Isaac MacNaughton looks forward to playing U.S. junior college golf. First, though, he'll focus on a tournament closer to home.
MacNaughton, 18, will compete for Nova Scotia at the Canadian junior golf championship Aug. 12 to 15 at the 6,609-yard, par-72 Covered Bridge Golf and Country Club in Hartland, N.B. Shortly after, he will head south to Garden City Community College in Kansas, where he’ll play two years of junior college golf as a member of the Garden City Broncbusters.
“I am pretty excited, but there’s still a lot for me to do before I can make it down there,” said MacNaughton, who graduated from Cobequid Educational Centre this past spring.
MacNaughton, who lives in Truro, said he’s been playing well this season, hitting more greens and making more putts than ever before. That was on display during the final 18 holes of the provincial junior championship last month at Truro Golf Club, where he fired the low round of the day – a 1-over 72 – to finish third and secure his place on Team Nova Scotia.
MacNaughton’s Truro clubmate, Owen Mullen, who finished second at provincials (losing a three-hole playoff), will also compete at nationals for Nova Scotia in the inter-provincial team event, which will be contested over the first 36 holes of the tournament.
“It’s really good for the club,” said MacNaughton. “Our professional staff at the club is really excited for us and they’ve been helping us out a lot, so we can credit them for our success.”
The three-man Nova Scotia team also includes provincial champion Mark Chandler of Chester.
This year’s national championship will be MacNaughton’s second, after playing last summer in Medicine Hat, Alta., as final alternate in the field.
In mid-July, MacNaughton played in the 54-hole Atlantic junior championship at Covered Bridge, finishing tied for 17th. And while he didn’t achieve the desired result, he knows where he made mistakes and where he can clean up his game to shoot lower scores. He said the course is pretty wide open and most of the par-4s are relatively short, which suits his game well.
“I don’t have to hit driver on a lot of them … I can just hit a three-wood straight down the middle and have a wedge into the green, and since I love hitting my three-wood that’s the kind of course I like playing, so it sets up for me pretty well.”
MacNaughton’s junior college offer from Garden State came about a month ago after the team’s coach reviewed his profile, including scores and grades, on a recruiting website. MacNaughton will attend on a half-scholarship, and will work towards a Bachelor of Education degree to become a teacher.
Did you know?
Isaac starred for the CEC Cougars boys volleyball team in high school as a libero, and helped the Cougars win Nova Scotia School Athletic Federation Division 1 titles in 2017 and 2018.