Over the course of a scorching two-week stretch on the Maple Leaf Junior Golf Tour, Jake Scarrow proved he can win in a variety of ways.
On the weekend of Aug. 11-12 at Vernon’s Predator Ridge Golf Resort, Scarrow crushed a field of competitors from across Western Canada, winning by five strokes. He opened the two-day tourney with a one-over-par 72, which tied him for the lead, but he pulled away in the final round with a fantastic five-under 66.
The following week at Hazelmere Golf Club in Surrey, the 17-year-old showed he can come through in clutch situations as well as win via blowout. After carding rounds of 70 and 75, he found himself in a three-way playoff with Marcus Brown of Surrey and Nick Krystal of Port Moody. Scarrow drained a crucial 15-foot par putt on the second playoff hole to stay alive, then pulled out the victory on the fourth playoff hole.
The Predator Ridge and Hazelmere events were Scarrow’s first two wins on the Maple Leaf Junior Tour.
“It was an exciting couple weeks, for sure,” said Scarrow, who is going into Grade 12 at Hatzic Secondary.
“It means a lot. It gives you a different mindset going into other tournaments – you know you can do it. . . . You definitely have more confidence.”
Scarrow’s summer has also included a solid T7 performance at the B.C. Junior Boys Championship, where he closed with a bogey-free three-under 69 to climb the leaderboard on the final day. He also missed the cut at the Canadian Junior Championship, but his run of success on the Maple Leaf Junior Tour is evidence he’s back on track.
Scarrow has always been long off the tee – he can bash the ball about 300 yards – but it’s his putting improvements that have powered his recent surge. He attributes that to a lot of hard work with Matt Palsenbarg, his coach at Northview Golf and Country Club in Surrey, and a lot of solitary practice.
“In the winter, I’m in my bedroom putting on my carpet,” he said with a chuckle. “I’m only putting 10 feet, maximum, just over and over again.
“Sometimes I put a Sharpie on the ground and just putt to the Sharpie.”
All that practice has yielded a great comfort level on midrange putts of 10 to 25 feet.
“Every putt I look at in that range, I expect to make, or can see the ball rolling in,” he said. “Whereas before, I was hoping to two-putt.
“Confidence on the greens is really everything in this game.”
The ultimate goal for Scarrow is to earn a golf scholarship to an NCAA school in the U.S. He recently visited the University of Idaho, and returned with a scholarship offer in hand.
“The earliest I can officially sign is November, and that would be the best-case scenario for me right now,” he said.