Brady McKinlay, 16, of the Lacombe Golf and Country Club is continuing to grow his golf game and will be representing Canada overseas twice in the month of August.
From Aug. 8th-10th, he will be travelling to Scotland to compete in the 2017 Euro Junior Cup at the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews.
He will follow this once in a lifetime opportunity with another overseas trip to Finland where he will compete in the MJT (Maple Leaf Junior Tournament) Nordic Junior Team Matches in Helsinki, Finland.
McKinlay qualified for these teams through two separate stops on his busy summer touring schedule.
“For the Scotland trip, I will be going to Euro Junior Cup,” he said.
“I played in the CJGA (Canadian Junior Golf Association) Red Tail Tournament where I placed third. For the Finland trip, I played in the MJT tournament at Cottonwood in Calgary and I won. It is an opportunity that I may never get again the rest of my life.”
Before McKinlay traverses the Atlantic, he has another stop in Kingston, Ontario.
“I am playing in the Canadian Junior Championships,” he said.
“For Kingston, I played in a local qualifier to make it into the Alberta Junior Championships and I placed fourth – shooting a 74. We went on to provincials in Coal Creek. I played pretty good there. I ended up 14th after the four-day tournament. The top 15 get into Canadian Nationals.”
At press time, McKinlay will be half-way through the four-day Canadian Nationals.
“I wasn’t expecting to make it to nationals this year,” he said. “For me, if I go there and play as good as I think I can and just have a little fun – that is all I want to do. My goal would be to make the cut and if I make the cut, I will be very happy.”
McKinlay credits the growth in his golf game to getting more comfortable as the season progresses.
“Going further into the year, you get a feel for things,” he said.
“At the start of the year, you try to feel things out and try to get the feel of things and get back in the swing of things. You start to figure out what needs to be fixed and what your weak spots are and what strong ones are.
“I think my putting is my best part and I have definitely worked on that. A lot of the courses we have played have a lot of tough greens.
“I have been working on my putting a lot and my iron play. If I can hit a lot of greens and make putts, that will help me shoot lower scores. I try to key in on that.”
He noted his driver, putter and focus have put him in a lot of good positions for birdies.
“I have been putting the ball on the fairway and once I get on the greens, I have been giving every put a chance to go in,” he said.
“I have definitely been working on my mental game, trying to stay steady. If that is strong when I am at Canadians, I think I will shoot even lower because the mental game is one of the biggest things to shooting low scores.”
McKinlay has managed to grow his game, despite having little time to carve out practice time due to a busy tournament schedule.
“I have played two tournaments for the CJGA and I have played quite a few for the MJT — the Maple Leaf Junior Tour,” he said.
“Lately I have played a lot of the Alberta Golf Tournaments. I have been definitely busy. Most weeks, the tournaments are at the start of the week so you play a practice round at the start of the week and then it starts Tuesday.
“Any weekends I have, I’ll be at Lacombe practicing or playing. The tournaments are often a ways away so you’ve got to take a trip there. You’ll go there and play a trip around the area and then a practice around at the course where the tournament is at.”
McKinlay is looking forward to playing golf overseas and added, “You have to go there and have some fun and play good golf. You want to go there and embrace it.”