The 17-year-old Shaunavon golfer turned in a dominating performance at the provincial junior men’s championship in Nipawin (July 14-16) to capture the title.
Corey finished the event with a three-under par total of 213 over the three days to post a seven shot victory over second place finisher Roman Timmerman of Saskatoon (220) Prince Albert’s Cory Selander was third with a 222 total. All three golfers earned a spot on the provincial team and will represent Saskatchewan at the Canadian championships in Niagra Falls, Ont. later this month.
It was Corey’s first provincial title. It is also believed to be the community’s first provincial golf title of any kind.
“It was incredible – a great experience,” said Corey after returning home.
“It was also a little surreal – it’s really just starting to sink in now,” he added.
Corey led the tournament from start to finish and posted the low scores on both the first (70) and second day (72) of the event. He finished things off with another strong round, 71, on the final day.
“I just played without nerves,” he stated. “I just tried to go out and make birdies and settle for pars. I played my own game and didn’t worry too much about what anyone else was doing.”
Corey had already qualified for the national championships after earning a sixth place finish at the CN Future Links Prairie Championship at Shilo, Manitoba in June.
But now, after winning the provincial championship, he will have his trip paid for as a member of the Saskatchewan junior men’s team.
Corey entered the final round of the provincial tournament with a three shot lead over Tyrin Foley from Bengough.
Although Foley ultimately finished the event in fourth place overall, he actually provided the biggest obstacle to Corey’s provincial title aspirations.
Corey started his final round with a birdie on the opening hole and followed that up with another birdie on the third hole.
However, he hooked his tee shot into the trees on the fourth hole and eventually made a double bogey. A birdie by Foley on the same hole narrowed the gap between first and second to just one shot.
Corey restored his advantage with back-to-back birdies on the sixth and seventh holes, and just missed another birdie chance on the eighth.
He finished the front nine with four birdies and posted a 2 under score of 34. That left him with a four shot cushion at the turn and no one ever got any closer from that point.
Foley, meanwhile, struggled on the backside, shooting 8 over par (44), including a triple bogey on the 16th and a double bogey on the 18th.
In fact, by the time Corey got to the 18th tee box he had a seven shot lead.
He played his approach shot on the last hole to about 25 feet from the cup, then promptly blasted his first putt more than 12 feet past the hole.
“I think I just had so much adrenaline pumping at that point that I just hit it too hard,” he said of his three-putt bogey on the final hole.
“I stayed aggressive on the back nine, even though I probably shouldn’t have been that aggressive,” laughed Corey. “But I was just swinging really well all week. I didn’t feel like I could miss.”
“And I felt like I had a chance to make every putt.”
Corey established himself early on as a tournament favourite. His solid ball striking was a real advantage on the tight fairways and tree-lined holes at Nipawin.
Corey also entered this year’s championships with a different approach from past events.
“I think because I already had a place at nationals I just wanted to win,” he stated. “I wasn’t just hoping to get a spot on the team.”
Corey is off this week to the provincial men’s championships in Prince Albert.
He will fly out of Saskatoon this Saturday with his junior teammates for the national tournament. The group will play two or three practice rounds before the start of the Canadian junior championships on Tuesday, July 29.
Corey also qualified for the national championships in Nova Scotia in 2012 after finishing fifth at provincials that year.
Corey, who is coached by Swift Current professional Jeff Chambers, played in his first provincial junior championships in 2010. Then just 13 years old, Chambers spotted the promising youngster on the driving range at the Rock Creek Golf Club during a teaching clinic.
Corey extended his sincere appreciation to everyone in the area for their support.
“I really want to thank everyone for all the support I’ve received,” he stated. “I really appreciate all the people who have been behind me and I will do my best (at nationals).”
“Hopefully, I can play well and we’ll see where that takes me.”
Corey wasn’t the only local golfer to enjoy a strong performance at the Saskatchewan junior championships.
Kirk Humphrey of Eastend also played extremely well at the tournament. He opened the event with scores of 75 and 78, which placed him seventh overall heading to the final round.
However, a couple of bad holes on the third day, including back-to-back double bogeys on the seventh and eight holes and a triple on the 14th, pushed his final tally to an 85. He finished in a tie for 18th.
Kirk, who is 16 years old, was playing in just his second provincial championships.
Hannah MacNeil of the Rock Creek Golf Club in Shaunavon, meanwhile, was playing in her first big tournament of any kind. The 15-year-old finished in sixth place overall in the junior women’s division after posting scores of 107, 96 and 105.