One of the Lacombe Golf and Country Club’s finest players — junior Brady McKinlay — recently finished third at the Alberta Junior Championships at the Highwood Golf and Country Club in High River, Alta.
McKinlay was right in the hunt for the championship heading into the final round on Day 4 — ultimately finishing +3 for the tournament.
“The Alberta Junior was awesome,” McKinlay said. “I saw a first place finish when I was starting the back nine. I was in the lead and I felt like the win was in sight, but a tough back nine took me away from that.
“I am still really happy. My goal was top three, so to make the top three and make the provincial team was huge. It is just sinking in now and it is awesome to represent Alberta at the Canadian Juniors.”
McKinlay played rounds of 68, 71, 71 and 73 on a course that was playing different every day due to changing weather patterns.
“We played the practise round on Monday and it was pretty firm and fast,” McKinlay said. “We got rain the first, third and fourth day so that really softened it up and made it a bit trickier and a much different golf course. The greens were rolling quick and there was some tight pins the last two days. That made scoring a bit tougher, but overall the course was in great shape and it has a really good layout.
“I thought it was a really good test for the Alberta Junior. It didn’t really cater to anyone. You had to do a bit of everything.”
McKinlay would ultimately see a fellow Albertan — the Red Deer Golf and County Club’s Carter Graf — take home first place.
“I have played with Carter quite a few times and he has been the top of junior golf in Alberta for quite a few years,” McKinlay said. “I have started to play better golf in the last couple years and it is cool to finally get to a point where you are really in the mix. It is definitely different being right there and being ahead was really cool.”
McKinlay is now resting and preparing for the Sun Life Financial Alberta Mens Amateur Championship at Wolf Creek, which runs July 16 to 19.
“I want to keep feeding off some good finishes and hopefully that will carry me to the Canadian Junior in good spirits. I think that will be another great tournament and a good experience for me,” he said.
McKinlay hopes more good finishes leads him to an ongoing golf career.
“I am looking for a school to go to in the States,” he said. “I want to to try to play Div 1 university golf and play some of the best players in the world my age. From there, that gives me some options and different routes I could go.
“Right now it is about getting my education and playing some good golf.”
McKinlay is grateful to be able to train in Lacombe.
“Lacombe is a great track. It is a bit tricky, but I have played there so many years and I have the gist of it,” he said. “Having it so close to my house means there are no excuses. I can go up there and jump on the range whenever I want and they have the spare Par 3 where I can go and practice.
“Having that facility to practice is huge because that is what you have to do to keep getting better.”