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British Columbia Golf  – In A Battle Of Brothers, The Elder Held Of His Younger Sibling On Final Hole

Squamish, BC, July 7, 2017 – Christian Zalli held off the challenge by his little brother, Ilirian, to win the B.C. Junior Boys Championship at Squamish Valley Golf & Country Club on Friday.

It came down to the final hole when Christian and Ilirian stepped up to the 18th tee late Friday afternoon tied for the lead knowing one of them was going to walk away disappointed.

Christian won it with a par on the 18th hole after Ilirian overshot the green with his approach and could not get it up and down to force a playoff. When it was over, Christian, 18, gave his 15-year-old brother a hug. 

“He is a competitive guy, he’s going to be a little bit upset now,” Christian said. “But he will get over it. He’s a young kid, he’s really good. I told him, don’t worry about it. I don’t want him to feel like it’s the end of the world.

He is a very good player. He has a lot of road to go. He is going to be back in this position, maybe even on a bigger stage. I am excited for him. He will realize it on the car ride home. He will be sad and then he will get over it.”

Christian began Friday’s final round with a three-shot lead, but that had been cut to a single shot just four holes into the round. Initially, it was Victoria teen Nolan Thoroughgood who made a run at the lead. Christian bogeyed three of his first four holes to fall back to four-under and Thoroughgood, the reigning B.C. Amateur champion, birdied the third hole to move to three-under.

They stayed just one shot apart through six holes, but Thoroughgood played the next five holes seven over par to drop out of contention. Then it was Ilirian’s chance to make a run at his brother. He finally caught him on the par 5 17th, when he made birdie and Christian registered a bogey.

That made for a tense 18th hole. Both players hit solid drives. Christian’s approach landed about 15 feet behind the flag. Then Ilirian stepped up and flew his shot over the back of the green.“It was a sand wedge,” Ilirian said. “I think the wind caught it. It shouldn’t have gone that far.”

Ilirian’s chip then hit a lone tree branch and dropped short of the fringe. He ended up making double-bogey to fall into a tie for second place at two-under par with Victoria’s Keaton Gudz. “I did the best I could, especially on the back nine,” said Ilirian, last year’s B.C. Bantam Boys champion.

Christian, who just graduated from David Thompson Secondary, won with a 72-hole score of four-under par. He fired a three-over 75 on Friday.

Christian is on his way to UBC this fall, but has no plans to play collegiate golf. Instead, he plans to focus solely on his studies. “I have thought long and hard abut this,” he said. “It’s a decision that took a long time to make. I am a good player, but I am not good enough to be a pro. If you’re going to go to college to play golf you are expecting to go pro.”

Gudz, the 2014 B.C. Junior champion, fired the low round on what was a very windy day at Squamish — a three-under 69 — to grab a share of second place.He will join the Zalli brothers and represent British Columbia at the Canadian Junior Boys Championship, which goes July 31-Aug. 3 in Kingston, Ont. 

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Next year’s B.C. Junior Boys Championship will be played at Kamloops Golf & Country Club.

About British Columbia Golf

British Columbia Golf – a member-based organization governed by the British Columbia Golf Association (BCGA) – is the governing body of amateur golf in British Columbia and functions for the benefit of all golfers in the province. British Columbia Golf fosters and promotes the sport of golf, preserves the traditions and history of the game and provides a leadership role for the sport in British Columbia. Through its affiliation with Golf Canada, British Columbia Golf is also involved in National golf affairs.

British Columbia Golf is recognized by the Government of BC as the official golf association in BC. It provides programs and services that benefit all golfers and the golf industry in the province. We invite you to learn more about British Columbia Golf by clicking here.

Media Contact:

Name: Bryan Outram
Title: Communications Manager
Phone: 778-872-6413
Email address: bryan@britishcolumbiagolf.org