Yukon golf champs outdone at B.C. amateur qualifier

Whitehorse’s Dan King could see the forest for the trees on Sunday. He was never in them. King owned the fairways and carded a one-over-par at the BCGA Provincial Qualifier at Mountain View Golf Club. 

Whitehorse’s Dan King could see the forest for the trees on Sunday. He was never in them.

King owned the fairways and carded a one-over-par at the BCGA Provincial Qualifier at Mountain View Golf Club.

His combined score of 155 over two rounds put him up on two past Yukon champs to earn the territory’s one spot at the B.C. Amateur Championships next month.

“I wasn’t hitting it well at all last week, but then (Mountain View pros) Jeff (Wiggins) and Sean Lancaster straightened me out, gave me a little lesson,” said King. “They squared me up and I’ve been keeping it in play – keeping it out of trees.

“It was a good round for me. I didn’t make as many putts as I’d like to, I definitely left a couple out there, but played really well.”

King opened with an 82 on Saturday to finish in a tie for fourth. He then shimmied out a one-stroke win with a 73, which represents his best score in competition.

“I’ve shot a 72 out here, but not in competition,” said the 30-year-old.

King captured the spot by one stroke over five-time Yukon champ Phil Mullin, who shot an 81 and a 75.

Landon Kulych, another past Yukon champ, placed third. Kulych hit a 78 on Saturday to finish the day at the top of the leader board, but a quintuple-bogey disaster on hole 9 on Sunday led to an 85 on the day. (Blaine Tessier, another multiple-time Yukon champ, tied Mullin over the two rounds but was not vying for the amateur open spot.)

King scored an eagle on hole 10, erasing two front-nine bogeys on Sunday. He then bogeyed hole 15 and the rest were pars.

At press time, King was unsure if he’d accept the spot at the B.C. championships or pass it along to the next in line – Mullin or Kulych. It will be King’s first time at the amateur championship if he decides to go.

“I haven’t really considered it,” said King, moments after the results were made official. “I don’t know if I’m going to go, if I’m going to get that week off work or what. It might be fun to try. It would be a good experience and I might as well, but we’ll see. I think I’m going to sleep on it.”

Whitehorse’s James McGrath punched his ticket for BCGA’s Junior Boys Championship next month with 179 over 36 holes.

“It feels good. It shouldn’t be too nerve-wracking,” said McGrath. “I think I’m ready for it. I’ll spend the next two weeks working on my game so I can post a good score.”

McGrath shot a 92 Saturday and an 87 Sunday to clinch the spot at his first B.C. juniors.

“It was pretty brutal,” said McGrath of Saturday. “I had new irons in the bag and my alignment was off. But today I fixed it up.”

The 17-year-old won the junior division of the Mountain View Golf Club Championships the last two years. He also placed second in the junior division of the Yukon championship last year.

McGrath beat out fellow junior Parker Olson for the B.C. spot. Parker hit a combined scored of 191 over the two rounds.

“He was on my tail for a bit, but I pulled away from him on the back-nine,” said McGrath.

Whitehorse’s Trever Harris will make his second straight appearance at the junior boys championship next month. Harris, who trains at the Brent Morrison Golf Academy, qualified for the junior championship in Zone 6 in B.C. on Vancouver Island.

Harris also qualified for the B.C. Amateur Championships through a qualifier at Eaglecrest Golf Club on Vancouver Island.

It is a big summer for McGrath, Olson and Harris. The three juniors will represent the Yukon at the Canada Summer Games this August in Sherbrooke, Que.

“I’m really excited. It’ll be my first Canada Summer Games and my last,” said McGrath, who will exceed the age limit for the 2017 Games.

Whitehorse players Gord Zealand and Vic Istchenko will compete at the B.C. senior championships.

Istchenko, who is a past Yukon champ and won the senior division in 2011, hit a 164 over the two rounds. Zealand, who was not altogether pleased with a 100 on Sunday, finished with a combined score of 189.

The B.C. Amateur Championships will take place at the Radium Resort at Radium Hot Springs July 9-12.

The Junior Boys Championship will happen at the Revelstoke Golf Club July 2-5.

The Senior Men’s Championship will take place at the Eaglepoint Golf Resort in Kamloops July 29-31.

Contact Tom Patrick at tomp@yukon-news.com