Yorkton’s Kade Johnson recently returned to the city after traveling to Niagara Falls, Ontario, for the 2014 Canadian Junior Boys Golf Championship, which was held from July 29 to August 1 at the Legends on the Niagara – Battlefield golf course.
While at the Junior Nationals, Johnson, a student at Sacred Heart, shot rounds of 80 (+8) and 77 (+5) for a total of 157 (+13), missing the cut by four strokes and eliminating him from tournament competition.
However Johnson felt that, while making the cut and finishing the entire four rounds would have been nice, the main goal was to experience the Junior Nationals first hand so that he knows what to expect in the future. “I know what to expect now going there (Junior Nationals) next time,” suggested Johnson, who, at 15-years-old was one of the youngest golfers in the tournament and who still has three more years of Junior National eligibility. “I know what it takes to score low and what kind of shots I’ll need to hit. I definitely know what to do if I can make it there next year.”
And while Johnson knows what to do next year, he proved that he also knew how to adapt mid-tournament this year as he knocked three strokes off of his first round score thanks, in large part, to a pair of birdies on the longer par five holes; holes that he believes played to his strengths. “On the par five holes I went bogey free,” offered the soon-to-be grade 11 student, continuing, “I played them three-under so that was great. On my third shot there, when I had a wedge in my hand, it’s where I play well. Put it close to the hole and make the birdie putt, those are my strengths.
“I really took advantage of the par fives that’s for sure.”
In total Johnson picked up four birdies over two rounds of golf, three of which were on the long par five holes. However he does acknowledge that one area he needs to work on for next year’s Junior Nationals is increasing his distance off the tee, which he estimated at averaging 260 yards. “Distance wise I felt like I was lacking,” said Johnson while acknowledging that with age comes strength. “I felt like I was able to chip and putt just as well as them but I just lacked a little bit of distance.
“So now I’ve got to work hard on getting a little bit more distance coming out into next year and if I can then I feel like I’ll be right with them and have a chance to compete.”
Next year’s competition, which Johnson hopes to qualify for, will be played at the Summerlea Golf & Country Club in Vaudreuil-Dorion, Québec, a suburb of Montreal, and is just one more chance in Johnson’s eyes to “play with the best golfers in the country”.
A group that he is now a member of.