Skip to content
Join our Newsletter
Join our Newsletter

Whistler golfer repeats as MJT champion

Nicklaus North golfer pulls off comeback win for second consecutive year
WALK THE WALK Stewart Walker shows off his winnings after capturing the Maple Leaf Junior Tour's Big Max Series event stop in Whistler on Aug. 27. Photo by Dan Falloon

Whistler junior golfer Stewart Walker is the Maple Leaf Junior Tour's (MJT) comeback kid.

For the second consecutive year, Walker overcame a deficit after Round 1 to pick up the victory in the bantam boys' division during the Big Max Series event at Whistler Golf Club on Aug. 27.

This time around, it wasn't quite as dramatic. Walker trailed by only three strokes instead of eight, and it didn't take a playoff hole this year as he ran away with the win by seven strokes over Vancouver's Nathan Szpakowicz and Langley's Caleb Davies.

Still, it doesn't make the victory any less memorable for the 14-year-old Nicklaus North Golf Course member.

"It feels so good," Walker said emphatically shortly after receiving his award.

In the second round, Walker posted a four-under-par 68 to equal the best round he'd ever put up in tournament play, and cancelling out the four-over 76 he shot the day prior to finish the event at even par. After a so-so start through five holes, Walker birdied three of the next four holes to pick up some steam. He birdied six holes in all in Round 2.

"I didn't get off to a good start. I was three-over [for the tournament] through five [holes]," he said. "When I wasn't playing well, I just forgot about it and changed my game a little."

Heading into Round 2, Walker trailed two golfers, including leader Tristan Jackman of Surrey by three stokes and British golfer Luke Metcalf by one. Both struggled in the second round as Walker surged.

The local felt fine playing from behind.

"I didn't really mind being a couple back. I just played a lot better knowing that I had to gain some strokes on them," he said. "It helped me play a little better, I think."

Walker will head down to Washington state for the Drive, Chip & Putt regional final on Sept. 8.

Also at the tournament, Vancouver's Danny Im topped the juvenile boys' division on the strength of a six-under 66 in Round 1 followed by an even-par 72 to wrap up. Im finished four strokes ahead of Burly Hildreth of Orcas Island, Wash.

"I was hitting my irons pretty tight, making some putts," the 15-year-old said of his first-round success. "I only had one bogey and seven birdies, so that's a really good scorecard.

"I was pretty happy with the first day but pretty disappointed with the second day. I wasn't making a lot of putts."

Im enjoyed playing at Whistler Golf Club, saying it was challenging in parts.

"The course is in really good shape. I couldn't have wished for a better course than this," he said. "Some holes were very challenging, but some holes were just, rip a driver, hit a wedge in, if you stick it, make birdie or just come off as a par."

Other winners included: Connor Riley of Oakville, Ont. (collegiate boys); Mackenzie Bickell of Richmond (junior boys); Erin Lee of Langley (15-to-18 girls); Andy Liu of Surrey (peewee boys); and Anna Huang of Vancouver (U15 girls).