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This article was published 18/7/2017 (1434 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Before Ryan McMillan and Spencer Norrie take on the best young golfers in the country at the Canada Summer Games next month, they must finish competing against some of the best golfers in their own province.
They 17-year-old juniors are playing in this week’s provincial men’s amateur championship.
After the first two rounds at Selkirk, the young duo is showing they can play with the older competition as both golfers made the cut.
McMillan is tied for sixth with a 1-over-par score of 143 after rounds of 73 and 70, while Norrie is at plus-8 and in a tie for 25th after rounds of 76 and 74. The event shifts to Elmhurst today and concludes Thursday.
McMillan and Norrie say playing with the best golfers the province has to offer at the Manitoba amateur will help them get ready for the Canada Games golf tournament, which starts Aug. 8 at Southwood.
"It’s definitely good preparation. Next week, I have the Canadian junior, which is even a little bigger than this. It’s a couple big weeks coming up and if I play well, I’ll have some confidence going into the Games," said McMillan, who won last week’s Manitoba junior title at Rossmere.
Joining McMillan at the Canadian juniors July 31 to Aug. 3 in Kingston, Ont., are Selkirk Wesley Hoydalo and Anthony Leicht.
McMillan, who often plays two rounds of golf per day, said it’s important for the young golfers to not tire themselves out before the Canada Games.
He says he’s familiar with some of the players that are travelling to Winnipeg for the event and that he and his teammates will have more pressure on them than anyone else competing.
"You’re going to know everyone there and everyone is going to be following you and see how you’re doing. There’s definitely going to be a lot more eyes on us," said McMillan, who is going into Grade 12 at Miles Macdonnell Collegiate.
McMillan, Norrie and their Team Manitoba teammate Zach Wytinck, who also plays hockey for the Brandon Wheat Kings of the Western Hockey League and is not playing the Manitoba amateur, will be able to practise at Southwood before the Games.
However, McMillan and Norrie say that won’t be much of an advantage.
"Southwood is a course that even if it’s your home course, you have no idea what it’s going to play like. There’s no trees or no protection or anything. The winds are always huge and it depends on which way its blowing. It will be tough," said Norrie, who is joining the University of Manitoba Bisons’ golf team this fall.
Golf has only been an event at the Canada Games since 2009. Manitoba hasn’t fared well since the sport made its debut, as the boys team finished fifth in 2009 and sixth in 2013.
The girls team finished in seventh at both Games.
Norrie says this year’s team has the potential to do better.
"As a team, I think we can finish top five for sure. We know some provinces have some super-strong teams, but we know we can compete if we play at our best," Norrie said.
Heading into Day 3 of the four-day amateur event, there is a three-way tie for first. Devon Schade, Travis Fredborg and Josh Neufeld are all at 3-under-par with scores of 139 after 36 holes in Selkirk.
The top five is rounded out with Leicht in fourth place at 1-under and Mike Tibbs in fifth at even par.
Fredborg was the leader after the first round, while Schade is the event’s two-time defending champion.
Eighteen years old and still in high school, Taylor got his start with the Free Press on June 1, 2011. Well, sort of.