Kyle, Picco make the cut at Ontario Juniors

By: Randy Pascal – Playback

 | Jul 17, 2014 - 10:48 AM |
Nick Quesnel, seen teeing off on Wednesday on the second hole of Timberwolf Golf Course, fell short of making the cut, shooting 80-81 and missing out by three shots. Photo by Arron Pickard.

Nick Quesnel, seen teeing off on Wednesday on the second hole of Timberwolf Golf Course, fell short of making the cut, shooting 80-81 and missing out by three shots. Photo by Arron Pickard.

Ward Kyle and Jason Picco are not likely to mount an unprecedented charge up the leaderboard, challenging the top 10 at the 2014 Investors Group Ontario Junior Boys Championship at Timberwolf on Thursday or Friday.

Both local golfers have, however, safely navigated their way through the first major hurdle, remaining north of the cut line by just one stroke as the field of 156 teens was chopped down to the top 60 plus ties (a final total of 63, to be accurate).

Both members of the Idylwylde Golf & Country Club finished with two-day totals of 157, with Kyle pairing his opening day 79 with a 78 on Wednesday, while Picco shot 77-80 to remain in the hunt.

While that leaves the Sudbury tandem exactly 15 shots back of leader John Boncoddo of Brantford, neither are likely to lose any sleep over that. They knew that placing in the top half of the draw would provide challenge enough, even when playing in their own backyard.

"I just felt like I was playing another round of golf and wanted to have fun," noted Kyle, who had only played Timberwolf on one occasion prior to the tournament practice round on Monday. "Just hit the ball and go to the next shot. Keep playing and don't worry too much where it goes."

A talented multi-sport athlete who has played AAA hockey for years and medalled in alpine skiing at OFSAA, Kyle maintains that the adjustment from the shorter Idylwylde course to the more distance-driven 18 at Timberwolf was not necessarily bad news for his game.

"I think it suits me pretty well, because I don't usually get in that much trouble off the tee, and I've been chipping pretty well and putting decently," Kyle said.

If the Lockerby Composite student is getting a lay of the land at Timberwolf for the first time, the same cannot be said for Picco, who enjoyed the opportunity to compete at the Canadian Juniors at the same venue last summer.

"I found I was having some deja-vu out there with some shots," laughed Picco, shortly after completing Round 2. "I would step up to the tee, think back to what I did last year, and remind myself not to do it again."

Nick Quesnel, who rounded out the local contingent this week, fell short of making the cut, shooting 80-81 and missing out by three shots. Among the golfers who are still within eye-shot of a top-five placing, Nick Hofland is beginning to feel ever more comfortable as he looks to close the gap on his clubmate at the top of the leaderboard.

"I started on the back yesterday, played well on the back, but poor on the front," noted Hofland, one of three young athletes representing the Brantford Golf & Country Club. "Today was a bit softer, the greens were softer, the fairways were definitely softer, so it was playing a bit longer.

"But it was less windy, so it was easier to score."

Hofland's scorecard reflected that mindset, as he dropped his opening round 77 down to an even-par 72 on Tuesday, leaving him in a group of four golfers tied for 14th.

Unlike the 2013 Canadian Juniors at Timberwolf, in which Kevin Kwon of B.C. went wire to wire for the win, the race for this year's provincial junior crown is still wide open.

Just one shot back of Boncoddo are the pairing of Charles Corner and Spencer Dobbs, both at one-under-par 143, with Marc Casullo (144), Carter Simon (145) and Trent Abraham and Kyle Gordon (both at 146) all still well positioned.

Round 3 resumed early today, with the final round set for Friday. Leaders are expected to tee off on both days between 10-11 a.m., meaning the final groupings will be coming home in the late afternoon.

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