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Earle, Jones and Kirby hold 1st round leads at the 2017 Bouctouche East Coast Junior Championship

A beautiful day kicked off the 19th annual Bouctouche East Coast Junior Championship at Golf Bouctouche.  In total 63 Atlantic Canada’s best junior aged golfers, over four categories, would challenge the par 72 Graham Cooke design.

In the fifth leg, and penultimate event, of the race to earn the six available positions (three boys and three girls) on New Brunswick’s 2017 Canada Summer Games team the Westfield Golf & Country Club’s Stuart Earle has jumped out to an early three shot lead. After birdies on #2 and #5, to go along with bogeys on # 6 and #7, he finished the front nine at even par.  Earle would make his move on his inward nine, posting a clean nine with 7 pars and birdies on # 13 and # 15 to complete his round and post a two under par (-2), 70, for his opening round.

Stuart Earle of the Westfield Golf & Country Club shot a 2-under par, 70, on day 1 of the 2017 Bouctouche East Coast Junior Championship

“The golf course is in great shape and I putted well as the greens were running true.  I am heading over to the driving range to work on my driver but other than that, I am happy with how I am striking the ball.”  The always lurking Calvin Ross, of Kingswood, is just three shots back after carding a first round one over par (+1), 73.  Like Earle, the 2016 NB Junior Boys Champion, Ross had two birdies and two bogeys for an even par total on the front nine, but bogeys on #10 and #13 along with his lone birdie on #15 added up to a 1 over par 37 on the back for a total of 73.

In third position, five off the lead, is Luke Reeves-Rollins of the Belvedere Golf & Country Club.  The Charlottetown, PEI, native would post a birdie and two bogeys through nine holes to card a one over par (+1), 37, on the front nine before coming home with a two over par (+2), 38, for a first round three over par (+3), 75.

In a three way tie for fourth position in the Junior Boys division, six shots off the lead, are 2016 NB Junior Boys team member, Sam Reid of Royal Oaks, Harrison O’Pray of the Moncton Golf & Country Club and Stratford, PEI`s Kevin Chen of the Belvedere Golf & Country Club.  Reid would post a birdie, a bogey and two double bogeys on route to his four over par (+4), 76, while O’Pray would combine birdies on #4 and #8 with six bogeys to card his 76.  For his part, Chen would fire an even par 36, with two birdies and two bogeys, on his front nine, but bogeys on #10, #12, #15 and #17 would see him drop four shots on the back to fall back into his fourth place tie with Reid and O’Pray.

Laura Jones, of the Country Meadows Golf Club, posted an even par (E), 72, during round 1 of the 2017 Bouctouche East Coast Junior Championship

In the Junior Girls division it is Laura Jones of the Country Meadows Golf Club holding a four shot lead over Larua Wesselius of the Petitcodiac Valley Golf & Country Club.  Despite an early birdie on the par four 2nd hole, Jones would struggle on the front nine with a three over par (+3), 39, thanks to four consecutive bogeys from five through eight.  Another bogey at 10 would see her fall to four over par (+4) on the day, but she would get that shot back with a birder on the par five 11th before a run of three straight birdies on #13, #14 and #15 would get her back to even par on the day.

Jones would credit her mental toughness, and past success on the golf course, for turning her day around.  “The strongest club in my bag today was my brain”, said Jones.  “I had seven birdies in my practice round yesterday, so after I bogeyed four in a row on the front nine, I just told myself I could do better.  I just kept believing in myself and it eventually came around”

While she holds down second position, Wesselius would hold the nine hole lead after making the turn in one under par (-1), 35, but her four shot lead would quickly evaporate thanks to a triple bogey seven (7) on the par four 10th.  While she would quickly get back on track with five consecutive pars, bogeys at #16 and #17, combined with Jones’ lights out five hole stretch, would see her post a five over par (+5), 41, on the back nine and fall four shots off the lead.

In third position, eight shots off the lead, is Sarah Holt of the Gage Golf & Curling Club.  Holt would card a single birdie, 9 pars, 7 bogeys and one other on route to her eight over par (+8), 80.

In fourth position is Kingswood Golf’s Mackenzie Scott after a first round 86 and rounding out the top five is Julie Gauvin of the Fox Creek Golf Club after posting a first round 87.

Daniel Kirby of JH Sports at Kingswood holds a two shot lead in the Bantam Boys Division after round 1

In the Bantam Boys division it is JH Sport’s Daniel Kirby holding a two shot lead after a first round five over par (+5), 77.  Kirby would bogey the first and fourth holes before getting a shot back with a birdie on the 510 yard par five sixth to make the turn in a one over par (+1), 37.  With the front nine in his rear-view mirror, Kirby would post a four over par (+4), 40, on the back nine courtesy of a double bogey on the par five 12th and bogeys at #15 and #18.

Despite his struggles on the back side, Kirby’s first round 77 would see him two clear of Owen Mullen of Truro and Pierre Luc Arseneault of Le Club de Golf de St-Ignace.  Mullen, the 2016 Bouctouche East Coast Bantam Champion, posted an opening round seven over par (+7), 79.  After a birdie on the 352 yard par four first, Mullen would struggle with bogeys on #4, #5 and #9 to go with a triple bogey, seven (7), at the 7th to post a five over par (+5), 41, on his front nine.  After righting the ship with pars from #10 through #12, Mullen would get a shot back with a birdie on the par four 13th, drawing him to narrow Kirby’s lead, but back to back bogeys to close his round would see him post a two over par (+2), 36, on the back nine to fall two off the lead.

Arsenault would get himself into contention with an up and down seven over par (+7), 79, or his own.  The 14 year old from Saint-Louis, NB would birdie the back to back par fives, #5 and #6, on the front, but bogeys at #2 and #7 combined with a triple bogey seven (7) on the par four third hole would result in a front nine 39.  Five more bogeys on the back side including three straight from 10 through 12 would be offset by a birdie at the par three 14th would pull him even with Mullen and within striking distance of Kirby entering Wednesday’s final round.

In the Pee Wee Boys division, Golf Bouctouche’s own Olivier Dallaire fired a first round 86 to take the lead over Nicholas Colton of the Gowan Brare Golf & Country Club.  The pair would combine for 13 pars, 15 bogeys and 8 others on the day as Colton will look to make up ground on Dallaire during Wednesday’s second and final round.

The second and final round of the 2017 Bouctouche East Coast Junior Championship will get under way at 8:30am on Wednesday June 28th off of both the 1st and 10th tees.

For more information on the 2017 Bouctouche East Coast Junior Championship including results and tee times please CLICK HERE.

For more information on Golf Bouctouche please CLICK HERE.

Golf New Brunswick (Golf NB), a not for profit organization founded in 1934, is the official governing body for amateur golf in New Brunswick.  In January of 2006, the New Brunswick Golf Association (NBGA) officially merged with the New Brunswick Ladies Golf Association (NBLGA), resulting in one united governing body for amateur golf in the province.  Programs offered by Golf NB to its 10,000 members include: 12 provincial events, rules of golf education, course rating and handicap services, junior golf development programs and member club marketing initiatives.

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