Cardwell wins Investors Group Ontario Bantam Boys’ Championship; Sheikh claims Bantam Girls’ title

BATH— The Investors Group Ontario Bantam Boys’ and Girls’ Championships wrapped up on Aug. 23 from Loyalist Country Club in Bath. Once again the players face a rain delay, although round two’s was nowhere near as long as the delay during round one. The day finished late for the winners but at the end of the two-day event it was Courtice’s Ethan Cardwell taking the Boys’ title, while Markham’s Raesa Sheikh captured the Girls’ Championship.

Cardwell, from the Oshawa Golf & Curling Club, began the day two-shots off the lead thanks to an opening round of even par (72). After three pars to open the round, he dropped a stroke with a bogey on the fourth. He would get it back with a birdie on the ninth and was even after the front nine. Cardwell moved to one-under for the day thanks to another birdie on the 12th. After a bogey on the 16th, he added one more birdie on the 18th. That brought him to one-under (71) for the day and one-under (72-71-143) for the championship. While he did need to wait for one more group to finish, Cardwell would still be declared the winner by two shots.

“This win means a lot to me,” said Cardwell. “I lost by two shots last year, with a good, solid closing round, so it definitely felt good to get the win this year. I have been hitting the ball really well lately, my ball-striking has been key and when my putts have dropped, my scores have been good, whether last week at the (Ontario) Juvenile Championship or here.”

Starting in the second to last group, Cardwell said he had a plan in mind to chase down the leaders. “Coming into the day I picked a number. I thought about 70 or 69 but when I saw the weather, I realized I just needed to stay patient. I dropped a big putt on nine and just waited for my chances.”

Earning the silver medal was Toronto’s Beni Long. Long, from The Country Club, found himself two-over at the turn, however he would find his groove on the back nine with birdies on the 12th and 15th. That helped him finish one-over (73), which is where he ended the tournament (72-73-145).

There was a six-way tie for the bronze medal at a tournament total of three-over. Sharing the medal were: Toronto’s Alex Long (79-68-147), Burlington’s Peter Blazevic (76-71-147), North York’s Gerry Mei (76-71-147), Tecumseh’s Nicholas Tanovich (73-74-147), Little Britain’s Justin Matthews (70-77-147), and Oakville’s William Herbert (71-76-147).

In the Girls’ Championship, Sheikh, from Cedar Brae Golf Club, had a rough start to the round as she found herself five-over at the turn. However, she would settle down on the back nine. She bogeyed the 10th but then birdied the 12th before pars on the next four holes. After a bogey on 17, Sheikh found herself on the par-five 18th putting for eagle. She would drain the 15-foot putt for eagle and the win. She finished the day four-over (76) to bring her tournament total to four-over (72-76-148).

Afterwards, Sheikh spoke about the putt that won it all. “It was really scary at first, I didn’t believe that it went in. I was very shaky but I’m glad that it did drop.”

Sheikh acknowledged that she had some struggles early on but talked about how she remained calm. “I tried to shake it off the best that I could. I made myself restart on the back nine and told myself that it was a new nine and just tried to go low.”

Taking the silver medal was Oshawa’s Madelin Boyd. Boyd, from Lakeridge Links Golf Club, had the low round of the day, an even par (72). Boyd bogeyed the opening hole but quickly got the stroke back with back-to-back birdies on the second and third holes. She would bogey 12 and 16, but ended the day strong with a birdie on the 18th. She completed the tournament at six-over (78-72-150).

Rounding out the podium was London’s Jillian Friyia. Friyia, from Highland Country Club, had a share of the lead entering the round. She would battle during the final round and found herself five-over as she made the turn. She would add a pair of bogey’s on the back nine but was able to hang onto the bronze medal finishing the day seven-over (79) and the tournament seven-over (72-79-151).

For full tournament information, including the leaderboards and live streaming video archive, see the tournament sites at: https://gao.bluegolf.com/bluegolf/gao17/event/gao1711/index.htm for the Boys’ Championship and https://gao.bluegolf.com/bluegolf/gao17/event/gao1712/index.htm for the Girls’ Championship.

Golf Ontario would like to thank Loyalist Country Club, their staff and volunteers for hosting the Championships. Thanks also to the Golf Ontario volunteers and title sponsor Investors Group for their support of golf in Ontario.

About the Investors Group Ontario Bantam Championship

The Investors Group Ontario Bantam Boys’ Championship was first contested in 1923 at the Summit Golf & Country Club. The first Ontario Bantam Girls’ Championship was held in 2003. The event is open to players 14-years-old and younger as of Aug. 1. Participants on the boys’ side qualified through one of four qualifiers held earlier this summer. Notable past boys champions include: Tony Gil, Matt LeMay, Bill Hutcheson, Kelly Roberts and Tim McCutcheon. As for past girls champions, the list includes: Jennifer Kirby, Augusta James and Christina Foster.

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