that are out there and just love being out there, interacting with their kids and leave their kids alone to let them do what the kids do and then you’ll have parents that’ll scold their kids for getting a bad shot. It’s quite a diverse group.”
The next MJT Mini Tour stop in Ontario is in Puslinch at Victoria Park Valley Golf Club. To learn more or to register, visit www.maplejt.com.