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London’s Portokalis wins CN Future Links Ontario girls’ title; Châteauguay’s Lacasse takes boys’ division

Taylor Craig/ Golf Canada

MIDLAND, Ont. – A hot and humid day, punctuated by a booming thunder clap, closed out the 2016 edition of the CN Future Links Ontario Championship at Midland Golf & Country Club. Brandon Lacasse and Team Ontario’s Isabella Portokalis emerged from tight groups of competitors to claim the Junior Girls and Junior Boys titles.

The Junior Boys leaderboard was crowded throughout the final day of competition. Lacasse separated himself from the group and the Châteauguay, Que., product matched his second-round 70 to finish 212 overall. The 18-year-old, who entered the day with a share of the lead, finished with two birdies for a two-stroke victory.

“I just tried to play as if it was a fun round,” said Lacasse. “I always finish second or third, so I’m happy to finally win a big tournament.”

Lacasse noted the bittersweet nature of the victory with this being his final year of eligibility on the junior circuit. “It’s fun to finish with a win,” he said. “Last year, I finished sixth at the Canadian Juniors, so maybe a win this year will help me perform better.”

Toronto’s Tyler Nagano remained competitive throughout the round, tallying four birdies, but could not catch the leader. The 17-year-old finished 4-over 214, while Beaconsfield, Que., native Remi Chartier earned third-place with a 69 – his lowest round of the weekend.

As the Top-5 in the Junior Boys division, Lacasse, Nagano, Chartier, Team Ontario’s Ty Celone (Long Sault, Ont.) and Team Ontario’s Jake Bryson (Dunrobin, Ont.) earned spots into the 2016 Canadian Junior Boys Championship, which will be contested at Clovelly Golf Club in St. John’s, N.L. from August 1-4. Kelvin Young Woong Lim claimed the sixth available spot following a playoff-victory over Charles-David Trépanier of Québec City and Anthony Occhiuto from Guelph, Ont.

A clap of thunder forced the brief suspension of play with players being evacuated from the field due to safety concerns. After players returned to the course, Vancouver’s Tiffany Kong and Surrey, B.C., native Hannah Lee began play before the championship committee had allowed the resumption of play. After careful review of the situation, the committee decided to waive the penalty of disqualification as per Rule 6-8: Discontinuance of Play; Resumption of Play, and to issue each with a two-stroke penalty.

Isabella Portokalis tallied a pair of birdies en route to a 2-over 72 on the day. The London, Ont., native made par on hole 18 to sit 6-over 216 alongside Kong. When the two-stroke penalty was applied following the round, Portokalis claimed the win by two strokes.

“I just tried to keep calm and keep making pars, and if a putt went in then that was great,” said the 14-year-old when asked to reflect on the day. “I got into the scoring tent and everybody said that I won and I didn’t even realize it.”

Portokalis sees this victory as a building block towards future success, including the 2016 Canadian Junior Girls Championship in August. “Now I know that I can win any tournament,” she said. “I was three back on the first tee, but I bounced back on the back nine.”

Kong and Lee – members of Team Canada’s Women’s Development Squad – claimed second- and third-place in the tournament. Kong collected four birdies and an eagle on hole 15, but finished with a 2-over 72 showing. Lee finished third following a 75.

All players within the Top-6 in the Junior Girls division earned entries into the 2016 Canadian Junior Girls Championship from August 2-5 at The Links at Penn Hills in Shubenacadie, N.S. Ellie Szeryk (London, Ont,), Team Ontario’s Monet Chun (Richmond Hill, Ont.), and Grace St-Germain (Orleans, Ont.) will compete alongside Portokalis, Kong, and Lee.

For full results click here.



GAO Heron Bay Isabella Portokalis Monet Chun Peyton Callens team ontario

Team Ontario takes four medals at FCWT Junior Golf Open

Coral Springs, Florida— The Golf Association of Ontario’s (GAO) Team Ontario was in Coral Springs, Florida, Feb. 4-8, for their second winter training camp of 2016. The team took part in on course, physical and psychological training at the Heron Bay Golf Club before participating in the Future Collegians World Tour (FCWT) Junior Golf Open (Feb. 6-7) also at Heron Bay.

The event turned out to be a good one for Team Ontario as they took four out of the six medals including a clean sweep of the podium on the girls’ side. Richmond Hill’s Monet Chun walked away with the gold, London’s Isabella Portokalis took the silver and Halton Hill’s Alexandra Naumovski earned the bronze. On the boys’ side it was Langton’s Peyton Callens who picked up the bronze medal.

“We were pleased with the approach Team Ontario athletes took in this FCWT event, given the time of the year, and the challenging weather conditions on day two,” said GAO Director of High Performance Andrew Moss. “Seeing where our athletes are at in the middle of winter provides great feedback to the players, and their personal coaches.  The strength of our girls’ team was very evident, and sends a great message to young female athletes across Canada.  With the strength of our golf development programs, there are great opportunities for young female athletes to access great sport experiences and education opportunities, through golf.”

Chun, 15 from the Summit Golf & Country Club, got out to an early lead during the opening round and never looked back. She finished round one at four-under (68) notching five birdies on the day. She took a one-shot lead into the second round and finished the day at even-par (72) to win the tournament by six strokes at four-under (140).

Portokalis, 14 from West Haven Golf & Country Club, also had a strong opening round finishing at three-under (69). She did fall back on the second day with a four-over (77) but her first round had given her enough of a cushion that she was able to hang on for second at two-over (146).

As for Naumovski, 18 from the Brampton Golf Club, she had a consistent tournament finishing the opening round one-over (73), which included a hole in one at the par 3 11th, and a second round of two-over (74) to finish third with a total of three-over (147).

For Callens, 16 from the Delhi Golf & Country Club, he posted two steady rounds of 72 to card an even par (144) over the two-round event.  Callens was the only player to break par in round two, with unusually cold, wet, and windy conditions.

“A big thanks to our Head Coach Reggie Millage, and our support team of Nick Martichenko and Judy Goss, for the work they did with our team members throughout the training sessions and competitive rounds,” added Moss.

Team Ontario will now prepare for the Can-Am Junior Team Matches (March 13-20), an annual competition with the South Carolina Junior Golf Association, in Murrells Inlet, South Carolina.