Victoria’s Cindy Koira jumps to front at B.C. junior girls golf championship

Cindy Koira, who plays out of Victoria Golf Club and Gorge Vale, continued showing why she is a player to watch.

Koira, who last month finished her Grade 11 year at Stelly’s Secondary, was the leader after two rounds Wednesday at the B.C. junior girls’ championship being played at Fairwinds Golf Club in Nanoose Bay.

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The rising Saanich Peninsula golfer held a three-stroke lead at 5-over 147 following opening rounds of 73 and 74. The final two rounds are today and Friday.

Angela Arora of Beach Grove in Tsawwassen was second at 8-over 150 and Katherine Hao of Fraserview third at 11-over 153 as Fairwinds proved stubborn and difficult.

Koira was 2-under after 12 holes Wednesday but the course got the better of everybody, even the leader.

“I was not happy with the way the round ended,” said Koira.

“I was getting a little tired. I hope to play better [today] and under par.”

Lana Rummel of Gorge Vale was tied for 18th at 167.

Koira advanced to the provincials by beating two-time defending champion Akari Hayashi of Uplands by four strokes in the two-day Zone 5 championship played at Cedar Hill and Victoria clubs last month. Koira completed rounds of 69 and 75 to defeat Hayashi.

Koira, coached by her yoga-studio owner dad Ravi Koira, is now getting closer to the next goal with her home-Island performance this week at Fairwinds. The top-three finishers in the provincial tournament will comprise the B.C. team at the Canadian junior championship July 29 to Aug. 2 in Lethbridge, Alta.

Koira placed 19th individually last year at the junior nationals. But that was just the appetizer and she is targeting a big-time leap this year.

“Overall, I’ve improved over the last year,” said the 16-year-old, who won the Junior Vikes Tour last year, and was sixth two years ago in the 13-14 age-class Euro juniors in Scotland and played in the world juniors in Pinehurst, North Carolina.

The B.C. junior boys’ championship is also taking place at Fairwinds. Brycen Ko of Shaughnessy was leading through two rounds at 1-under 141. It was the lone under-par score recorded by either the boys or girls as Fairwinds took the measure of these young aspirants, who are looking forward to big things in the game, whether through U Sports or the NCAA, with dreams of being en route to pro golf.

First-round boys’ leader, Fort Langley golfer Jackson Jacob of Northview, shot a second-round 72 after his Tuesday 70 and was at even-par 142. Michael Crisologo of Marine Drive was third at 3-over 145.

Richard Zhang of Cordova Bay and Jackson Rothwell of Victoria Club were tied for 14th with 8-over 150s and Daniel Bennett of Victoria Club, Eli Greene of Nanaimo and Conor Watson of Cordova Bay were tied for 19th at plus-10 152 in the field of 114.

The top-three will be on the B.C. team to the 2019 Canadian boys’ junior championship Aug. 12-15 in Hartland, New Brunswick.

cdheensaw@timescolonist.com

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