THursday's round was the most nerve-racking one Travis Fredborg ever had, because for the first time in his young career he was heading into the final day of a major golf tournament in the lead.
Sure, he came from one stroke back to win the Manitoba Junior Championship in the final round last year and sure, he was the lowest-scoring amateur in the PGA Tour Canada's Player's Cup just last week, but he admits it wasn't that easy to win again.
"I was really nervous because the lead was so big this time around, and I was in front, I wasn't chasing anybody," Fredborg said after capturing his second provincial junior title, at Rossmere Country Club. "I've never really been in this kind of predicament before, I didn't really know how to take it."
The 18-year-old from Selkirk came into the final round with an eight-stroke lead and shot a 6-over 76 -- his highest score of the tournament -- but it was enough to outpace the competition by an eight-stroke margin. Through his first three rounds, however, Fredborg's game was outstanding, shooting an even-par 70 in Round 3 and going only three-over the first two rounds.
That's something he credits to his experience during last week's Player's Cup at Pine Ridge Golf Club.
"In the first three rounds my confidence was through the roof, I felt untouchable out there," he said.
Fredborg battled his emotions early in the back nine, picking up a double bogey on the par-4 10th hole and then followed with three more bogeys in the next four holes. During a nearly 20-minute wait on the 14th hole, the crowd saw Fredborg lay back on the grass in the tee box to gather himself.
"It just completely calmed me down, I played well from there on in," Fredborg said. "I just thought, and got everything back together."
The delay appeared to help Fredborg, because after two consecutive pars he chipped in for birdie on the par-3 17th. He bogeyed the 18th, but it didn't matter.
"It's unreal, I don't even know what to say, it's just such a great feeling to be able to win," he said. "To be able to do it twice is just unbelievable. I'm at a loss for words right now."
Up next for Fredborg is the junior nationals in Niagara Falls, Ont., and then a little later he will be attending the University of the Pacific in California, where he received a scholarship to play NCCA Division 1 golf.
"This will be my third time going now. I missed the cut first time around and I came top 30 last year," Fredborg said. "I think this time around I have a legitimate chance of winning. I feel like, not being cocky or anything, I feel like I'm one of the top players in Canada now, and I feel like I can play with anybody."
On the women's side of the tournament, Veronica Vetesnik captured her first Manitoba Junior Championship after finishing second last year. The 17-year-old was tied for second place after Round 1, but fired a tournament best three-over 76 in Round 2.
Vetesnik came into third and final round with an eight-stroke lead that nearly disappeared after a 13-over 86. But she managed to hold off the pack by five strokes.
"It feels great," said Vetesnik, who attends Annika Academy in Reunion, Fla. "Had little struggles but just kept going, didn't do my best today but obviously it was good enough."
Vetesnik wasn't at her best, but the other top contenders also struggled over the final holes.
"Probably got nervous a bit, but just one of the days I struggled," said Vetesnik.