One of the biggest junior events of the season for a half-dozen Westman golfers will take place this weekend at the Shilo Country Club.
Brandon’s Austin Dobrescu, Carberry’s Joel Baron and Minnedosa’s Zane MacDonald will be in the boys’ CN Future Links Prairie Championship, while Erickson’s Bobbi Uhl will join Brandonites Hayley Shanks and Tianna Slate in the girls’ event. The three-round tournament, which runs from Friday through Sunday, has drawn some top junior golfers from British Columbia to Quebec, and has Dobrescu, who plays on the Maple Leaf Junior Tour, anxious to get on the course today for his practice round.
"The CN is one of the biggest of the year," the 17-year-old Vincent Massey student said. "I’ve never played in this tour; it will be my first CN event. I was talking to Steve Young from Winnipeg and he was in one and said it was one of the best competitions he’s ever played in.
"The MJT is a great tour and I’ve had a lot of success and loved it, but I’m really excited for this one. I get to compete against some people I’ve never competed against. It will be good to see where I (measure) up to against them."
The junior boys’ event features five players who placed in the top 20 at last year’s Future Links Prairie Championship, while the girls’ side features 18-year-old Jaclyn Lee of Calgary, who is on the national development team.
Uhl knows she will face quite a few challenges this weekend. Although Shilo is her home course, the 14-year-old will have to deal with a longer course by having to play from the white tees and tough pin placements. She also has to stay focused for three rounds, deal with a talented field and she comes in knowing she’s one of the youngest competitors in the field.
That, however, doesn’t bother Uhl.
"I’m just hoping to do the best I can do and play my game. I don’t really have the expectations; I’m just hoping to grow my game from this experience," she said.
"It’s a little difficult because you are young and stuff, but I don’t find it as bad because I go in with everyone, I fit in with everyone and we have fun. I shoot the same as everyone, so I find that I fit in just fine."
In addition to the experience, there are some big stakes on the line this weekend as the top six junior boys will earn exemptions to the national junior championship in Ontario, while the junior girls’ winner earns an exemption to their national championship.
Dobrescu would love a top-six finish, but knows it won’t be easy.
"The course will be playing tough, but I think a couple 73s (would be good). If I’m putting well there, I think I’ll be able to do well," he said. "I’m definitely confident. I’ve played in a couple tournaments and I’m feeling all right about it."
MATCH PLAY: Glenboro’s Josh Wytinck, Brandon’s Mark Tokle and Dauphinites Trevor Fox and Connor Shaw are in Teulon for the Golf Manitoba match play qualifiers this weekend. The 32 men with the lowest 36-hole total after Saturday and Sunday will advance to the match play championship in Winnipeg.
UNIVERSITY: Wytinck won’t have much time to rest after the match play qualifiers as he will be on Winnipeg’s Southwood Golf and Country Club course on Tuesday for the Canadian University/College Championship as the University of Manitoba team captain. The four-round event will run through June 6.
CHIP SHOTS: The 54th annual Grey Owl tournament at Clear Lake still has openings and has extended its registration deadline. The event will run from June 13-15. For more information, see thegreyowl.ca … Minnedosa’s Rockin’ the Fields Par 3 tournament will be held on Saturday. Contact the club for more information … Carberry’s men’s spring open will run on Sunday, followed by the women’s open on June 8. Contact the club at 204-834-2325 … Brandon’s chapter of the Huntington Society of Canada will host its charity tournament at Glen Lea on June 8. For more information, call Cam Harrison at 204-724-0534 … The Killarney spring women’s open will take place on June 10. To register, call 204-523-8277 … The Brandon Ladies’ Western Open is returning to the Wheat City course on Aug. 10, with a shotgun start at 9 a.m. A junior flight for players 18 and under has been added. For more information, call Janice Meadows at 204-728-0708.