CHARLOTTETOWN – Cody MacKay likes where his game is heading into this weekend’s Island Coastal Amateur Golf Championships at the Summerside Golf Course.
The 23-year-old Warren Grove resident won the Potato Blossom in Mill River on June 22 after finishing second at the Clarke Cup Open in Summerside on June 15 and the Avondale Open on June 8. The two-round amateur championships start Saturday and ends Sunday in Summerside.
“I’ve gotten a little better with each tournament and my finishes have gone up with each one. It feels like I’m kind of peaking at the right time,” MacKay said.
“It was nice to finish first (in Mill River) and I am just looking to continue the trend.”
MacKay’s results this season has him second in the amateur rankings behind Tim Yorke. This weekend’s championships, which are worth twice the points in the standings, are the final stop to determine exemptions for the national amateur and mid-amateur championships.
MacKay has had success recently at the P.E.I. amateur, finishing tied with Connor Shea for fourth last year at Countryview Golf Club and tied for second with Martin O’Brien two years ago at Avondale.
The Belvedere golfer has been consistent, scoring 74 in each of the four rounds the past two years.
“I always look forward to the amateur and they have the Atlantic championship (berth) on the line (this year), so there’s a lot riding on it,” he said.
The inaugural Atlantic Golf Championships will be held at the Bell Bay Golf Club in Baddeck, N.S., Aug. 15 to 17.
P.E.I. will be sending a 20-player contingent covering six divisions. There will be three in each of the following divisions: men and women (under-40) as well as mid-master men and women (40 to 49). Four men from the senior (55 and older) and super senior (70 and older) divisions as well as four women in the senior (50 and older) and super senior (65 and older) divisions will join them.
MacKay’s father, Jason, got him into golf when he was eight years old. He didn’t play tournaments until he was 16.
He has played amateur events for the past five years. Initially, it was tough to follow up a good round, but playing in more tournaments has helped.
“I seem to be a lot more consistent now. It just comes with experience,” he said.
MacKay’s first victory was at Summerside Lobster Carnival two years ago.
“I’ve had some pretty good success there the last couple of years,” he recalled. “I feel really comfortable, especially on the greens.”
The weather could complicate things this weekend with tropical storm Arthur coming up the coast.
“Looking at the forecast, staying patient” will be key, MacKay said. “Not getting too frustrated if you do hit some bad shots and just realize everybody has to play in the same conditions.”
Prince Edward Island Golf Association officials are watching the weather closely and putting together backup plans. Time is not on their side, as it has to have national exemptions in by the middle of the month and golf courses are booked.
“The game plan is to get the tournament in and to get as much golf in as possible,” said executive director Ron MacNeil.
The association has added a section to its website to update players.
The following are recent winners of the P.E.I. men’s amateur golf championships:
2013 – Martin O’Brien
2012 – Greg MacAulay
2011 – Chris Welton
2010 – Anthony Warren
2009 – Anthony Warren
2008 – Anthony Warren
2007 – Matt Matheson
The P.E.I. Golf Association amateur rankings through the first three tournaments:
Tim Yorke 210
Cody MacKay 172.5
Curtis Hall 140
Martin O’Brien 125
Scott Morton 120
Mark McKenna 112.5
Brodie McGregor 105
Jason Campbell 57.5
Kyle Fraser 45
Tommy Schurman 34.17
(Note - This week’s amateur is worth twice the points.)