Teen records low round

KEN WIEBE -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 7:22 AM ET

St. Charles Country Club members had plenty to cheer about yesterday.

Matt Johnston holds a three-stroke lead heading into the final round of the Manitoba Men's Amateur Championship, Stewart Bannatyne sits in third place (five shots off the pace) and youngster Derek East also collected an abundance of congratulatory handshakes for carding the low round of the day yesterday with a 3-under-par 69.

East, 16, was one of only four players to break par during the third round as he moved into a tie for ninth place.

'PERFECT TIMING'

"That's my lowest score this year and the lowest since I've been a member here," said East. "Perfect timing, I guess."

On the first day of the event, East was happy to chat when a reporter introduced himself but was quick to point out it was playing partner Brad DePape who shot 68 as he scored 73.

A Golf Manitoba official had initially marked DePape's score on East's scorecard but there was no mistaking what East did yesterday.

"It's my card this time," quipped East, who tied for ninth at the Manitoba Junior Men's Championship after shooting 74-80-74-72--300. "I did a lot of things right and now I have to minimize my mistakes tomorrow."

Watching the men's amateur championship at Links at the Lake in Gimli last year served as motivation for East.

"You get the feeling you want to be there," he said, noting he made five birdies and two bogeys yesterday. "It might be my first time being here, but I've done it before with my friends and if I just play my game, I can do well tomorrow. I'll do the same things as today and maybe birdie a few more holes. You've got to stay in the present and make some putts."

East says he's been golfing his "whole life" and his passion for the sport is evident.

"I just love it," said East, noting Bannatyne has been like a brother to him. "You get addicted. That one perfect shot makes you come back, even if you shoot 100."

Johnston is impressed by East's work ethic.

"He's out here (at St. Charles) all the time, practising and playing," said Johnston, whose 2-under 70 was the second lowest score of the day.

"He's tiny but he pounds it. He's got game. He's going to be really good."

Looks like he already is, but East's potential to improve seems limitless.


Videos

Photos