(Originally published in the Kindersley Clarion, July 30, 2014)
After finishing the 14th hole of his practice round at Golf Canada’s Canadian Junior Boys Championship, Kyle Wiebe figured he would be in for a challenge.
Wiebe qualified for the national championship in his final year of junior eligibility. The 18-year-old is grateful to represent his province as it’s something he wasn’t sure he would accomplish – even after this year’s provincial championship.
Wiebe shot 13-over at the provincial championship with rounds of 77, 77, and 75. The Maidstone, Sask. resident’s score was good enough to tie for sixth overall, and force a playoff for the alternate spot on the provincial team. Wiebe won the playoff hole, and as luck would have it, one member of Saskatchewan’s team could not make the national championship, paving way for Wiebe.
“I didn’t play that great…by my standards. But it was enough,” he said.
The Canadian championship is taking place at Legends on the Niagara – Battlefield, in Niagara Falls, Ont. from July 29-Aug. 1. Wiebe was out on the course for the first time as he spoke to The Clarion.
“It’s very nice. It’s links style mixed with some standard tree line courses. Lots of sand. I’d compare it to the Warman course – The Legends,” Wiebe said as he put the phone down to hit an approach shot.
“Within 10 feet,” he reported back.
Wiebe’s goal is to make the cut in the four day tournament. He’d like to place as high as possible not only for himself, but for his province. The higher Saskatchewan’s golfers stand in the rankings, the more likely Saskatchewan Golf will get to send more representation next year.
Despite some motion sickness on the way to Niagara Falls, Wiebe’s trip to the national championship has been exceptional. Wiebe is only a few days into his trip and he’s been thrilled with the location of the event, and the course conditions.
“It’s been a pretty unreal place to stay. It’s expensive and I wouldn’t recommend living in Ontario. But this course is in great condition,” he said. “It’s a quiet place in Ontario, we’re not in the GTA (Greater Toronto Area). There’s a lot of restaurants to go to, our hotel is right on the Falls.”
The biggest challenge of the week will be getting a good read on the speedy greens. If Wiebe can figure out his short game, he figures he’ll have a shot at making the cut.
“This is a pretty demanding course around the green. If you can get it in play off the tee, which I’ve been doing, and hit some good iron shots and avoid this thick rough – which I’m currently walking by – you’ll be in good position,” Wiebe said as he made his way to the 14th green.
Wiebe also notes he’ll need to play consistently over the week. He’s made minor changes to his swing this year which might have some effect on his scores, but for the most part it’s his mental game that has caused inconsistency this season.
“Some days it feels good, but then you come out the next day and it’s just gone. I don’t know why,” he pondered as he put his phone down to read the line on his putt.
“Lipped it,” Wiebe reported back. “I’ll get a lot of that this week, probably. They [the greens] are pretty fast.”
After the Canadian Junior Boys Championship, Wiebe will play in the Lobstick Tournament in Waskesiu, Sask. on Aug. 11-15. He’ll close out the summer months with one more Maple Leaf Junior Golf Tour event and start a new adventure at North Dakota’s Valley City State University where he will play golf on a scholarship.