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Blair Bursey has shown them the line

Corner Brook's Andre Bruce has been Newfoundland and Labrador's top performer through two rounds of the 2017 Canada Games golf competition in Winnipeg.
Corner Brook's Andre Bruce has been Newfoundland and Labrador's top performer through two rounds of the 2017 Canada Games golf competition in Winnipeg.

As Newfoundland and Labrador’s reigning junior men’s golf champion, Andrew Bruce of Corner Brook is following in the footsteps of Blair Bursey. He wants to keep keep right on going.

Bursey had a tough week at the Canadian men’s amateur championship at the Toronto Golf Club, failing to make the cut a year after finishing fifth in the event, but that won’t make any difference to the 18-year-old Bruce and the other golfers who make up Newfoundland’s team at the 2017 Canada Summer Games in Winnipeg.
“You always want to be as good as he was,” said Bruce, looking back on the 20-year-old Bursey’s junior career, which included five consecutive provincial championships.
“He’s at the top and I wan’t to get there, but don’t want to just stop there. I want to beat the standards he set. That’s how I look at it.”
Wayne Allen, the club pro at the Blomidon course in Corner Brook, is coach for the NL Games team in Winnipeg. Allen says Bursey, the 20-year-old from Gander who attends Utah Valley State University on an NCAA Division One scholarship, provides a perfect template for young golfers in his home province.
“He will outwork everyone else and our juniors see that and they look up to that,” said Allen.
“They know if they want to get to where he is, they are going to have to work at least that hard.
“He’s set a precedent for our juniors when it comes to how they approach the game and the work ethic that goes into his game.”
And it goes beyond being a role model. Bruce says Bursey has provided assistance in his own quest for an American university golf scholarship.
“We’ve been pretty good friends for the last year and he’s been helping me find a school in the States, trying to get me into a school somewhere,” said Bruce.
“I don’t want to say (I’m) close (to getting a scholarship), but I have been talking to schools.”
Wednesday’s second round in the Games competition was delayed by rain, but was eventually completed. Despite a Southwood course that played longer in the wet conditions, Bruce carded a second straight 76, to give him a 152 total, eight over par. He’s sits 15th in the 33-golfer competition, up one spot from Tuesday.
Southwood Golf and Country Club is a six-year-old links course, but not quite like the Harmon Seaside Links in Stephenville, with which Bruce is familiar.
“Not really,” he said. “It’s longer. It plays a lot harder. Harmon is shorter and its easier to get on the greens there. Here, you need longer irons to get to the greens.”
Evan D’Angelo and Michael Simms of Closely in St. John’s both had 85s Wednesday, giving the pair of 16-year-olds 169 and 174 totals.
Allen suggest the two are still feeling the negative affect of having their home course and others in the St. John’s area open so late this season after experiencing winter ice damage. Simms, for example, only managed two rounds of golf before the provincial junior championships on the Burin Peninsula in early July.
“It has to be affecting them here,” said Allen. “It’s August and they still aren’t really into the swing of their season. Their first half-dozen rounds were pretty much in competition, and competition golf is a lot harder than practice rounds.
“It was an uphill battle for them right from the beginning.”
In the Games female competition, Taylor Cormier’s 184 leads the three Blomidon golfers who make up NL’s female contingent. Paige Hickey sits at 216 while Megan Colbourne is at 252, although she’s been labouring with a leg injury throughout the first two rounds.
Play continues today and Friday.
While the golfers managed to get past Wednesday’s rain, Newfoundland and Labrador’s tennis players had their matches for the day washed out and postponed until today and Friday. The wet weather also led to cancellation of Wednesday competition in canoe and kayak, although Newfoundland doesn’t have any athletes in those events.

bmcc@thetelegram.com

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