When your grandparents live near a golf course, and your dad plays a lot of golf, chances are you might get into the swing of the sport.
That’s what happened to Vernon’s Austin Armanini, who tees up next week at the Canadian Junior Boy’s Golf Championships Aug. 9-12 at Vallée du Richelieu in Sainte Julie, Que.
“My grandparents lived near Burnaby Mountain and bought me a set of clubs,” said Armanini, who turned 17 July 23 and who works at Strictly Golf.
Those clubs were left-handed ones, as grandpa and dad were both left-handed. Armanini, a former hockey player, shot left-handed and plays golf the same way, like many of his competitors.
Upon arriving in Vernon, he would often ride his bike from his Middleton Mountain home carrying his clubs for a round at Hillview Golf Course.
Armanini, a Class of 2021 graduate from Vernon Christian School, qualified for the Canadian championships by finishing in a tie for third at the B.C. Junior Boy’s finals in Parksville after shooting the low round of the final day, a 3-under-par 69. He won a playoff to claim third place alone.
“I’m pretty excited to be going out to nationals,” said Armanini. “I’m excited to see how my game compares to other golfers from around the country.”
His goal at the provincials was to finish in the top-17 and earn a trip to nationals. Instead, he caught fire over the final two rounds, did not record a double bogey in either round and put everything together in those final 18 holes.
Armanini finished nine shots behind the winner, Gavyn Knight of Parksville, while Kelowna’s Cooper Humphreys – who plays out of Vernon’s Predator Ridge Resort – was second, five shots back of Knight.
His goal for the nationals is to make the 36-hole cut.
“If I make the cut, then I hope to be in the top-25 or top-30,” said Armanini, who will be joined at the tournament by Knight, Humphreys and Ryan Vest of Vernon.
Humphreys and Vest are tuning up for the Canadian Junior Boys event by competing this week at the Canadian Men’s Amateur Championship at the Ambassador Golf Club in Windsor, Ont.
After 36 holes Tuesday, Aug. 3, Vest and Humphreys both made it through to the final 36 holes.
Vest is tied for 40th spot at 2-over 144 after rounds of 73-71. Humphreys just made the cut, which was +5, after rounds of 75-72 and is in a tie for 64th place. The leaders are William Duquette of Quebec and A.J. Ewart of Coquitlam at 11-under-par.
Knight missed the 36-hole cut by four shots, finishing at 76-75 for a 9-over mark.