Rain fails to dampen spirits

KEN WIEBE -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 7:21 AM ET

Though rain shortened the Manitoba Optimist Junior Golf Championship, it didn't prevent an exciting finish.

Riley Unger of Pleasant Valley needed a five-hole playoff before defeating Derek East of St. Charles to win the boys 16 to 18 title.

Unger advances to the 40th annual Optimist International Junior Golf Championship, which will be held at the PGA National Resort and Spa in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. from July 19 to 29.

Unger, who hails from Plum Coulee, will be joined in Florida by Naeun Park of The Meadows, who shot 81-47-128 to beat 2006 champion Bethany Goran of the Dauphin Lake Golf Club by eight strokes in the girls 16 to 18 category.

East and Goran will compete at the 17th annual Canadian Optimist Junior Golf National Championship at Ingersoll Golf and Country Club in Ingersoll, Ont. from Aug. 12 to 15.

The tournament was split between Larters at St. Andrews and The Meadows at East St. Paul and featured a total of 124 players, which was up from the last two years.

Heavy rains on Sunday meant the tournament was reduced from 36 to 27 holes (plus the playoff).

And the playoffs don't end with Unger and East.

Beginning today, Steve Minion of Breezy Bend and Taylor Reilly of Niakwa will determine the winner of the boys 14 to 15 category.

Minion shot 74 on Saturday and slipped to 39 on Sunday, while Reilly followed up his 78 with a 35 to set up the showdown.

The winner of the playoff advances to the national championship in Ontario along with Bri-Ann Tokariswski of Larters, who shot 87-46 to win the girls 14 to 15 category.

In the 13-and-under category, Riley Pace of Red Lake, Ont., (81-42-123) won the boys division and Jenna Roadley of Glendale (89-53-142) won the girls division.

CHIP SHOTS: The Manitoba Mixed Team Championship is slated to begin Saturday at Minnewasta Golf and Country Club in Morden.

A total of 48 players are registered for the 36-hole event.


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