Maple Leaf Junior Tour Completes An Event Before Pandemic Suspension

YanJun (Victoria) Liu - 15-19 Girls (Photo: Maple Leaf Junior Tour)

Nine-hole playoff, hole-in-one at successful MJT Humber College PGM Classic presented by TaylorMade in Vancouver

Vancouver, BC – (March 17, 2020) –  The Maple Leaf Junior Golf Tour’s wait-listed and highly successful first event of the 2020 season ran in Vancouver, BC, on March 14, 15 and 16 – the MJT Humber College PGM Classic presented by TaylorMade at University Golf Club.

Marking the opening, and now temporary suspension due to the Coronavirus COVID-19 outbreak, of the 22nd season on Canada’s number one-played junior tour, a packed field of young competitors showcased exceptional talent and perseverance very early in the golf season. Participants received fabulous tee gifts and prizing from tournament sponsors, Humber College PGM program and TaylorMade Golf, and sunshine graced the beautiful course for all three tournament days, despite cold and wind making scoring tricky for the players in the six divisions of competition.

Winning the Hoselton trophy in the MJT Junior Boys Division together with the Low Overall Boy’s score was defending MJT champion, Ilirian Zalli , 17, who fired outstanding scores of 72, 69, and 71 (212, -4). The Vancouver star commented, “The first event is always a good one to get back into the season. Thank you to MJT for hosting a great tournament!” Second place in the division was secured by 16-year-old, Brycen Ko, of Richmond, BC, with excellent scores of 73, 73, and 72 (218, +2). Ko was able to climb up the leaderboard throughout the tournament due to the consistency of his performance. There was a tie for third place in the division between Vancouver’s Dylan Bercan, 18, (75-71-74) and Russell Howlett, 18, of Delta, BC (72-74-74).

Ilirian Zalli, Junior Boys Champion

An exciting finish in the MJT Juvenile Boys Division saw three-time 2019 MJT winner, Danny Im, 15, hang on to the bitter end to take home his first title for the 2020 season. The Langley golfer carded rounds of 73, 75, and 77 (225) for a narrow, one-shot victory after a tough start to his third round. A remarkable effort by 16-year-old Willy Bishop, of Victoria, BC, resulted in fine scores of 76, 77, and 73 (226), placing him second in the division just one stroke back of Im. After a tough start to the tournament, a strong performance on the final day by Daniel Xu, 14, of Richmond, BC, which included an even-par 72, shot him up the leaderboard to a third-place finish with a total of 229 (80, 77, 72).

Taking Low Overall Girl’s score and the Hoselton trophy in the MJT Girls 15-19 in convincing fashion was 17-year-old YanJun(Victoria) Liu. The talented Vancouver golfer carded brilliant scores of 72, 73, and 68 (213, -3) in tough conditions, becoming the only female competitor to finish the tournament with a total score under par and only one of two players in the entire field to finish under par. “There were many great players playing,” commented Liu after her win. “I focused on my game, made many birdies all three days, and got up and down when I needed to.” Tied for second in the division at 230 total score were MJT veteran-champion Erin Lee, 14, of Langley, BC, (78, 75, and 77), and Michelle Liu , 13, of Vancouver, (74, 79, and 77).

YanJun (Victoria) Liu – 15-19 Girls (Photo: Maple Leaf Junior Tour)

The spotlight in the MJT U15 Girls Division fell on 14-year-old, Yeji Kwon, of Port Coquitlam, BC. Kwon carded a final round of -4, 68, to rise and capture the Hoselton trophy and the first MJT junior tour victory of her career. After a consistent start to the tournament with rounds of 74 and 75, Kwon saw herself sitting in second place with a couple shots to make up. A spectacular third round which included seven birdies closed out the victory. “I feel very proud and happy to have won,” commented Kwon. “I realized I had won only on the last hole when I saw my score.” June Hsiao, 13, of Coquitlam, BC, carded rock solid scores of 75, 75, and 74 (224) to finish runner-up and rounding out the podium in third place was Anna Huang, 11, of Vancouver, who fired rounds of 71, 77, and 77 (225).

It was a close contest in the MJT Bantam Boys Division which resulted in Coquitlam-resident, Jay Xu, 13, emerging with a one-shot win after firing rounds of 77, 77, and 75 (229). “I had a really good practice last week,” said Xu who attributed his win to his preparation leading up to the tournament. That preparation and hard work showed through the consistency of his performance throughout the three-days. Taking home second place in the division was Vancouver-golfer, Nathan Szpakowicz, 14, with scores of 77, 79, and 74 (230). Szpakowicz picked up right where he left off last year with a solid second-place showing at this event.

Much of the action took place in the MJT Peewee Boys Division which firstly witnessed a hole-in-one on Hole 7 by 9-year-old Matthew Cui of Burnaby, BC, during the final round, and secondly, needed nine extra playoff holes to determine a division winner between 11-year-old, Andy Liu (76, 76, 79 = 231), of Surrey, BC, and 12-year-old Soohan Park (75, 80, 76 = 231), of Langley. With both players trading opportunities to win throughout the playoff, it was Liu who made a clutch par putt on the ninth extra hole to take home the Hoselton trophy and his first win of the season, while Park had to settle for a runner-up finish after the marathon battle. Tied for third place at 232 total score were 2019 MJT Mini Tour National Champion, Michael Li , 11, of Vancouver, ( 78, 79, and 75) and Sukhraj Singh Gill , 12, of Surrey, BC (76, 81, and 75).

Winners of the PLYR Long Drive, PLYR Closest-to-the-Pin and the MJT Booster Juice Bounceback Awards are posted on the event’s highlights page here; exemptions into the BC Junior Boys Championship in Oliver, BC, and International Junior Masters (IJM) in New York State, will be finalized and announced shortly and recipients will be contacted directly.

The Maple Leaf Junior Golf Tour would like to remind everyone that upcoming events have been suspended, to be rescheduled for play at a later date as circumstances allow, due to the Coronavirus COVID-19 outbreak. The MJT is committed to ensuring the health and safety all its players, families, and personnel and wishes that everyone remain safe and healthy during these times. For more information, please visit the website at www.maplejt.com.