SURREY — They may be relatively new to Surrey, but the Bjornson brothers sure aren’t new to golf courses.
Bailey, 13, and Justin, 10, have been teeing it up since they were old enough to walk.
They played a lot of courses in their native Winnipeg before the family moved to the Cloverdale area last summer.
Since then, the boys have stormed the B.C. golf scene with an impressive number of wins and top-three finishes at Maple Leaf Junior tournaments.
Bailey has six MJT tourney wins since 2014, and Justin has three on the Mini Tour circuit this year alone, in the Atom Boys division.
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Proud parents Tyler and Pam got their boys started when they were each two years old.
“Back in Manitoba there were a lot of parents hanging around the hockey rinks, but I always thought hanging around a golf course was better,” Tyler said.
“So I put clubs in their hands and introduced them to the game, and they just latched on to it. I can’t take those clubs away now,” he added with a laugh.
The brothers, students at Pacific Academy, practice at the LAB golf academy at the Northview course in Surrey.
“They boy have a really strong work ethic and a lot of discipline,” coach Matt Palsenbarg told the Now. “They have their game face and they’re focused. Usually you don’t see those qualities in a player until they’re 18 or 19 (years of age), but they have it. They’re very mature for a young age, and that does them well. They understand the game, too.”
Bailey’s most recent MJT tournament win was at Vancouver’s Musqueam course in July, as a Peewee player. He then turned Bantam age and earned a pair of third-place finishes events held at Northview and Hazelmere.
In late August, Justin torched the par-70 course at Tsawwassen Springs with scores of 68 and 66 – from the gold tees – to win the Atom Boys division of the inaugural MJT Mini Tour National Championship. His two-day tally of 134 topped that of his nearest competitor by six strokes.
Last weekend at The Olympic Club, near San Francisco, Justin nearly scored a ticket to next spring’s Masters tournament in Augusta, Georgia, as a regional winner of the national Drive, Chip and Putt skills contest for young golfers.
“He pulled off a second-place finish,” dad Tyler said Tuesday. “The putt that would have won it for him lipped out, and if it would have dropped, he’d have had it, he would have gone to the Masters.”
The contest involves three drives, three chips and three putts.
“He’s the first alternate, so if the other little guy doesn’t go, Justin is next in line,” Tyler added. “It was a great experience, and he can enter again next year, and even a couple years after that, too.”
Not surprisingly, both Justin and Bailey are aiming to play as pros one day – perhaps alongside their current favourite PGA golfers Rickie Fowler (Bailey’s pick) and Justin Rose (Justin’s fave, naturally).
Right now, Bailey can crank a golf ball close to 290 yards with a driver, while Justin is closer to around 250 with a solid hit.
“It’s a progression through stages,” Tyler said of his sons’ burgeoning careers in golf. “Some golfers are late bloomers, and some make it, some don’t. We know that, and see that sometimes. Of course we hope they make it, because it’s what they want.”