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Mosher wins, Lepore takes third at NextGen Prairie Championship

Thunder Bay's Nathan Lepore's finish earned him a berth at the 2024 Canadian Boys Junior Golf Championship later this year in Alberta.

THUNDER BAY – Ryan Mosher knows how to play with a lead.

The Saskatoon native opened with a 2-under 70 on Friday and never looked back, leading wire-to-wire to capture the 2024 NextGen Prairie Golf Championship junior boys’ division title, his 2-0ver 218 total good for a three-shot win over Heritage Pointe, Alta.’s Josiah Tong.

Thunder Bay’s Nathan Lepore finished solo third six shots off Strong’s pace, finishing with a 2-over 74, thanks to a birdie on the 18th hole at Whitewater Golf Course on Sunday, earning one of six spots up for grabs at the Canadian Junior Championship.

Mosher, 16, said it was a great all-around performance.

“I had a couple of hiccups with the driver, but other than that, my game was just on point,” he said, moments after carding a 2-over 74 in Sunday’s final round.

“My putting was spectacular. I couldn’t have asked for a better three days of putting and the irons were really, really good. I was able to aim at the pins and just fire at them, and that helped a lot,” Mosher said, adding he was able to figure out the slower speeds on the green, his home course rolling a tad faster than Whitewater.

“I was able to adjust and got lucky on a couple of putts.”

Richmond Hill’s Michael Yao, who opened play on Sunday tied for second, finished fourth. Haden Wang, who also hails from Richmond Hill, and Kitchener, Ont.’s Jameson Staab rounded out the top six and earned berths at the Canadian Juniors, which opens on Aug. 13 in Innisfail, Alta.

Lepore, who opened with a 78 on Friday, but was one of just two golfers to shoot par or better on Saturday, said he was encouraged when he birdied the par 5 third hole, cutting into Strong’s lead, but a wayward tee shot on 5 led to a double bogey and his chance at winning took a hit.

All in all, he’s happy with his performance.

“Obviously I wanted to close the gap there and win, make up a few shots. But I’m happy with the way that I finished. I kept myself in it, even though I had a few bad holes and just finished strong,” Lepore said.

Hearing the cheers on 18 when he sank a four-foot birdie putt made his weekend.

“It was pretty cool. I know my coach was shaking when I went for it on 18, but it felt pretty good having everybody behind me. It was special.”

The spot at nationals is a real opportunity, added Lepore, who has committed to play golf at Southeastern Oklahoma State University in the fall.

“I’ve been looking up to Jack Moro. He’s my best friend. He’s been going to the Canadian juniors these past few years, so it’s good to get to go and see how I can play against the best players in Canada.”

Thunder Bay’s Jordan Walford and Nic Pavletic, finished tied for 32nd, after posting identical three-round totals of 244. Tristan Warywoda was solo 40th at 37-over 253. Matthew Lysak was six shots back of Warywoda. Carter Poddubny posted a 268 total and Jonah Lahtinen finished at 281.

In the junior girls’ division, Winnipeg’s Jeri Lafleche took top spot, shooting a 3-over 75 on Sunday to edge Calgary’s Olivia Johnson by five strokes.

Calgary’s Sela Ogada, Toronto’s Juanita Beatrix Tandoc, Kyle, Sask.’s Chloe Willis and King City, Ont.’s Sarah Du claimed spots at the Canadian Junior Girls Championship later this summer.


Leith Dunick

About the Author: Leith Dunick

A proud Nova Scotian who has called Thunder Bay home since 2002, Leith is Dougall Media's director of news, but still likes to tell your stories too. Wants his Expos back and to see Neil Young at least one more time. Twitter: @LeithDunick
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