In 2016, Blair Bursey led the field for three days at the Canadian men’s amateur golf championship, and in doing so helped Newfoundland and Labrador win its first-ever Willingdon Cup interprovincial team title. But the Gander golfer slipped to fifth place on the fourth and final day of the national championship in Ottawa.
Two years later, the 21-year-old Bursey, coming off a stellar four-year collegiate career at NCAA Division One Utah Valley University looks well-positioned to earn another possible shot at a national men’s crown.
On Tuesday at Bally Haly Country Club in St. John’s, Bursey shot a scintillating five-under-par 65 — knocking down one eagle and six birdies in the process — to take a commanding lead through two rounds of the Newfoundland and Labrador men’s amateur golf championship.
Bursey, the provincial men’s amateur champion in 2015 and 2016 (he didn’t compete in the event last year), has a two-day total of 140, giving him a six -stroke advantage over 2017 provincial junior champion Andrew Bruce of Corner Brook and the Humber Valley Resort.
The championship is scheduled to conclude today, after which provincial teams will be named for various national championships, including the Canadian men’s amateur, which will be held next month in Duncan, B.C.
Matthew Woodland and three-time former provincial men’s champion Michael Tibbo, both of Bally Haly are tied for third, two strokes back of Bruce.
Tibbo and Bruce had shared the first-round lead after shooting 72s on Monday.
The top 10 on the men’s amateur leaderboard includes two other former champions, Nikashantess Penashue of the Amaruk Club in Happy Valley-Goose Bay and Mike Furlong of Bally Haly, the 2017 winner.
Woodland tops the mid-amateur division (for golfers 25 and older), while Chuck Conley of Bally Haly is first in the senior division.
Provincial super senior titles were declared after two days of competition at Bally Haly.
Don Boland of Bally Haly overcame a three-stroke deficit after the first round to capture his third consecutive N.L. super senior crown with a two day-total of 158 that gave him a one-stroke win over Day 1 leader Andrew Hynes of Clovelly in St. John’s. Bob Skanes of Gander Golf Club was third with a 168.
Linda Webber of Bally Haly also used home-course advantage, shooting a second-round 83 for a 176 total, which gave her first-ever provincial super senior championship.
Webber finished five strokes ahead of Day 1 leader Sherilyn Beaton of Clovelly. Bobbie Boland of Clovelly was third.
With a 173 total, Janet Mills of Bally Haly is leader in three women’s division — amateur, mid-amateur and senior.
Mills actually shares the women’s amateur lead with junior-aged Taylor Cormier of the Blomidon Club in Corner Brook, with Allison Crawford of Bally Haly in third.
Crawford is second to Mills in the mid-amateur, with Webber in the runner-up position in the women’s senior division.
Among the highlights on Day 2 included Bruce and junior-aged Ryan McNeil-Lamswood of Stephenville joining Bursey in making eagles.
And even though he fell from seventh to 20th place in the men’s amateur standings with a second straight 81, there were plenty of people wanting to know how Bonavista native Michael Ryder, the Clovelly-based former National Hockey League scoring star was making out on the venerable Bally Haly course.