CARLSBAD, CALIFORNIA — Golf Ontario’s Team Ontario recently completed their second winter training camp of 2017 with positive results in the San Diego Junior Golf Association’s (SDJGA) Chris Riley Junior Championship.
The team was in California from Feb. 6-13 and had the opportunity to widen their skill set by playing three courses (Twin Oaks Golf Course, the Crossings at Carlsbad and The Legends Course at La Costa), enjoy a unique experience at the TaylorMade Kingdom and participate in the SDJGA tournament, also at Twin Oaks.
The team trained during the week at Twin Oaks in preparation for the two-day tournament that would cap off their camp. “The weather was great for training,” said Reggie Millage, Golf Ontario Head Provincial Coach. “The terrain was different from what we would see on the east coast and I think that having the tournament at the end of the week added some intensity to our practice.”
While the team did have a training camp just a month earlier, Millage noted that there was work to be done to get the players back to their peak performance. “We had a little rust to start but we definitely saw improvements throughout the week. Sunday was by far our best round as a team.”
As part of the team’s training, and thanks to Golf Ontario’s partnership with TaylorMade, the group spent a day at the TaylorMade Kingdom. “This was an unreal experience for the players,” said Millage. “It is a pretty exclusive place. We got to train on Jim Flick’s deck so we had our own area to work on different things. We had a couple of Trackmans along with their mat technology going, which was great for players to see their results. The big highlight had to be each player working one-on-one with TaylorMade’s putting guru Duane Anderson. A big thank you to Cameron Jacobs at TaylorMade for setting it up!”
The day was made even more special for the team when they received their 2017 Team Ontario TaylorMade golf bags. That gave them the opportunity to donate their old bags to the North County Junior Golf Association where they will be used for junior camps and clinics.
As the tournament began, on Feb. 11, the team still looked to rid themselves of the offseason rust. The players also dealt with rainy conditions, which didn’t make things any easier. As the tournament shifted to the second round the team began to pick up momentum. In the end, Stoney Creek’s Johnny Travale earned the top finish, second on the boys’ side (72-71-143), while Toronto’s Sarah Beqaj was the top girl finishing fifth (76-72-145).
In total, three boys finished in the top 10, including Mississauga’s Matthew Anderson who was fourth and had the low round of the second day (75-70-145), and Toronto’s Tyler Nagano who finished T7 (75-72-147).
As for the girls, they also finished with three top 10 finishes as London’s Isabella Portokalis T8 (76-76-152) and Markham’s Victoria Zheng T10 (78-77-155) joined Beqaj.
“Johnny played well and had a chance to win heading to the 18th hole of the second round,” said Millage. “Sarah did very well to earn her top five finish as she was dealing with an injury during the round. I think overall this was a neat experience for the team. This was the second major event for the SDJGA already this season, so it was a true measure of where our game is.”
With the camp complete, Millage offered the team the following advice as they look towards their final camp and Can/Am Matches in March against the South Carolina Junior Golf Association. “I think the results really spoke to how positive our ball striking was during the week, but we definitely need to focus our short game heading into the Can/Am Matches.”
The Can/Am Matches will take place March 18-19 at the Wachesaw Plantation Club in Murrells Inlet, South Carolina.