Day one of competition at the Ontario Junior Players Invitational Championship is in the books. In the Girls U19 Overall division of the competition, for the better part of the round, it was a battle for the lead between Station Creek’s Kelly Zhao and Emily McKee out of St. George’s G&CC, with Alexa Ouellet (Weston G&CC), Joline Truong (Trafalgar G&CC) and Nobelle Park (RattleSnake Point GC) following close behind. Ultimately it was Zhao and McKee who finished the day on even par and leading the field into the final day tomorrow.
Over in the Boys U19 Overall division, while he needed all eighteen holes to take the lead into day two, Luke Smith of The Thornhill Club has a one shot lead at plus one over Zachary Smith from Brampton Golf Club. There are nine more players within four shots or better of the leader, including Andreas Diogenous (Whistle Bear GC) at four over par, who had shared the lead with Zachary Smith for much of the round. The final day of competition would appear to be up for grabs with so many players chasing the leader.
Following first round play, Tournament Director Connor Doyle said, “It is great to have so many talented Ontario juniors in Myrtle Beach competing in our inaugural tournament. All the player’s hard work in the off season paid off, as we had many excellent scores showcased on the leaderboard. With a close leaderboard after today, we are in for an exciting final round tomorrow.”
The day began under grey skies and cool 9 degree temperatures, as the fifty one junior golfers from across Ontario trickled in to River Hills Golf & Country Club throughout the morning to get some range time in before the first pairings headed out at 12:30. With no indication of significant wind or rain in the forecast, and gradually warming temperatures that reached a high of 16 degrees, the day unfolded to provide good conditions for the field to test themselves.
Officially kicking off Golf Ontario’s 2023 Championship season, the Ontario Junior Players Invitational presented by Play Golf Myrtle Beach is the only event held outside the province, but the Myrtle Beach area feels like home for many of the athletes, coaches and rules officials who spend time in the area in our traditional off-season. Speaking on behalf of the Championship Presenting Sponsor and Official Partner of Golf Ontario, Scott Tomasello said, “We’re thrilled to celebrate our partnership with Golf Ontario and all golfers in Canada with this tournament. We hope to see these juniors play well this week and come back to visit Myrtle Beach in their future endeavors.”
For more information on the 2023 Ontario Junior Players Invitational presented by Play Golf Myrtle Beach, including the leaderboard and day two pairings, visit our Golf Genius page.
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John Lawrence – Director, Competitions and Performance, Golf Ontario
Nick Taylor, Senior Director, Marketing, Golf Ontario