Jackson Rothwell Rides Hot Front Nine To 3rd Round Lead At B.C. Amateur Championship

Jackson Rothwell Will Take A One Shot Lead Into The Final Round Of The 2019 B.C. Amateur At Big Sky GC In Pemberton - Image Credit Bryan Outram/BC Golf

By Brad Ziemer, British Columbia Golf

PEMBERTON -- Jackson Rothwell blitzed the front nine at Big Sky Golf Club, had to scramble on the back nine and emerged with a one-shot lead after Thursday’s third round of the 117th B.C. Amateur Championship. “It was a bit of a roller-coaster,” the 18-year-old from Victoria said. “The front nine was spectacular. The back nine was tough.”

Rothwell ended up with a four-under 68 that left him at nine-under par through 54 holes. Isaac Lee of Pitt Meadows is one shot back. Rothwell had a magical streak of four holes on his front nine starting at the par 5 fourth hole. He went birdie, birdie, eagle, birdie and did not have to sink a putt longer than five feet.

The eagle came on the par 4 sixth hole, where the tees had been moved up to allow the big hitters to have a crack at the green. Rothwell, who hits it a mile, put a 3-wood about three feet from the hole. “I had the wedges going and then I hit this great 3-wood on No. 6 to just a couple of feet for eagle,” he said. “It was quite good. I had it going there for a while.”

Rothwell just finished Grade 12 at St. Michael’s University school and is off to Babson College in Boston to play collegiate golf this fall. He made the turn in 31 and by the time he was through 13 holes, Rothwell had a four-shot lead on the field. But he sprayed some drives that cost him a couple of bogeys on the 14th and 18th holes. If not for a pair of big par-saving putts on the 15th and 17th holes, he might have surrendered the lead to Lee.

“I had to make a couple of putts down the stretch to kind of keep it together,” Rothwell said. “Those putts on 15 and 17 were both in the 10-foot range. It is nice to be making those, but I can’t just be relying on my putting tomorrow.” Rothwell headed straight to the driving range after his round. “I am going to put in some work on the range right now and work on my driver. I’m just struggling with the stick right now.”

While Rothwell was struggling on the closing holes, Lee started making birdies. He almost holed a wedge on the 15th before tapping in for birdie and then rolled in a 25-foot putt for birdie on the par 3 17th. When Rothwell bogeyed the par 5 18th hole, the gap had been closed to a single stroke.

image credit Bryan Outram/BC Golf

Isaac Lee Is Just One Back Of Leader Jackson Rothwell After His 3rd Round 69

“I hit good shots on the back nine starting on 15,” said Lee, who is heading into his sophomore year at Simon Fraser University. “It was good to close the gap. I was thinking I was losing touch on the front nine. My game is feeling really solid. I am just one shot back, so I just have to stay patient.” Lee fired a three-under 69 Thursday to get to eight-under overall.

Tony Gil of Vaughan, Ont. is alone in third place at four-under par after shooting an even-par 72 on Thursday. Cooper Humphreys, a 14-year-old from Kelowna, is fourth at three-under par. Humphreys shot a two-under 70 on Thursday.

The top three players after Friday’s final round will represent British Columbia in the inter-provincial Willingdon Cup team competition at the Canadian Men’s Amateur Championship, which goes Aug. 5-8 at Glen Arbour Golf Course & The Links at Brunello in Hammonds Plains, N.S.

The B.C. Amateur also includes a two-man best-ball competition. The team of Mike Aizawa and Zaahidali Nathu, both of Richmond, lead at 19-under. Wyatt Brook of Williams Lake and partner Alexander Webber of Saanich are one shot back at 18-under.

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