BROOKFIELD – Cody Locke was in tough in his first Nova Scotia junior golf championship.
Having just moved up from the midget ranks, the switch to a 72-hole event against the best under-18’s in the province was quite a leap.
But five years has since passed, and the 18-year-old Brookfield resident is ready to put his experience to good use as the 2012 edition of the tournament tees off today at Abercrombie Country Club in New Glasgow.
“You just have to be patient and not rush yourself and stay calm,” Locke said Sunday at Brookfield Golf and Country Club after finishing a round. “You can’t get too ahead of yourself.”
Locke is one of eight Colchester County golfers vying for the title, won for the past two years by Truro’s Eric Banks. Evan Starratt, Andrew Murphy, Keith Legge, Matthew Fultz and Brock Dewar will all be competing out of Truro Golf Club while Riverrun’s Craig McCallum and Debert’s Devin Atkinson round out the Colchester contingent.
After finishing 10th at the 2010 championship at Brightwood Golf and Country Club in Dartmouth, Locke slipped to the mid 20s last year. Now he’s hungry to finish his junior eligibility with another top-10 finish.
“I don’t really think I’ll be that nervous like I was the first time I played,” he said. “You just have to be nice and smooth and have a clear mind.”
Although he hasn’t played as much this season as he has in past years, deciding to put his final days of high school and his subsequent graduation before golf, Locke has been on the course steady for the past two weeks and feels his game is in good shape.
“It’s starting to come around so I feel pretty good,” he said.
It doesn’t hurt the event is being played on the 6,052-yard, par 71 layout, a course he enjoys.
“It’s really difficult and challenging so it’s fun to play,” Locke said. “It’s tight and hard. It has big greens too so it’s tough to putt.”
Still, with players like Brightwood’s Matt Gallupe, fresh off a third-place finish in the provincial amateur, Locke knows it’ll be a tough field.
“There’s a lot of good golfers,” he said. “It’s tough to win one, that’s for sure.”