Kelowna's John Mlikotic claimed the Ogopogo Invitational for the first time

Mlikotic takes Ogopogo title

Kelowna Golf and Country Club member shoots 68 in final round at home course

John Mlikotic once again found the home track very much to his liking.

The 22-year-old Kelowna Golf and Country Club member carded a final four-under par 68 Saturday to win the Ogopogo Invitational by two strokes over fellow club member Matt Palahniuk.

Mlikotic, who was a shot off the lead after two rounds, birdied the last two holes to finish the three-day tourney at 9-under 207.

It was Mlikotic’s fifth tournament win over the years at his home course, but his first at the prestigious Ogopogo.

“It’s the best I’ve ever played in this tournament,” said Mlikotic who was seventh last year and fourth in 2013. “It’s my home course and a tournament I’ve always wanted to win, so it was nice to get it this year.

“I had full belief that I could play well here, I trusted that I could hit the shots and I had great help from my caddy (Trevor Garafano),” he added.

Palahniuk came in second at 209, Kevin Vigna of Vancouver was third at 210, while Cody Roth from Bellingham was another shot back in fourth at 211.

KGCC’s Lionel Taylor was sixth at 214, while the Harvest’s Keith Martin tied for seventh at 214.

Vigna, Darryl Low of Black Mountain and Chilliwack’s Kerry Grittner tied for low gross at 210.

Meanwhile, Mlikotic is coming off his fourth and final season of NCAA Div. 2 golf with the Simon Fraser Clan.

He had three top-three finishes on the university circuit this past season and helped pace the Clan to a fifth-place showing at the national championship this spring.

Mlikotic is hoping his success at Ogopogo will carry over this week at Fairview Mountain Golf Club in Oliver where the B.C. men’s amateur golf championship tees off on Tuesday.

After another year of school at SFU, Mlikotic has plans to turn pro next summer.