Trio of Whistler victors on Maple Leaf Junior Tour 

Walker, Hill, Miller all take victories

click to enlarge PHOTO BY DAN FALLOON - Walk-off win Whistler's Stewart Walker (right) reacts after edging West Vancouver's Tony Bin on a playoff hole at the Whistler Junior Championship at Whistler Golf Club.
  • Photo by Dan Falloon
  • Walk-off win Whistler's Stewart Walker (right) reacts after edging West Vancouver's Tony Bin on a playoff hole at the Whistler Junior Championship at Whistler Golf Club.

Though he's just 13, Stewart Walker is making the case to never count him out.

Competing in the Maple Leaf Junior Tour's Whistler Junior Championship, the Nicklaus North Golf Course member overcame an eight-stroke deficit after Round 1 to emerge as the winner in the bantam boys division.

In the second and final day of competition on Tuesday, Aug. 14, Walker shot a blistering one-under 70 to tie for the tournament's best single-round score. He also had the division's best improvement from Round 1 to Round 2, cutting 13 strokes.

His two-day total of 153 tied him with West Vancouver's Tony Bin after 36 holes, and Walker proceeded to edge Bin in a one-hole playoff.

"I was a bit nervous but it was fun," he said. "I just wanted to play my best golf and get it done with."

Walker said the victory was one of the major moments of his young career thus far, and he was thrilled to complete the comeback with a win.

"I was so excited," he said, beaming.

Walker said the key to his strong Tuesday performance was his ability to shake off a couple of missed putts with better showings immediately afterward.

"I just played better on the next hole," he said. "I was happy all around. I made some good putts on a couple holes, chipped in on 16 for birdie and did a nice one on 17 and made the putt for birdie."

It was a resilience he took in a broader sense, too, as Walker shook off his uncharacteristic Monday round.

"I just tried to forget yesterday. I didn't play great, so I forgot about that," he said.

Walker has a couple more weeks left of golfing in Whistler before he heads to Vancouver Island to join the Shawnigan Lake School golf team.

In the girls' 15-to-18 division, Nicklaus North clubmate Kaitlyn Hill had a less dramatic win, turning a two-stroke lead after Round 1 into a five-stroke victory over Richmond's Sherri Yang when all was said and done.

"(The two-stroke lead) was not as much as I would have liked, but I'm definitely a lot more confident," said Hill, who shot a 77 on Monday before trimming her score to 75 on Tuesday. "Shooting less than I shot yesterday was the icing on top of the cake."

One of Hill's best signs things were going well was that she birdied No. 10 both days, as players need to hit a solid tee shot before feeling out the rest of the approach with a fine touch.

"It was definitely not my nemesis hole," the 16-year-old said.

Hill entered the tournament on a high, having just won the Nicklaus North ladies club championship on the weekend.

"I was in competition mode," she said. "I just had a lesson with my coach so I was feeling good and comfortable about my swing. It was all about hitting the greens and being able to putt from there."

Lastly, Fairmont Chateau Whistler Golf Club's Geordie Miller ran away with the collegiate men's event, beating Surrey's Ryan Austin by 20 strokes.

Other event winners were: Kelowna's Justin Towill (junior boys); Vancouver's Cole Bowering (juvenile boys); Burnaby's Jay Xu (peewee boys); and Langley's Erin Lee (U15 girls).

Nick North winners crowned

In addition to Hill winning the ladies' low gross event at Nicklaus North's Club Championship on Aug. 11 and 12, Verna MacDonald won the ladies' low net event.

On the men's side, Lance Lundy captured the men's low gross while Steve Shuster won the men's low net, and Steve Macinnes won the senior low net event.

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