November 9-10, 2013
Kissimmee, Florida, USA – (November 12, 2013) – The Maple Leaf Junior Golf Tour’s MJT Boston Pizza National Championship at Reunion Resort in Kissimmee, Florida, which ran November 8th to 10th , marked a successful finish to the best season ever on Canada’s most-played junior golf tour. Four divisional National Champions were crowned out of 72 golfers who qualified to attend from across the country – literally from Vancouver Island, British Columbia, all the way to Bathurst, New Brunswick - and all the players were treated to the privilege of a private 90 minute clinic put on by LPGA Hall of Famer Annika Sorenstam. The Reunion Resort happens to be the home of the Annika Academy and her Elite Training Program, which is specifically designed to help aspiring golfers achieve their goals both on the course and in life.
Andrew Cox, 17, of Kitchener, ON, claimed the Overall Low, MJT Junior Boys 17-19 National Champion’s title and an American Junior Golf Association Performance Star after commandingly managing his way around the Palmer course with scores of 68-72 (140). He cited staying focused and making a lot of clutch putts as his key to victory. “I was pretty sure I was leading coming down the stretch, so just tried to make pars and play it safe,” said Cox. “My goal is hopefully to talk to schools and have a college golf career; it feels awesome (to win), it has not sunk in yet.” Runner-up was two-time past champion Keaton Jones, 18, of Kitchener, ON, (74-67=141) whose fine second round score put some pressure on best friend Andrew Cox. Zach Sackett, 17, of Winnipeg, MB, also carded a great final round to place third in the division (76-68=144).
Danek Hadley, 16, of Bathurst, NB, played solid golf, firing 73-72 (145) to win the MJT Boston Pizza National Championship for the Juvenile Division. “It feels really good to win, coming all the way from New Brunswick and being the first player to win from the Atlantic!” said Hadley. “I think I kept my focus for the two rounds and I stayed patient; it was hard not to think of victory but I still knew that anything could happen and that I had to stay focused. I want to get my game to the next level and be more consistent.”
Finishing three shots back in the division was Josh Montgomery, 16, of Ancaster, ON, who shot solid rounds of 77-71 (148) to claim silver, while Nick Hofland, 15, of Ancaster, ON, blitzed the Palmer course on day two with the low round in the tournament to improve 20 shots and vault into third place (85-65=150).
Long-time MJT member Madison Easterbrook, 17, of Burlington, ON, shot 70-76 (146) to win the MJT Boston Pizza National Championship for the Girls Division and an American Junior Golf Association Performance Star. Easterbrook’s key to victory was her iron play. “My approach shots were consistently close to the hole and my drives were in the fairway,” Easterbrook stated. “I have been looking forward to this event all year long. It is my last year to play in it, so this win feels great.” Second place went to Annika Elite athlete Veronica Vetesnik, 16, of Winnipeg, MB, who shot 82-75 (157), and third place to 14-year old Alisha Lau of Richmond, BC, who shot consistent rounds of 79-79 (158).
13-year old Ryan McMillan of Winnipeg, MB, finished his tournament in style by making a hole-in-one on the 14th hole, followed by two consecutive birdies to keep his round rolling, deservedly winning the MJT Bantam Boys 14 and under National Champion’s title with incredible rounds of 72-69 (141). McMillan said his highlight was “obviously my hole-in-one on number 14 on day two and eagle on number 15 on the first day.” He was also quoted as saying that “this feels amazing to win, considering it was my first appearance!” Second place finisher in the division was Andy Kim, 13, of Langley, BC, who carded solid rounds of 74-76 (150) while Mitchell Thiessen, 14, of Chilliwack, BC, rounded out the podium with rounds of 79-75 (154).
Divisional winners of the Mr. Lube Long Drive Competition, which ran both days, were Madison Easterbrook, Michelle Ruiz of Mississauga, ON, Jordy Denomme of Waterloo, ON, Andy Kim, Brandon McManus of Surrey, BC, Josh Montgomery, Joel Albany of Georgetown, ON, and Joel Douglas of High River, AB. Sundog Eyewear Closest-to-the-Pin Competition winners were Michelle Ruiz, ON, Madison Easterbrook, Andy Kim, Mitchell Thiessen, Taylor Patrick of Surrey, BC, Gray Potter of Glen Williams, ON, Alex McKay of Kitchener, ON and Keaton Jones. Golf Town Comeback Awards for best second day improvement went to Rayna Oosterhuis of Edmonton, AB, Michael Valk of Medicine Hat, AB, Dennis Weber of Ancaster, ON, and Jacob Vanderpas of Vancouver, BC.
In addition to the first-class clinic by Annika Sorenstam, the juniors were treated to talks from Division 1 college coaches and the renowned Sports Psychologist Dr. Bob Winters, and received great tee gifts from Srixon and Foursum Golf, making a fitting ending to the most successful season the number-one played junior golf tour in Canada has had to date. A schedule of events for 2014 will be available in early January; for more information please visit www.maplejt.com or call 1-877-859-4653.
About the MJT: The non-profit Maple Leaf Junior Golf Tour presented by Boston Pizza is Canada’s number-one played Junior Golf Tour as well as the only national junior tour run exclusively by PGA of Canada Professionals and the ‘Road to College Golf’ in Canada. The organization is generously supported by Boston Pizza and Premier Partners Cleveland Golf, Srixon, Ford, Mr. Lube, Golf Town and Travel Underwriters, in addition to valued Tournament and Product Partners. The MJT hosts more than 60 events across Canada, including free Ford Go Golf Junior Clinics, the MJT Mini Tour for 7-12 year olds, and multi-day events for competitive players which also qualify juniors for international competitions. The program offers annual awards, scholarships, and frequent player incentives to help reward player's performance and participation throughout each season. MJT alumni include many Professional Tour players and Canadian PGA Professionals, as well as Canadian Amateur, National and Provincial Junior Champions. The MJT aims to develop champions, in golf and in life, promoting the game from grassroots through to provincial, national, university and professional level.