Eighty of the best youth golfers in Manitoba teed off today in the 2012 Golf Manitoba Men’s Junior Championship at John Blumberg Golf Course.
A round of four-under 68 from Bel Acres' Ryan Sholdice stood atop the leaderboard for most of the day until a surprising round of 67 late in the day proved to be the opening round’s best.
Zach Sackett, out of Elmhurst G & CC, squeaked in to top spot, making seven birdies and finishing the round with a five-under 67.
"My putting was just on fire today," said Sackett. "I’ve probably never made that many 15 to 20 foot puts in my life."
The 16-year-old said the turning point for him began on the sixth hole. After parring the first five holes, Sackett said his tee-shot on the sixth was hit well shy of the fairway. After using his six-iron to hit a decent recovery shot, Sackett drained a 15-foot put to record his first birdie of the day.
"That’s when I realized today might actually be a good day for me," he said.
Having participated in this tournament twice before, Sackett knew to keep his game plan simple.
"I was just thinking to play my game. Don’t think to do too much cause when you try to do too much you always tend to play bad," he said. "I was shooting for around even par and it just worked out well today."
But going into round two with the lead isn’t exactly the position Sackett prefers.
"I don’t really like being in the lead cause it’s a lot of pressure," said Sackett. "But a good start is always good because you have a few strokes on some of the better guys.
"I’m hoping that I can play another good round and stay in the lead and hopefully be a couple strokes up on the second-place guy. I can’t say I’m going to shoot five-under again because today I shot really well. It would be special to finish in the top 10 and that’s what I’m aiming for."
Round two goes Wednesday at John Blumberg, with the final two rounds being played at St. Charles Country Club. The first tee time is at 8 a.m. The first round of the women’s three-round championship will also kick off tomorrow, scheduled to begin immediately after the last men’s group.