Charles-Éric Bélanger (Photo courtesy of Roger Lauzon).
VAUDREUIL-DORION, Que. – Four competitors shot 1-under-par 71 to take the opening round lead in the 77th Canadian Junior Boys Championship being contested at Summerlea Golf & Country Club in Vaudreuil-Dorion, Que.
Two 16-year-olds, Charles-Éric Bélanger of Québec City, Que., and A.J. Ewart of Coquitlam, B.C., are co-leaders in both the Junior and Juvenile divisions.
The pair are joined at the top of the Junior leaderboard by 18-year-old Kevin Gordon of Whitby, Ont., and 17-year-old Henry Lee of Coquitlam, B.C.
While Summerlea Golf & Country Club was not affected by the heavy rainfall in the area, the competitors were challenged with gusty winds throughout the day.
Despite the challenging conditions, Bélanger maintained focus on the course. “I made good saves. I putted really well and struck the ball well. I tried to hit every fairway and attack every green in hopes of making a lot of birdies.”
Bélanger recorded five birdies on the day, including one on 18, to be one of only three players to birdie the final par four.
Bélanger and Ewart are looking to become the ninth player to win both the Junior and Juvenile titles in the same year since the Juvenile competition was introduced in 1970.
“I’m going to focus on hitting fairways and greens and not think too much about the outcome at the end, but if I did (win) it would be a great accomplishment,” added Bélanger.
A tight leaderboard has four players one-stroke back of the lead in a tie for fifth place. Opening the competition with rounds of even-par were Aaron Black of Grimsby, Ont., Gabriel Gingras of Chelsea, Que., Andrew Harrison of Camrose, Alta., and Brett Pasula of Red Deer, Alta.
Team Canada’s Development Squad was led by Étienne Papineau with a score of 2-over 74. The St-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Que., native is tied for twelfth place and sits three strokes shy of the lead. Squad members Trevor Ranton of Waterloo, Ont., and Tony Gil of Vaughan, Ont., both signed for rounds of 4-over 76.
An inter-provincial team championship is conducted in conjuction with the first 36 holes of play. Team Quebec leads by one stroke over defending champions Team Alberta. The Quebec contingent is comprised of St-Jean-Sur-Richelieu, Que., natives Étienne Papineau and Raphaël Lapierre-Messier, as well as, Félix Normand of Beloeil, Que.
The winner of the 2015 Canadian Junior Boys Championship will earn an exemption into the 2015 Canadian Men’s Amateur Championship from August 8 – 13, co-hosted by Weston Golf & Country Club and The Lambton Golf & Country Club.
The second-round of the 2015 Canadian Junior Boys Championship will continue tomorrow morning with a split tee start on holes 1 and 10 at 7:30 a.m. EST. Following the second-round, the field will be cut to the low 70 players and ties.
Full results from the 2015 Canadian Junior Boys Championship, are available here.