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Sunday, Jul. 22, 2018
Plexman and Fowke at top of the leaderboard
by Randy Pascal

A pair of new faces graced the winners' circle at the Lively Golf & Country Club Thursday, as Julia Plexman of St Benedict and St Charles junior Alexander Fowke captured their respective SDSSAA golf championships.

Carding a score of 95, Plexman snapped the three year reign of Gracen Lacko of Lo-Ellen, who finished just one shot back at 96. While Plexman, a long-time hockey goalie who shifted to defence a few years back, has been a regular at this tournament, a few months of really working on her game proved handy.

"I played a lot this summer, and took a couple of lessons, so everything is starting to connect now, things are starting to fall into place," she said. "It helped a lot by playing quite a bit this summer."

In particular, the shots she saved in tight to the green were particularly rewarding. "My short game has improved a lot," suggested Plexman. "My chips are getting a lot closer, and instead of just trying to get it on the green, I've actually been able to kind of place my ball and read the green."

Completely unaware of just how close she remained to Lacko over the course of her round, Plexman looked to a couple of key holes as difference makers. "I made a couple of really long putts, which helped," she said.

"The greens were tough, because they were slower with the rain. I kind of just played it safe, overall, really didn't do anything too crazy." It was a similar strategy that paid off for Fowke, as well.

Like Plexman, he would earn a one stroke victory, his score of 74 just barely enough to finish ahead of Dominik Kapustik of Lo-Ellen. "You've got to do a lot of thinking here, off the tee," explained Fowke, who plays the bulk of his summer rounds at the Timberwolf Golf Course.

"There's a lot of clubs that you can hit, a lot of risk-reward shots. Today, I played a little more conservative, I probably only hit five drivers or so. I think you have to be conservative off the tee if you want to score here."

Still, Fowke had to overcome some challenges, early in his round, in order to walk away with the trophy, following back to back first place finishes by Ward Kyle of Lockerby, now attending the IMG Sports Academy in Bradenton, Florida.

"I had a rough start," conceded Fowke. "I think I was five over after five. Then I made a couple of long putts coming down the stretch on the front nine, which helped. I just continued rolling putts on the back nine."

With four to five schools sending their entire boys team to NOSSA, the bulk of an impressive core of young, talented golfers in Sudbury will be right back in Lively on (Monday) October 3rd, with several of those on hand more than capable of unseating either Plexman or Fowke.

Of all of the junior golfers that rose to prominence this summer, only Evan MacLean was missing at the high school championships, having transferred from Collège Notre-Dame to St Charles this year (and therefore required to sit out one year of SDSSAA golf competition).

MacLean shot the second lowest opening round at the 2016 Idylwylde Invitational, following up a 73 on Friday with a first round win over Frank Kucher in championship flight play, before being eliminated by eventual champion Kyle Rank.

Following is a glance at the leaderboard from Thursday for both groupings:

1 - Alexander Fowke (St Charles) - 74
2 - Dominik Kapustik (Lo-Ellen) - 75
3 - Conrad Naponse (St Benedict) - 77
4 - Jordi Walker (St Charles) - 78
5 - Tristan Renaud (Lockerby) - 79
5 - Emmett Taillefer (Lockerby) - 79
5 - Jake Wisniewski (Lockerby) - 79
8 - Erik Roussel (St Benedict) - 82
8 - Justin Karcz (Notre-Dame) - 82
10 - Anthony Zilio (St Benedict) - 83

1 - Julia Plexman (St Benedict) - 95
2 - Gracen Lacko (Lo-Ellen) - 96
3 - Hannah Nykilchyk (Lockerby) - 102
4 - Brianna Whitson (Lasalle) - 118
5 - Dayna Fairwell (Macdonald-Cartier) - 124

The team race also turned out to be one of the better matchups in recent years, with four schools finishing within 11 strokes of one another. The Lockerby Vikings claimed top spot at 321, followed by St Benedict (326), St Charles (328) and Lo-Ellen (332).

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