Low scores and high temperatures highlight Round 1 of the NB Men’s Amateur Championships
The demanding Rees Jones design would prove to be the ultimate test of golf for some of New Brunswick’s most elite competitive players as 160 competitors took to the field and compete for the 2020 NB Junior Boys Championship Titles – Under-15, Under-17 & Under-19, the 2020 NB Men’s Amateur Championship, 2020 NB Men’s Mid-Amateur Championship, and the 2020 NB Men’s Mid-Master Championship.
Players were greeted to a hot and humid opening round at Royal Oaks Golf Club, the combination would prove to favor players in the opening half of the draw which saw low rounds of 6-Under Par 66, 5-Under Par 67, and multiple 3-Under Par 69’s. Leading the Amateur & Mid-Amateur after an impressive 6-Under Par 66 is Maplewood Golf & Country Club’s Troy Letourneau. The Moncton resident began to heat up just as the humidity increased, an effortless 2-Under 34 on the front paved the way for a firey back nine as Letourneau started with an eagle and birdie on 10 & 11. A 4-Under, 32 on the difficult yet rewarding back nine of Royal Oaks gives the Maplewood member a one-stroke lead heading into round 2 over The Riverside Country Club’s Alex Palmer. Palmer, the 2018 NB Men’s Amateur & Mid-Amateur Champion completed a 5-Under Par 67 first-round performance after recording 6 birdies and 1 eagle. Justin Richard and Remi Comeau of Fox Creek Golf Club both sit in a tie for third place after their 1st round scores of 3-Under Par 69.
Comeau who heads into Saturday’s round at T-3 in the NB Amateur & Mid-Amateur Divisions has another Championship Title to battle for. An opening round of 3-Under Par 69 is enough to move Comeau to the top of the NB Mid-Master Division, a two-stroke lead over Country Meadow’s Shawn Branch. Branch cruised to a smooth 1-Under Par 71 finish which sees him positioned 2 strokes ahead of the nearest competitor. Rounding out the top three of the Men’s Mid-Master Division are Jamie Thibault of the Moncton Golf & Country Club and Dave Bolster of Grand Falls who both fired a 1-Over Par 73 on the opening round of the 2020 Championship.
In the Junior Boys Under-19 Division, JH Sport’s Daniel Kirby leads the field after his first-round score of 2-Under Par 70. A difficult start with a pair of bogeys on the opening two holes was restored after Kirby lipped out for albatross on the Par-5 3rd, a tap in eagle would lead to a 1-Over Par 37 on the front nine paired with a 3-Under Par 33 on the back. Attempting to chase down Kirby in the race for the Under-19 Title is Patrick Cormier of Fox Creek who shot an even-par 72 during his opening round, a hot front nine of 3-Under Par 33 quickly cooled off as Cormier finished his round with a 3-Over Par back nine. Pierre Luc Arsenault of St. Ignace and Felix Boucher of Fox Creek both signed for a first-round score of 3-Over Par 75 which sees the 2019 Team NB Members tied for third.
Westfield’s Jack Bailey recorded a 4-Over Par 76 performance in the mid-day heat on Friday. Bailey currently leads the NB Junior Boys Under-17 Division after his matching front and back nine scores of 38. Julien Babineau of Fox Creek sits one stroke behind Bailey after a 5-Over Par 77 during round one of the NB Junior Championships. Morgan Costain joins clubmate Jack Bailey at the top of the Under-17 leaderboard as the young teenager carded an 8-Over Par 80 to move up to third place in the higher age bracket division. In his own division, Constain leads the Under-15 Championship as he holds a 4 stroke lead against Fox Creek’s Miguel Babineau who completed a 12-Over Par round of 84.
In addition to the NB Men’s Amateur Championship, the NB Junior Championships, and the NB Men’s Mid-Master Championships, this year’s event features a 21-player Senior Men’s Division. The majority of the field are taking advantage of additional playing opportunities ahead of the 2020 NB Senior Men’s Championship set to take place at the Miramichi Golf & Country Club from July 20th-22nd. Jean LeBlanc of Fox Creek Golf Club along with Royal Oaks’ Bernie Leger and Louis Boudreau of Pine Needles lead the Senior Field, after shooting 3-Over Par 75. Followed closely by Herrick Hansen of Aroostook Valley and Willie Belliveau of Pine Needles who both recorded a 5-Over Par 77.
An action-packed first round at Royal Oaks Golf Club has set the tone for the remaining 36-holes of the competition. Round #2 begins tomorrow morning, July 11th with the first group of Yannick Babineau of Fox Creek, Mark Kelly of Westfield, and Cameron Friars of The Riverside leading off at 6:30 AM.
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 6,800 members include 12 provincial events, rules of golf education, course rating and handicap services, junior golf development programs and member club marketing initiatives.