CAMLACHIE— The Golf Association of Ontario’s (GAO) Investors Group Bantam Championship concluded on Aug. 12 from the Sawmill Creek Golf Resort and Spa in Camlachie. The event began with 56 boys and 29 girls looking to claim the 2015 championships. At the end of the day, Stoney Creek’s Johnny Travale walked away with the boys’ title, while Markham’s Hailey McLaughlin took home the girls’ championship.
Travale, 14, from Glendale Golf & Country Club, came into the final round with a two-shot lead after his opening round of three-under (68). He got off to a blistering start during the final round and was four-under at the turn. However, he would get into trouble early on the back nine with a double bogey on 11 and a triple on 12. He would settle down and got back on track. He finished the day one-over (72) to end the tournament at two-under, taking the title.
After the win Travale spoke about how he got back on track during the final round. “I thought that I still had a good shot at winning, even though I didn’t know what my fellow competitors were doing, but I knew if I kept a solid frame of mind I would be able to pull through.”
“There was a lot of hard work that went into winning this,” added Travale. “I worked hard during the winter and continued during the summer so its nice to see it all pay off.”
Sharing the silver medal were Beamsville’s Jason Patrick Maloney and Courtice’s Justin Posteraro at three-over. Maloney, from Twenty Valley Golf & Country Club, began the day seven shots back of the lead after his four-over (75) first round. Thanks to a one-under (70) during the final round, the only round under par for the day, he catapulted into the silver-medal position.
As for Posteraro, he posted a one-under (70) during the opening round to sit two-back of the lead. He would go on to card a four-over (75) during the second round, but was able to hang on to earn a share of the silver.
Things were interesting on the girls’ side as the final round saw multiple lead changes. In the end it would be McLaughlin, from Cedar Brae Golf & Country Club, who emerged victorious. McLaughlin, 13, and a member of the York Regional Team, started the day in the second to last group, three-shots off the pace, after an opening round of seven-over (78). She would go on to have the low round of the day, thanks to five birdies on the final six holes, posting a one-under (70) to capture the title at six-over for the tournament.
Afterwards, McLaughlin spoke about her strong finish to the tournament. “I was one-over through nine but was playing better than I had the day before. I really stepped up my putting and was sinking putts all day.”
“This feels like a dream but it is actually happening! I never thought I would make it this far, but at the same time I kind of did. I just had to have a lot of faith in myself,” said McLaughlin.
First-round leader, and 2015 Ontario Peewee Champion, Alyssa DiMarcantonio picked up the silver medal at eight-over for the tournament. DiMarcantonio from Maple and Station Creek Golf Club finished four-over (75) during the opening round. She duplicated that on day two with another four-over (75).
Three players shared the bronze medal at 15-over for the tournament. The group included Strathroy’s Taylor Kehoe (77-80), Windsor’s Jasmine Ly (81-76) and London’s Isabella Portokalis (78-79).
The GAO would like to thank Sawmill Creek Golf Resort and Spa, along with their staff and volunteers, for helping to run this event. Thanks also to the GAO volunteers and title sponsor Investors Group for their continued support of golf in the province. For full information, including the final leaderboards, see the tournament sites at: http://gao.bluegolf.com/bluegolf/gao15/event/gao1522/index.htm(boys) and http://gao.bluegolf.com/bluegolf/gao15/event/gao1586/index.htm(girls).
About the Investors Group Ontario Bantam Championship
The Investors Group Ontario Bantam Boys’ Championship was first contested in 1923 at the Summit Golf & Country Club. The first Ontario Bantam Girls’ Championship was held in 2003. The event is open to players 14-year-old and younger as of Aug. 1. Participants on the boys’ side qualified through one of four qualifiers held earlier this summer. Notable past boys champions include: Tony Gil, Matt LeMay, Bill Hutcheson, Kelly Roberts and Tim McCutcheon. As for past girls’ champions, the list includes: Jennifer Kirby, Augusta James and Christina Foster.