Brody Anjo of Kelowna played the round of his life on Saturday and then survived a shaky Sunday to win the Zone 2 (Thompson-Okanagan) Junior Tour golf championship.
Carding his first-ever sub-par round (71) on opening day of the 36-hole tournament at Gallagher’s Canyon Golf Club, Anjo overcame three tough holes on Sunday to shoot an 78 and edge the junior season’s order of merit champion, Matthew Kreutz (74-77) of Vernon, by two strokes.
Anjo, in only his third season of competitive golf, surprised even himself on Day 1 when he walked off the 18th green and found out he had a three-stroke lead over Kreutz, a five-time winner on the Zone 2 Tour this season.His initial victory on the Junior Tour also earned the 17-year-old a berth on the four-man team representing Zone 2 at the B.C. junior men’s golf championship tournament in Osoyoos July 7-10. Other members of the team will be Kreutz, Austin Bosquet of Vernon and Brandon Whistle of West Kelowna.
“I just figured if I could shoot 71, there must have been others — especially Matthew — who could do the same or better,” admitted Anjo, a Grade 12 Kelowna Secondary School student.
Even par after nine holes in the opening round, Anjo got off to a rocky start on the back by taking a double bogey on No. 11, but back-to-back birdies on holes 12 and 13 put him back into his unfamiliar groove. A 20-foot “bomb” for bird on the 16th green put him one-under for the day.
“It was a great round for me. I was hitting the ball really well all day, and I just got more relaxed and more confident as the round went on,” recalled Anjo, whose previous best round on the tour was a 77 on the Bear course at the Okanagan Golf Club earlier this season.
Anjo said he continued to hit the ball well on Sunday but with not quite the same results.
“On the second round it basically came down to me having three bad holes, otherwise I played okay.”
Touring the 6,434-yard layout in final foursome with Kreutz, Anjo lost the three strokes he had on the Vernon Golf and Country Club member after nine holes. The two were dead even going into the back nine at the GCGG.
But a quadruple bogey by Kreutz on the 10th hole proved his downfall and buoyed Anjo’s outlook.
Kreutz got back to within three strokes on the 12th, but a double bogey by Kreutz on the 14th gave Anjo what he was confident would to be an insurmountable lead.
“At that point I figured he (Kreutz) would have to play catch-up, while I could just play it safe and go for the pars,” said Anjo, who did give back three strokes to Kreutz on the final four holes, but was able to withstand the charge.
Encouraged by his round on Saturday, Anjo said he’ll definitely be back to play on the Zone 2 tour next year.
“I’m going to stick around Kelowna, work this year, and hopefully improve my game so I can shoot the kind of round I had on Saturday more consistently. I’d like to see how far I can take this game.”
Meanwhile Whistle, returning from the Bonnyville Pontiacs’ camp in Edmonton recently (he’ll play for the Alberta Junior Hockey League team next season), finished third in the two-day Zone 2 championship. He shot a pair of 77s to finish five strokes back of Anjo and third overall in the 2015 order of merit with 213.75 points. Kreutz finished with 407.50 and Bosquet, who placed fourth among the 56 golfers on the weekend with rounds of 79 and 76, was second overall for the season with 254 points.
A newcomer to the Okanagan from New Zealand, Wilkins will lead the Zone 2 juvenile team that will also include Cameron Welchof Kelowna, Wyatt Brook of Kamloops and Braeden Cooperof Vernon. That provincial tournament will be played at the Spallumcheen Golf and Country Club in Vernon Aug. 18-20.George Wilkins of Lake Country carded a 76 on Saturday and came in with an 82 on Sunday to finish in fifth place overall and first among the juvenile aged (15-16) golfers.
In the Zone 2 girls’ tournament, also played at Gallagher’s, Emma Sabbaghof Kelowna shot rounds of 82 and 76 to finish sixth overall on the co-ed leaderboard and edged out Kelowna’s Mckenna Lesiuk (77-82) for top spot. Lauren Rutherglen (80-81) of Kelowna and Adams State University, along with Haley Hewer of Penticton (82-79) were another two strokes back at 161.
Sabbagh and Lesiuk will represent zone at the B.C. junior girls championship tournament being played at Cordova Bay Golf Course in Victoria July 7-10.