Austin Krahn Rides Hot Putter To B.C. Junior Boys Title

By Brad Ziemer, British Columbia Golf

KELOWNA, B.C. (July 5, 2024) - Austin Krahn won the B.C. Junior Boys Championship and for that he can thank his putter.

The 16-year-old Christina Lake resident made one clutch putt after another in the final round at Gallagher’s Canyon Golf & Country Club and emerged with a hard-fought two-stroke victory over Ryan Vest of Vernon.

“The putter was really good today,” Krahn said. “I can’t think of one putt that I hit poorly today. It was just perfect all day long.”

Krahn showed plenty of grit as he battled back from a rocky start to win his second British Columbia Golf Championship of the season. He successfully defended his B.C. Indigenous Championship this spring at University Golf Club in Vancouver.

It’s not always birdies that win golf tournaments. Krahn made lots of those at Gallagher’s, but when he reflects on his win he’ll most definitely also think about the great bogey he made on the par 3 third hole. After bogeying the first hole and parring the second, Krahn pulled his seven-iron on the par 3 third and his ball ended up in the deep gully that fronts the green. He had an iffy lie on top of a bush and debated taking a drop.

“I decided to hit it, and got it out onto the green, but it was a tough putt and I made a good two-putt for a great bogey. If I didn’t get it out of that bush it could have easily compounded into a double or triple and really set me back. I was tied at that point and I said to myself it was time to get at it and start making some birdies.”

He and Vest were tied after eight holes, but Krahn took control with birdies on the back-to-back par 5s, holes nine and 10. “I played both of those holes really well,” Krahn said. “I hit good tee shots and good approaches. On 10 I had about a 15-foot eagle putt which I missed, but a tap-in birdie is always good.”

Vest, meanwhile, settled for par on both of those par 5s. That gave Krahn a two-shot lead, which he hung onto the rest of way thanks to some great scrambling pars. Vest has now finished second in three straight B.C. Juniors. “It is starting to really frustrate me,” Vest said. “I felt like I could have done it today. But Austin pretty much made every putt. Congratulations to him. He had a great week.

“My second shot on nine was one of the worst iron shots I hit all week. I put it to like 90 feet and three-putted. That really frustrated me. And then on 10 I had 200 yards from the middle of the fairway and made par. You kind of need birdies if you are going to win and I didn’t do that today.”

Krahn finished the 72-hole event at 11-under par. He and Vest both closed with three-under 69s. He acknowledged that this win feels different than his two victories at the Indigenous Championship. “I would say the Indigenous event is one of the most fun tournaments of the year,” Krahn said. “This for me is probably one of the most competitive. There are a lot of people here striving to win, a lot of really, really good players. So it feels good to play well all four rounds this week and come out on top. It feels really good.”

Up until now, Krahn hasn’t had much contact with universities looking to add him to their programs. That’s likely to change after this win. “I think it’s going to be huge because it shows that you can play well under pressure,” he said. “I think that is one of the important things that people are looking for. Yeah, sure you can shoot 66, but when it comes down to it can you play well under pressure and hit shots. I think I did that pretty well today. It builds a lot of confidence especially heading into the B.C. Amateur.”

Team B.C. coach Conner Kozak was not surprised to see Krahn play well at Gallagher’s, which was in mint condition. “I thought his game fit Gallagher’s Canyon very well,” Kozak said. “He is very consistent. His misses aren’t very bad. He keeps the ball in play and from there is he is able to attack pins. And with his short game, there really aren’t any weaknesses in his game. The last 10 or 12 holes today he was like lights out with the putter. It seemed like any time there was a chance that Ryan could gain a stroke here or there, he was just rock solid.”

Krahn, Vest and Nanaimo’s Manpreet Lalh, who finished third at two-under, will represent British Columbia in the inter-provincial team competition at the Canadian Junior Boys Championship, which goes Aug. 13-16 in Innisfail. Alta. Lalh, who fired a solid two-under 70 to claim the third spot on the B.C. team, is delighted about representing his province at the Canadian championships. “Very honestly this means quite a bit because I am now not going there just for myself, I am also representing B.C.,” Lalh said.

A 72-hole better-ball competition was also contested at Gallagher’s. The winning team of Ryan Vest and DJ Crowe of Armstrong won with a score of 22-under. That was one shot better than the second-place team of Matthew Wilson of Nanaimo and Jagre Knight of Lantzville.

Click HERE for complete final scoring.