Relaxed and in control, Cole Wilson fired a second consecutive sub-par round to lead the Aberdeen Hall Gryphons to their first B.C. School Sports senior A golf championship on Tuesday.
The Grade 12 student’s two rounds of 2-under-par 70 earned him the individual provincial title, finishing six strokes ahead of teammate Brandon Chai, who put together rounds of 72 and 74 on the Osoyoos Golf Club course.
Aberdeen, also including Kristian Isa (76-79), Colton Piper (82-76) and Rebecca Reitsma (83-81) combined for at 36-hole total of 599, 36 strokes better than runner-up Osoyoos Secondary School and 97 strokes ahead of third-place Mount Elizabeth of Kitimat.
Holding a slim two-stroke lead over Chai (Grade 12) and Joel Veenstra of Bulkley Valley Christian going into Tuesday’s final round, Wilson said he didn’t feel any pressure about winning the individual championship.
“My only goal was to have fun during my last competitive round as a high school student and to help bring it home for the team,” said the Wilson, headed to Missouri University of Science and Technology (NCAA Div. II) this fall on a golf scholarship.
That he was two under par after three holes (birdies on hole 2 and 3) made it that much more enjoyable for the 17-year-old who added a birdie on the par-5, fifth hole while finishing the front nine at 1-under 35.
Despite his exemplary start, Wilson was still only two strokes ahead of Chai, who had matched his 35 at the turn. But after both golfers bogeyed the 10th hole (par 5) Wilson extended his lead to three strokes by driving pin high on the par-4 11th hole, hitting a full-swing flop shot over a tall oak tree to within three feet and then rolling it in for his fourth birdie on the day.
While Chai faltered with bogeys on the 13th and 16th, Wilson parred the next six holes and closed out his high school career in fitting fashion with a birdie three on the 18th hole and posting his first-ever back-to-back sub-par rounds in tournament play.
Coming off a win at the CN Future Links Pacific championship at Bear Mountain in Victoria last month, Wilson said his play on the green has been the strongest part of his game of late.
“Putting inside of 20 feet has been really solid and my mental control and course management has been good as well,” said the Spruce Grove native who moved to Kelowna two years ago and is now coached by Clay Stothers at the Okanagan Golf Club. “I know there’s always room for improvement and right now I’m working on shoring up my shot-shaping abilities and being able to work the ball how I want . . . on demand.”
Playing his first round of competitive golf in 2015, Wilson’s focus previously was on hockey. In his final competitive season on the ice, he was a goaltender at Yale Hockey Academy (Elite 15s) in the Canadian Sports School Hockey League.
Up next for Wilson (and Chai) is the 36-hole Zone 2 (Thompson-Okanagan) Junior Golf Tour championship tournament at Gallagher’s Canyon Golf and Country Club on Saturday and Sunday.
Later this summer he plans to play in the B.C. junior championship tournament, the B.C. Amateur, Canadian junior championship and Canadian Amateur.
One of the top-ranked juniors in Canada, he’s also hoping to qualify for the U.S. Junior Amateur and will be representing B.C. at the Eddie Hogan Cup in August in Oregon. It’s a 36-hole team match pitting the best junior golfers in Western United States and Canada.