Team Canada’s Alexander Smith sits T1; Kehler Koss tops Junior Girls at CN Future Links Western Championship

Alexander Smith (Chuck Russell/ Golf Canada)

MEDICINE HAT, Alta. – Thunder and lightning forced a 44-minute delay to prolong the first round of the 2016 CN Future Links Western Championship at Medicine Hat Golf & Country Club. When the skies parted and the opening day concluded, Team Canada Development Squad member Alexander Smith emerged in a four-way tie atop the Junior Boys leaderboard, while Kehler Koss leads the Junior Girls division following a 3-under 69 showing.

A five-birdie day gave Calgary’s Smith a share of the lead at 2-under 70 alongside Kade Johnson (Yorkton, Sask.), Marc Sweeney (Saskatoon, Sask.), and Chandler McDowell (Springbrook, Alta.). The quartet holds a one-stroke advantage over the field of 81 junior boys.

The crowded leaderboard has Medicine Hat’s Michael Valk tied for fifth at 1-under with Jordan Bean (Canmore, Alta.), Noah Kozack (Regina, Sask.), Kai Iguchi (Banff, Alta.), Max Murchison (Calgary) and Brendan MacDougall (Calgary).

Kehler Koss returns to the CN Future Links Western Championship after capturing runner-up honours in 2015 at Goose Hummock Golf Course in Gibbons, Alta. The Calgarian’s eagle on No. 10 and a trio of birdies gave the 17-year-old a four-stroke lead after opening with a 69.

Holding second-place at 1-over 73 is West Vancouver’s Phoebe Yue. The 16-year-old is followed by a trio of Calgarians with Claire Emery in third at 3-over. Annabelle Ackroyd sits fourth after carding a 77, while defending champion Kenna Hughes is one stroke behind in fifth.

All competitors within the Top-6, including ties, in the Junior Girls Division will gain exemptions into the Canadian Junior Girls Championship. The tournament will be conducted from August 2-5 at The Links at Penn Hills in Shubenacadie, N.S. The top six players in the Junior Boys Division will earn entry into the 2016 Canadian Junior Boys Championship at Clovelly Golf Club in St. John’s, N.L., from August 1-4. Exemptions will be decided via a hole-by-hole playoff in the case of ties.

The second day of competition will see the Junior Girls tee-off at 7 a.m. before the Junior Boys begin play at 8:30 a.m. Additional information, including pairings and up-to-date scoring is available here.