There are multiple reasons brothers Austin Krahn, 15 and David Krahn, 17 are celebrating their recent successes on the fairways.
Both made history winning gold, Austin the Men’s Gross Division and David the Men’s Net Sableford Division at the inaugural B.C. Indigenous Men’s Championship at Nk’Mip Canyon Desert Golf Course in Oliver, May 28 to 29.
Both brothers competed, representing the Mohawks of Akwesasne. The 36-hole tournament attracted 114 men from across the province, all either Indigenous or Metis, ranging in ages between 14 to 80.
For Austin, his win came down to an 18-foot birdie putt he had to land to break a tie with Cody Bailey of Prince George, who had a 10-foot birdie putt. Austin explained he felt he hit the ball too hard, but the ball snapped and went right to the middle of the hole. If he had been off in his trajectory, it would’ve gone past.
He closed with a one-under 71 to finish the tournament at one-over par.
He’s hit countless putts like it, he explained, but knew he had to make it. He took his time reading the putt, including the distance to the hole, terrain and even wind.
To face what looks like a high-pressure shot was daunting, but Austin said he prepares mentally for moments like that remembering he hits thousands of balls every week.
“You have to remember it’s the same golf swing you’ve done before,” he said. “So I have to remember it’s no different just because it’s in a high-pressure situation than it was on the range.”
To win a golf tournament solely geared towards Indigenous and Metis people has been a great honour for Austin and David, but he brought the keep it fun mentality with him to stay focused on the game he’s grown up with.
The tournament itself was a relaxed one, Austin said, with it being one of the more relaxed atmospheres he’s played in.
“I was so happy and everyone was enjoying themselves,” he said. “It really means a lot for this tournament to be in B.C. and for the recognition it deserves.”
Austin added he’s happy his historic win is bringing some recognition to the tournament. Historic because of his age and the first-of-its-kind nature of the tournament.
David said he also kept a relaxed mentality. He couldn’t really describe his entire process, but said at some point during play, he got into a groove and was hitting all his shots perfectly.
“There’s a point that when you get on the green and you hit that iron, you know it’s going to go in,” he said.
That doesn’t mean he wasn’t being challenged, he said. The hardest aspect was his chipping, which he said he had to get a lot of down shots. On day two alone he sank 22 putts on 18 holes, which meant he had to putt more than once on three holes to make the shot.
He racked up a score of 86 on day one, and a 75 on day two.
The best part for him was winning with his younger brother, standing up at the awards ceremony and both of them getting their gold medals at the same time.
The brothers, along with Mitchell, David’s twin, were literally born into golf. Their parents own Cascade Par 3 Golf Course in Christina Lake and have been playing most of their lives.
Their win is an enormous source of pride for their family, said father Gene Krahn. Their grandmother, who is the source of their Indigenous heritage, was at the tournament and watched as they played and celebrated with them at the awards ceremony.
The winning continues for Austin. He also won the Maple Leaf Junior Tournament at Pitt Meadows the weekend of June 3.