Gligic rebounds to claim his first national junior golf title

Sixteen-year-old Michael Gligic is Canada’s junior champion in the Boys 14-16 Division. Gligic won the title at the Mizuno Canadian Junior Golf Association’s National Championships after a somewhat ominous start.

The Burlington teen had an opening and disheartening round of 80 at the National Pines Golf Club in Barrie but rebounded for his first national title. Gligic came back with a 75 in the second round and finished with back-to-back 72s to claim the championship Friday.

“Juniors came from across the country to play in this event and it’s a good feeling to win it,” he said. “It sounds good to say I won a national championship but it feels even better,” said the Hidden Lakes Golf Club member.

Gligic finished nine strokes ahead of Justin Shin, 14, of Richmond Hill. Russell Budd, 15, of Toronto grabbed third spot at 313.

And Burlington’s Kristopher Kowalchuk placed second in the Boys 13 and Under Division. The 12-year-old fashioned an impressive 73 to grab second spot, five shots back of winner Lucas Kim, 12, of Etobicoke. Richard Jung, 13, of North York, Ont. was third.

Meanwhile, defending champions Andrew Funk and Brittany Henderson were the other two division champions.

Funk, 17, of Edmonton (Alberta) held off a hard charging Adam Petrasovic, 17, to collect his second consecutive national championship title after winning the Boys 14 – 16 Division in 2005.

“My front nine was really good today,” said Funk. “Although I didn’t play my best golf, I played well and I think I have a shot to win next year.”

Funk’s final 296 total (71-76-74-75) was one better than Petrasovic and Courtice, Ont. native Tim Lew, 18. Petrasovic, of Tecumseh, Ont., fired a tournament low 68 to nearly catch Funk.

Henderson, 15, of Smiths Falls, Ont. added a second national championship trophy to her case after closing with a 73 for a 300 total (+12). After eventual second place finisher, Rebecca Lee-Bentham, 15, of Richmond Hill, Ont., made up two strokes in the first two holes, Henderson regrouped to shoot 35 (-1) on the front nine and pull away.

“I played better the last two days,” said Henderson. “Got off to a rocky start to the tournament but I managed to come back and be consistent for the last two rounds.” Kaetlynn Mannix, 17, of Glen’s Falls, N.Y. carded a round of 77 to grab third place in the Girls Division.