CANMORE – Canmore golfer Ronan Steel knew he was looking good after his first drive of the day.
The Grade 12 student from Our Lady of the Snows had been working on his swing in preparation for the South Central Zones golf tournament in Turner Valley on Sept. 21. It paid off for the 17-year-old who won the tournament and advances to provincials set to go down in spring 2022.
"That was kind of my first proper win in a tournament this summer and first tournament I've won ever, which is very exciting," said Steel. "I was just kind of going through the process of what I went through in the summer and how I practice with my coach and just the journey I went through to get to that moment."
Steel shot 76 (+4), which was good enough to be way out in the lead by five strokes amongst the 80-competitor field.
Introduced to golf at an early age, Steel just started competing a few years ago. He said his confidence boosted early on when he teed-off at the first hole. Able to hammer the ball 280 yards on average, Steel let one fly on the par-three where it dropped and rolled just four feet from the hole.
"The week before, I worked hard on my full swing, which were my irons and my driver, which I thought really helped me toward winning, especially the first tee shot," said Steel.
On the day, Steel helped his cause with three birdies and one eagle.
The big win at zones punches Steel's ticket to provincials, with a date and location still to be determined.
"For me, it's best to have no expectations and just go out there for fun. I think I did that really well for zones this year," said Steel. "I didn't think about what I was going to shoot or what I needed to do, I was just out there for some fun. This winter, I have a net set up in the basement and hitting tons of balls everyday. My coach helps me once a week, so that's nice of him."
Also competing at zones were the Canmore Wolverines and Banff Bears teams. The Wolverines' female team won silver at zones. The team consisted of Benedikte Toender Nikolajsen, Kirsten Lyon, Mila Tressider, and Rien Solodan.
Wolverine Tristan Dotchin finished fifth overall at zones, and if players who finished ahead of him are unable to attend provincials in spring, the local golfer might have the opportunity to be called in.
The Bear Bears sent full male and female teams to zones. The school's top golfer, Brio Hempstead, injured her arm and pulled out of the competition.