Canadians second and third in womens field
Torrential rains threw the American Junior Golf Association FutureLinks tournament at the Whistler Golf Club into disarray last week, pushing day two into day three and shortening the tournament by nine holes to 45.
The rain slowed down the greens and fairways, and made it difficult to drive from the roughs. On the bright side, it was good incentive for players to keep their heads down while swinging.
At the end of the tournament, Ryan Vallely of Lethbridge, Alberta, emerged soggy but satisfied with his first AJGA tournament win. Although the 18 year old qualified for the tournament two years ago, the Whistler event was the first he could attend.
"The (18 hour) rain delay gave me an opportunity to call my coach and figure out how to win this tournament," said Vallely. Although the coach couldnt change the weather, he did provide some helpful advice.
"I dont have a problem playing these kinds of conditions," he said. "The rain made the greens run slower, but you were still getting a true roll, which allowed me to be more aggressive on birdie putts.
"I felt good coming in and knew if my putts dropped I would be fine. Winning my first and last AJGA event is awesome."
Vallely won the first day of the competition (Aug. 21) with a three-under par 68. He played well in the rain on day two and three to score a par 71 for his second round. On the final day of competition, Vallely played one over par on Thursday for a final score of 174.
Dustin Frontis of Yakima, Washington and Zack Miller of San Rafael, California, tied for second place, four strokes back of Vallely with one over par 178s. Ryan Keeney of Redmond, Washington, and Kile Patterson of Mukilteo, Washington, tied for third with 179 strokes apiece.
The womens contest also went to a rookie, with Kristen Svicarovich of Hillsboro, Oregon only 16 years old taking the win with a total score of 185 a 78 on the first round, a 71 on the second, and a 36 on the third.
Eom Ji Park of Vancouver, was close winning the first and last rounds with a 77 and a 35, but slipping to a 78 in round two in the rain to finish with a 190. Danielle Renner of Coaldale, Alberta, was third with a 198.
The AJGA hosts FutureLinks tournaments throughout the U.S. and Canada to identify up and coming golfers and give them an opportunity to compete. Tour alumni include Tiger Woods and Canadian Mike Weir. More than 140 professional golfers on the mens and womens tour have played in FutureLinks tournaments.
For more information or the complete list of scores, visit the AJGA Web site at www.ajga.org.