Richmond’s Brycen Ko Takes Four-Shot Lead Into Final Round Of B.C. Junior Boys Championship

Richmond's Brycen Ko Will Try To Hold Onto A 4-Shot Lead In Friday's Final Round At The BC Junior Boys Championship - Images Credit Brad Ziemer/BC Golf

By Brad Ziemer, British Columbia Golf

NANOOSE BAY -- The B.C. Junior Boys Championship at Fairwinds Golf Club has been all about avoiding the big number. Brycen Ko has done that as well as anyone and that’s one of the main reasons why the 15-year-old Richmond resident carries a four-shot lead into Friday’s final round.

Ko has made his share of bogeys on Fairwinds’ tight layout, where trouble seemingly lurks everywhere. But he has avoided those dreaded others that have destroyed so many rounds of his fellow competitors this week.

Ko played another steady round Thursday, when he birdied two of his last three holes to shoot a one-under 70. He is two-under par through 54 holes and has a four-shot lead on Fort Langley’s Jackson Jacob and Michael Crisologo of Richmond. Ko hasn’t made anything worse than a bogey all week.

Ko, who just finished Grade 10 at Richmond Christian and is already committed to play his collegiate golf at the University of British Columbia, knows he will need more of the same on Friday. “I am going to try to have the same mindset I have had the first three days,’ Ko said. “Just hit fairways and greens. I can’t really control what they (Jacob and Crisologo) do, they are really great players. I just have to try and do my best.”

Crisologo birdied his last hole Thursday to also post a one-under 70. It was his most solid round of the week. He made just one bogey. “I didn’t make anything happen good or bad,” Crisologo said. “I thought it was a pretty solid round and I am pretty happy with it.” He’d be a lot happier if some putts would drop. Crisologo, who won the Future Links Pacific Championship this spring at Pitt Meadows Golf Club, hasn’t had much luck on the greens at Fairwinds.

“I think I have to keep playing my game and pray that more putts go in,” he said. “I have missed a lot of putts out there, but that's how it goes sometimes. You just have to give yourself chances and see if more putts drop.”

Michael Crisologo Is T2 After 3 Rounds Of The BC Junior Boys Championship At Fairwinds GC

Crisologo is off to Simon Fraser University this fall, where he hopes to follow in the footsteps of his older brother Chris. He’s happy with the patience he has displayed the first three days of the tournament. “I have been pretty solid, especially today and yesterday,” he said. “I didn’t lose any balls so that is good, not taking any penalty strokes. I have been doing a good job of keeping the ball in front of me.”

The considerable challenges of Fairwinds have been a hot topic of discussion among the players this week.  “It has definitely been a test,” Crisologo said. “Jackson and I were talking about how this course gives us high blood pressure. There really are no easy layup shots, no easy putts. You have to stay focused the whole round and I think that is a major key.”

Jacob has been around the lead all week. He had his first major hiccup when he double-bogeyed the fourth hole on Thursday. He ended up shooting a two-over 73. “I hit the ball well today, better than I have hit it the first two days,” Jacob said. “I had it back to even after 11 holes and it was just a grind the last few holes on the back nine. They are all tough holes and I just couldn’t get any of the birdie putts to roll in.”

Jacob knows some of those putts will have to drop Friday if he is going to head to the University of Idaho this fall as the B.C. Junior Boys champion. “The game plan doesn’t change a whole lot,” he said. “I just have to hit fairways and greens and hopefully roll in a few more putts. Tomorrow will be about trying to avoid the big numbers.”

Leo Harper of Burnaby shot a one-under 70 Thursday and is alone in fourth place at five-over par. The tournament also includes a two-man best-ball competition. The Kelowna team of Matt Hopley and Justin Towill lead with a three-round score of 19-under. The team of Crisologo and Dylan Bercan of Vancouver are four shots back in second place.

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CHIP SHOT: The top three players after Friday’s final round will represent British Columbia in the inter-provincial team event at the Canadian Junior Boys Championship, which goes Aug. 12-15 in Hartland, N.B.