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Tuesday, Jul. 17, 2018
A Humber Cup triumph for Johnny Svalina and partner
by Randy Pascal

Add another name to the list of young Sudbury based golf talent that is enjoying a very memorable summer of 2017.

Partnered with Matthew Lyons from Aurora, Johnny Svalina (Idylwylde) captured top spot at the Ontario Tours Championship Humber Cup (U13 Division) in late August.

In fact, heading into day three of the multi-format team event trailing the leaders by six strokes, the tandem representing the Bags Junior Tour rallied to win by two, led by a round of 77 from Svalina, enough to secure first place in the individual catergory as well.

Following a practice round on day one at the Oakridge Golf Course, all five teams opened with a round of "best ball", as Sammy Rootes and Isaiah Ellis (Niagara District Junior Golf Tour) showed the way with a score of even par 71.

Svalina and Lyons were tied for second, carding a 73, matching the round of the Play Junior Golf Tour pairing of Ashton Proulx and Cameron Colbran.

The afternoon "alternate shot" competition produced very similar results, with Rootes and Ellis in first (77), followed by Svalina and Lyons (80), while Proulx and Colbran struggled.

The saving grace came on Friday, as Svalina nabbed individual bragging rights, beating Cal Uens (St Lawrence Junior Golf Tour - 78) by one and Colbran by a pair. More importantly, he was four shots better than Rootes (81), with Lyons (80) duplicated that exact same margin of victory over Ellis (84).

The overall aggregate math would read Svalina/Lyons at 311, followed by Rootes/Ellis at 313. The key, said Svalina, comes from his short game, a skill-set that he shares the praise with another athletic pursuit. "I've always played hockey, so everyone said I had good hands, a nice short game," noted the talkative twelve year old.

"Before every shot, I envision where I want to ball to land, how much I want it to run out, and the speed. I don't think I'm going to hole every shot, so I position myself for where I want to be with the next shot."

Svalina is just the latest in the line of mostly teens on the Sudbury golf scene who are making waves right across the province, an environment where success can lead to more success. "I look up to Tristan (Renaud), Evan (MacLean) and those guys, I've learned a lot from them," said Svalina.

This marked the second consecutive year that Svalina has donned the colours of the Bags Tour at the season-ending event. "I qualified last year, but didn't play my best golf," he acknowledged. "This year, I was one of the older kids, and our preparation was really good."

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