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Canadians on top in Futurelinks tournament

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Some of the best young golfers in Canada and the U.S., aged 13 to 18, were in Whistler this week to compete in the American Junior Golf Association’s FutureLinks tournament. Players represented 10 states and four provinces.

At the end of the first round of the men’s competition, three of the top four spots belonged to Canadian golfers.

In first place, with a three under par 68, was Ryan Vallely of Lethbridge, Alberta. The 18 year old made six birdies, three bogies and nine pars to jump to the front of the pack. He has never played in an AJGA tournament, but he is currently a member of the national junior team and ranked fourth in Bank of Montreal Order of Merit.

"I played a really solid round after getting off to a great start," said Vallely. "I putted phenomenally today, definitely the best I have putted in a long time.

"This course is in wonderful shape and the greens were awesome – they were probably running a little slower because of all the rain, but it was great."

Kyle Patterson of Mukilteo, Washington, finished one stroke back of Vallely, while Brandon Fry of Victoria and Colin Gilliham of Mission tied for third with 70 apiece.

In the women’s field, two of the top three golfers were Canadian.

Adrienne White of Red Deer, Alberta tied with Eom Ji Park of Vancouver for the lead with 77s.

"My mental edge kept me on top of this round," said White. "I was able to not let the rains bother me, but tomorrow I need to work on closing out the round. I ended with bogeys on 16 and 17."

Park said: "On the front nine, I played well. On the back, I lost my concentration because of the weather."

Park also said she struggled with her driver, hitting two out of bounds, and had putting problems as well – including two three-putts late in the round.

Kristen Svicarovich of Hillsboro, Oregon was second with a 78, and Seiko Onoue of La Habra, California, was third with a 79.

The final score of the three-round tournament will be posted next week.

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