~Bavake Sihota fires opening round 67 (-5) to take early lead in Junior Boy’s Division~
WELLAND, ONTARIO – AUGUST 27, 2019 – The first round of the 22nd annual Mizuno Canadian National Junior Championship took place at Cardinal Lakes Golf Club early Tuesday morning. The players battled tough weather conditions, as persistent rain and swirling winds gave the players an extra challenge to overcome throughout the day. With a field of 101 players, the tournament was always going to be very competitive, and the first round proved to be just that. Each of the players will look to be at their best tomorrow for the second round of this 72-hole tournament, which will decide if they qualify for the final two rounds later this week.
The Junior Boys division had a substantial 64 players competing in it, with 50% of them facing the cut which will occur after the second round. This led to some great competition, as each of the players knew they had to be at their best, and nobody performed better than Bavake Sihota. Sihota shot a division-best 67, putting him at five under with a three-stroke lead over the second-placed Daniel Talmage. “I just put the ball on the fairway, and played steady golf” said Sihota, “I didn’t make a bogey, so I was just hitting it straight.” There were some other great scores throughout the division, but with the cut currently sitting at eight over, the pressure is on for many of the players.
Over in the Junior Girls division, Peyton Costabile and Ella Weber finished round one tied at the top of the leaderboard, shooting an impressive ten over. This gave the girls a one stroke lead over Rozlyn Rooke who finished the day at eleven over, in a tightly contested division. Costabile credited her strong mentality with helping her to perform well despite the poor conditions, saying “I kept calm when it started raining and I just adapted, like anybody else would. The girls will both look to continue their strong start into the next round to fight off the rest of the girls who remain within striking distance.
In the Bantam Boys division, there was another tie at the top of the standings at the end of day one, as Mitchell Gray and Kevin Lee both shot 74, putting them at two over through eighteen holes. Gray who was happy with his round, said “I felt pretty good out there today, I know the weather wasn’t the best, but I was hitting it really well, and yeah everything was great.” He also did not mind the conditions too much as he felt that “the course was playing a little bit softer, and probably easier too.” The Bantam Boys division will certainly be one to watch, with just 5 shots separating the top ten players a quarter of the way into the tournament.
Finally, onto the Bantam Girls division, Lauren Gervais currently sitting in 3rd place commented about the course conditions and how it affected her putting “After the rain the greens were a little softer I found, if I can tighten up my putting and can read the greens a bit better I think I can score better tomorrow by saving pars rather than making bogeys”. The leader after round 1 Karolyn Zheng made 4 birdies on route to a 76, “I had a lot of highs and lows, lots of bogeys but also 4 birdies which made up for a lot of my mistakes” Karolyn said “I am going to work on my chipping in the rough around the greens.” Karolyns highlight of her round was a 5 iron she hit on hole #8 to inside 2 feet and tapped in for birdie.
The first round of the tournament had some tremendous golf on display, with everybody looking to write their name in CJGA history.
“I think that the players got to see the course in a couple different conditions today which may end up helping them this week. The prevailing South-West wind made the par fives coming in very scoreable today. The final 5 holes at Cardinal Lakes are going to make it very interesting in all divisions coming down the stretch!” said CJGA Manager of Tour Operations Brad Mellon following the completion of Today’s Round.
The players will hope for some better conditions for the second round tomorrow, as they look to put themselves in the best position possible heading into the final two rounds.