CAVENDISH — Brett McKinnon rode a “great” start to another CN Future Links Atlantic golf championship Thursday.
The Glace Bay, N.S., resident birdied the first hole and went on to shoot a 1-under par 71 for his fourth Future Links title. The quick start was important for the 2012 Nova Scotia junior boys’ champion.
“It got rid of the nerves. . . . I just kind of cruised the rest of the day,” the 18-year-old said following the award presentation.
McKinnon, who is headed into his sophomore year at Jacksonville University, also birdied the seventh and ninth holes while bogeying the fifth and 16th.
He finished the three-day competition with a 3-under 213, beating Blair Bursey, of Gander, N.L., who finished second with a three-round total of even-par 216.
“This is a great venue and a great way to end my junior career,” McKinnon said. “To have my second (junior title) just makes it even that more special.”
McKinnon, who won the event’s junior boys’ division in 2010 in Baddeck, N.S., and earned bantam titles in 2006 and 2007, is looking forward to nationals in Bridgewater, N.S., from July 30 to Aug. 3. He has been there twice before but never made the cut.
“I’m really excited about it,” said McKinnon. “I’ve been there twice now, and I understand what the championship is all about. Playing with some of the best players in college golf, I’ve learned that I just need to play my own game out there.”
Also qualifying for nationals were Bursey, Andrew Reid of Cole Harbour, N.S., Bradford Curren of Hammonds Plains, N.S., Myles Creighton of Digby, N.S., and Alex Feltmate of Fletcher’s Lake, N.S.
Bursey was pleased with his three rounds.
“It feels good because, truthfully, I wasn’t hitting the ball my best this week,” said the Newfoundland and Labrador junior champion, who also shot a 71 Thursday.
“To know I can come close on a pretty big stage without my A game does a lot for my confidence.”
North Milton’s Brodie Ward was the top Islander.
Ward finished in seventh place with a three-round total of 3-over par 219. (See story on B2).
Stratford’s Quinton Gorman also made the top-10, finishing tied with Fredericton’s Kyle Blacquier with a 4-over 220. Gorman shot a 74 Thursday after two 73s.
Stanhope’s Luke Allen got off to a tough start Thursday with a triple-bogey on No. 2 but didn’t let it keep him down. He birdied the third, sixth and seven holes to get back to even after the front nine. He was 2-under on the back for a 70, giving him a three-round total of 7-over 223 and a tie for 15th place.
“It was good to get the 70 today,” he said.
Tignish’s Tyson Gavin shot a 3-over 75 Thursday after 77s on the first two days.
“I just made more five-foot putts,” he said. “I had a lot more confidence today, just went out and had fun.”
The following are the top-five finishes from the three-day CN Future Links Atlantic golf championship:
1. Brett McKinnon, Glace Bay, NS, 72-70-71-213 -3
2. Blair Bursey, Gander, NL, 72-73-71-216 E
3. Andrew Reid, Cole Harbour, NS, 74-73-70-217 +1
3. Bradford Curren, Hammonds Plains, NS, 72-73-72-217 +1
5. Myles Creighton, Digby, NS, 69-73-76-218 +2
5. Alex Feltmate, Fletcher's Lake, NS, 70-75-73-218 +2