Burlington juniors challenging for national golf titles

Two Burlington golfers find themselves taking the lead into the Wednesday’s third round of play in their age divisions at the Canadian Junior Golf Association’s Nike Championships.

Kristopher Kowalchuk, 12, carded a two-under 70 to grab an eight-stroke lead in the Boys 13 and Under category. The Hamilton-born golfer had an opening round 81 and rebounded Tuesday to jump ahead of Markham’s Gajan Sivabalasingham (76-83), who led after the first round at the Lionhead Golf and Country Club.

Kowalchuk, who has made the cut in the nine tournaments he has played this season, equaled his career-best round on Tuesday with his 70. “My putting just clicked today,” said Kowalchuk. “For (Wednesday), I have to stay focused because it’s not done yet. I think the key is to just relax and have fun.”

Sixteen-year-old Michael Gligic, who was tied for the lead after the first round, took over possession of first place by one stroke in the Boys 14-16 group.

Gligic fashioned his second 73 on the Brampton course to lead Brett Cairns, 16, of Courtland who had a 74 in his outing. Like Kowalchuk, Gligic relied on his short game. “I made some clutch putts for par,” said Gligic. “My long putts weren’t that great, but it left me with a lot of short putts.”

In the Boys 17-19 section, Niagara falls golfer Ryan Corbin, 18, is second and trails the leader, Timothy Lew, 18, of Courtice, Ont., by seven strokes.

In the girls division, Ancaster’s Laura Hildebrandt, 15, finds herself in second place, five shots back of leader Brittany Henderson, 14, of Smith Falls, Ont. Hildebrandt had a 74 to stay within striking distance of Henderson, who carded a 71, and won the division last year.

Forty-one of the country’s best junior are competing in the tournament which concludes Wednesday.