Story by Pat Payton | St.Marys Independent Newspaper
A 13-year-old St. Marys golfer has qualified to compete in the Optimist International Junior golf championships next July at the Doral Resort and Spa in Miami, Florida.
Nathan Wolfkamp fired an 82 to finish first in the Male 12-13 division at the 45th annual Midwestern Ontario Optimist District Junior golf championships last Tuesday, Aug. 2 at St. Marys Golf and Country Club.
A total of 42 players (10 to 18 years of age) teed it up in the Midwestern event, which is held each summer at the St. Marys golf club. Players competed in five different age divisions: Male 10-11, Male 12-13, Male 14-15 and Male 16-18. There was also a Female division, with five girls taking part. In all, 15 players qualified to play in the 2023 International tournament in Florida.
Strong approach shots, putting
Wolfkamp had a 40 on the front nine, which included a birdie on No. 6, and a 42 on the back nine.
“I was pretty happy with my round after a tough start,” said Wolfkamp, who is playing in the London and area Tyson Tour this year. “My approach shots were good, and my putting was pretty decent, too.”
Wolfkamp was one of five golfers who qualified for Florida from the 12-13 division. Grayson Carter, of Newton, and Ryan Boone, of Kitchener, finished second and third, respectively, after shooting 84s. Zach Clark, of Port Stanley, and Sutton Meier, of Conestogo, tied for fourth with 85s and both also qualified. Clark qualified as an out-of-district golfer.
Two boys qualified from the 10-11 division. Ethen Fabiani, of London, shot a 91 and Braden Keating, of Stratford, posted a 95.
Three players qualified from the Male 14-15 division. Jameson Staab, of Kitchener, shot a 79, Gabriel Turno, of London, was second with an 82, and Jarrett Van Bakel, of Mitchell, was third with an 83.
Three players also qualified from the Male 16-18 division. Tyson Roth, of Elmira, finished first with a 77– the day’s best score. Dorchester golfers Jack Smith and Gavan White finished second and third, respectively, with 78s.
In the Female division, Alexa Todd, of Owen Sound, finished first with an 83. Andrea Lai, of St. Thomas, also qualified with a 78. Lai qualified as an out-of-district golfer.
–About 600 golfers from as many as 30 countries typically attend the Optimist International Junior golf championships each summer in Florida. Tiger Woods, Brooke Henderson and Mike Weir played in the event as teenagers. Next year’s tournament, a 54-hole event, will be held in July.
–Nathan Wolfkamp competed in a Tyson Tour event in St. Thomas last Thursday. He says he’s planning to compete in next year’s Optimist International event in Florida.