THUNDER BAY – Not even a back-nine stumble was able to slow Nathan LePore’s momentum on Sunday afternoon.
Playing in high winds and high heat, the 15-year old cruised to a seven-shot win over Jack Moro in the under-19 Ontario Junior Boys Golf Championship regional qualifier at Whitewater Golf Course, firing a four-over 76, the lone golfer to break 80 on the day.
LePore’s victory earned him a spot at the under-19 provincial championship, which will be contested from July 26 to July 29 at Whistle Bear Golf Club in Cambridge, Ont.
He wasn’t the only local golfer who will get to test his skills at the provincial level. Austin Polonski, who shot a 23-over 95 on Sunday, earned the Thunder Bay District Golf Association’s under-15 bid, Jonah Lahtinen, who won the group with a 16-over 88, had already qualified for the Ontario Bantam Championship at 2020 event.
In the under-17 age category, Jordan Walford needed an extra hole to edge Tyler Konopski for a spot in the Ontario Juvenile championship. Both the juvenile and bantam events will be staged at the Roseland Golf and Curling Club in late August.
Michael Figliomeni captured the under-13 category with a 20-over 92, good for a six-shot win over Tristan Jaspers. Figliomeni, Jaspers and Logan Scharf are all eligible for the Ontario Boys Pee Wee championship, which is scheduled for Aug. 30 and Aug. 31 in Fenwick, Ont.
LePore, a student at St. Ignatius High School, said he had some nerves off the opening tee, but figured things out quickly, finishing with an even-par 36 on the front nine, a pretty good accomplishment considering the conditions.
“At the start of the round, I was a little bit shaky on the first tee. I had a bogey and then I went par-par and had a nice birdie on No. 5. That kind of triggered me to keep playing good. Then I got to 16 and I made a double with a bad chip. On 17 I made a bogey, but I finished with a par for a 76,” LePore said.
“I think the wind was tougher than the heat. On the front nine, it wasn’t bad because you were all down wind. But on the back nine, 10 to 14 were playing really tough.”
LePore said he can’t wait to test his golf skills against the best juniors in the province, many of whom will be three years older than him when the tournament kicks off.
Moro, one of the top up-and-coming golfers in the district, a day earlier earned a prize of his own, capturing at the Ontario Men’s Amateur Championship, starting on Aug. 10 in at the Beach Grove Golf and Country Club in Windsor.
It’s a pretty good consolation prize.
“I was very happy to get the win yesterday,” the 17-year-old St. Patrick High School student said. “I played pretty solid. Tee to green I was good and I’m happy to come away with the win.”