Junior Skills Challenge National Event crowns eight champions at Ottawa Hunt and Golf Club

OTTAWA, ONTARIO - AUGUST 21: Junior Skills Challenge at the Ottawa Hunt and Golf Club on August 21, 2022 in Montreal, Canada. (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)

The 13th edition of the Junior Skills Challenge National Event wrapped up today in Ottawa after 30 of the top Canadian junior golfers showcased their skills in one of Golf Canada’s signature junior events.

The event took place at Ottawa Hunt and Golf Club which will also play host to the CP Women’s Open from August 22-28th. The National Event culminates a year-long process, which consisted of over 80 qualifying events across Canada and 1,500 junior golfers. 

In partnership with the PGA of Canada and Cobra-Puma Golf, participants went head-to-head in putting, chipping, and driving competitions:

Putting: each competitor received one putt from each distance of 5, 10, and 20 feet with points awarded for holing the putt and proximity to the hole.

Chipping: each competitor received three shots for chipping with points awarded on distance of the chip from the target.

Driving: each competitor received three drives with points awarded for distance and aim of the drive.  

The winners for each division of the Junior Skills Challenge National Event will receive prizing courtesy of Cobra-Puma Golf, with the winners of the 15 to 18 age groups receiving exemptions into their local NextGen Championship in 2023.

Below are the winners in each of the age groups: 

Boys 8 and under:  

Bosco Yang (Angus Glen Golf Club) captured the Boys 8 and under title honours following a climactic three-player tiebreaker. The Aurora, Ont., native recorded a score of 155 in the main competition and earned a score of 80 after going wire to wire in a very close three-way playoff competition. The winner was determined by a repeat of the putting skill challenge.

Bennett Thibideau of Cole Harbour, N.S. and Albert Cui (Angus Glen Golf Club) of Aurora, Ont. also recorded a score of 155 in the competition. After the tiebreaker, Thibideau clinched the runner-up spot with a score of 70, with Cui finishing the day at 60. Coompetition in this division was extremely tight with Newmarket, Ont. native Gianni D’Ambrosio coming in at only 5 points shy off the pace with a score of 150.

Girls 8 and under: 

Four participants competed in the Girls 8 and under division including Amelia Huang (Angus Glen Golf Club) and Angela Qi (Angus Glen Golf Club) of Markham, Ont., Emily Joy (The Glencoe Golf & Country Club) of Calgary, Alb., and Sophia Noh (Summit Golf Club of Richmond Hill, Ont.

Successfully defending her division title earned in 2021, Joy finished in first place with a score of 185. The Calgary native posted impressive scores in both the chipping challenge (multiple 30 scores), and driving challenge (20 points on all three shots), which greatly contributed to her victory.

Noh placed second, with a total score of 160. Noh, like Joy, had a strong driving performance, posting 20 points on each shot.

Boys 9 to 11: 

Competing in the Boys 9 to 11 division included Hunter Burke (Belvedere Golf Club) of Charlottetown, P.E.I., Grady Gouett (Georgian Bay Club) of Meaford, Ont., Pierce Mackenzie (Antigonish Golf Club) of Antigonish, N.S. and Luke Nickerson (KenWo Golf Club) of Kentville, N.S. with the latter taking the division title.

The Boys 9-11 division came down to the wire, with all four golfers separated by 25 points leading into the final skill, putting.  Nickerson dominated on the putting green sinking both the 5-feet and 10-feet putts and coming within inches on the 20-feet for a total score of 220 to earn the title for this division.

Girls 9 to 11: 

Four participants competed in the Girls 9-11 division including Kaeleigh Chung (Meadowbrook Golf Club), Andrea Lai (St. Thomas Golf & Country Club) of St. Thomas, Ont. and Phoebe Lin (DiamondBack Golf Club) and Oceana Sun (Angus Glen Golf Club) of Toronto, Ont..

At just 10 years of age, Chung posted the second-highest score of the day at 265, earning herself the Girls 9 to 11 division title. The Richmond Hill, Ont. native shined throughout the competition posting consistent scores across all skills and holing two of her three putts.

Andrea Lai (St. Thomas Golf & Country Club) of also shined throughout the competition earning 25 points on all her driving shots, finishing in second place (235).

Boys 12-14: 

In the Boys 12-14 division, Justin Chu (Beacon Hall Golf Club) of North York, Ont., Sam Dixon (River Hills Golf & Country Club) of Barrington, N.S., Jordan Hodgins (Rideau View Golf Club) of Ottawa, ON and Spencer Shropshire (Orr Lake Golf Club) of Orillia, ON competed against one another.

Chu started the competition strong with two drives earning 40 points each, and kept one step ahead of the other competitors through chipping and putting for a final score of 255 to earn the division title.

Girls 12-14: 

Rosie Allen (Blomidon Golf Club) of Corner Brook, NFLD., Olivia Johnson (Silver Springs Golf & Country Club) of Calgary, Alb., Tatum Lohnes (Osprey Ridge Golf Club) of Bridgewater, N.S. and Sierra Kowalyshyn (Sawmill Golf Course) of Stoney Creek, Ont., competed for the Girls 12-14 division title.

Olivia Johnson (Silver Spring Golf & Country Club) of Calgary, Alb. came out on top with a standout performance and score of 245, which included earning 40 points on both the 5-feet and 20-feet putting shots.

Boys 15-18: 

Matthew Brooks (Oakfield Golf & Country Club) had multiple 40 scores en route to winning the Boys 15-18 competition. The Halifax, N.S. native recorded scores of 40 in two of the driving events and 10-feet putting competition for a total competition score of 235.

Finishing second in the division was Ryan Cornacchia (Beacon Hall Golf Club) of Aurora, Ont., and placing third, Félix Fontaine (Club Sports Belvédère) from Val d’Or, QC.

Girls 15-18: 

Olivia Seaman (KenWo Golf Club) captured top honours in the Girls 15-18 event at the Junior Skills Challenge National Event. The Kentville, N.S. native recorded the best score out of any golfer at the Junior Skills Challenge on Sunday, posting a score of 270. Seaman delivered impressive scores in all three skills, recording 30 and above in driving and chipping, and holing out from 10-feet during the putting competition.

Edie Nicholson (Willow Park Golf & Country Club) and Payton Sheehan (Willow Park Golf & Country Club) finished second and third respectively in the competition.

For more information on the Junior Skills Challenge National Event, click here.