B.C. Amateur Preview: Chris Crisologo Has His Sights Set On B.C. Amateur Championship

Morgan Creek Golf Club In Surrey Is Prepared To Play Host To The 115th Playing Of The B.C. Amateur And Richmond's Chris Crisologo Has His Eyes On The Prize - Image Courtesy BC Golf

By Brad Ziemer, British Columbia Golf

It is the tournament that Chris Crisologo circled on his busy summer schedule, one that he wants to win more than all the others. And it may surprise you to learn that the B.C. Amateur Championship is that tournament.

A win at the Canadian Amateur or U.S. Amateur would ultimately mean much more for his career, but it is the B.C. Amateur that is closest to Crisologo’s heart. “I really want to get a good showing in a B.C. Am for once,” says Crisologo.

“That is kind of my goal this summer. Even going into the year I said I really want to give myself the best opportunity in the B.C. Am and ride  the momentum into the Canadian Am and I guess the U.S. Am now.”

The 21-year-old from Richmond certainly has to be considered one of the favourites heading into the 115th playing of the B.C. Amateur, which goes July 18-21 at Morgan Creek Golf Course in Surrey.

Crisologo, who recently completed a solid junior year at Simon Fraser University, has shown good form in what already has been a busy summer.

It started with a tie for 20th at the Freedom 55 Financial Open, the season-opening event of the Mackenzie Tour-PGA Tour Canada circuit at Point Grey Golf & Country Club in Vancouver. He followed that by teaming up with Coquitlam’s Stephen Diack to finish third at the Mexican Amateur Championship and then finished a close second at the Glencoe Invitational in Calgary.

A busy June ended with a tie for fourth place at the Cordova Bay Invitational in Victoria. July got off to a good start when Crisologo topped the field at a qualifier in Washington state to earn a spot in his second straight U.S Amateur Championship. This will be the fifth B.C. Amateur for Crisologo, who plays out of Marine Drive Golf Club in Vancouver.

He is playing at Morgan Creek despite being offered an opportunity to represent British Columbia Golf at the prestigious Pacific Coast Amateur Championship, which is being played opposite the B.C. Amateur at Chambers Bay in University Place, Wash.

“The fact that he wants to win his provincial championship kind of speaks to his character,” says Matt Steinbach, Crisologo’s coach at SFU. “He is very loyal and he knows that British Columbia Golf has given him a lot of opportunities and he wants to repay them and play in their event. I know he could have gone elsewhere and it would have been supported by British Columbia Golf, but being in his back yard and playing in the tournament is important to him.”

Crisologo acknowledges the fact the B.C. Amateur is being played close to home on a course he likes played a factor in his decision.“It gives my family and friends an opportunity to come out there and watch,” Crisologo says. “And there are some good vibes on that golf course. The feeling around that golf course to me is really positive. It gives you a lot of scoring opportunities.”

Crisologo had his best B.C. Amateur finish last summer at Pheasant Glen Golf Resort in Qualicum Beach. He tied for fifth, six shots behind Victoria’s Nolan Thoroughgood, who at age 15 became the youngest ever winner of the event. Thoroughgood, who will be representing B.C. at the Canada Summer Games in Winnipeg next month, will be back to defend his title at Morgan Creek.

Other notables in the field include 2017 B.C. Junior Boys champion Christian Zalli of Vancouver, three other recent B.C. Junior champions -- Keaton Gudz of Victoria (2014), Jake Scarrow of Mission (2015) and Tristan Mandur of Mill Bay (2016) -- as well as 2017 Future Links Pacific champion Jeevan Sihota of Victoria and Nanaimo’s Zach Anderson, who finished third last year at Pheasant Glen.

Doug Roxburgh, the 13-time B.C. Amateur winner from Vancouver, will be back to play in his 51st consecutive B.C. Amateur. Competitors will face a Morgan Creek course that longtime director of golf Wayne Vollmer says is in great shape.“We have had good greens all winter and didn’t have the problems some of the other courses in the area had,” says Vollmer. “The fairways are firm, the greens are firm. Everything is rolling nicely.”

The Tom McBroom-designed layout opened in 1995. It played host to the 2011 Canadian Junior Boys Championship. Kevin Kwon of Maple Ridge shot 16-under par, but that score is a little deceiving as Kwon won by 11 shots. Vollmer doesn’t expect anyone to reach 16-under at the B.C. Amateur.“It will be interesting to see, but I would say eight to 10-under will most likely win it,” Vollmer says.

Morgan Creek offers plenty of birdie opportunities, but Vollmer says one of the keys for B.C. Amateur competitors will be handling a tough four-hole stretch in the middle of their round. “Eight through 11 is a challenging stretch,” Vollmer says. No. 8 is a par 3 that can play as long as 230 yards, the par 4 9th hole can be stretched to 440 yards, the par 4 10th can go as long as 470 yards and the par 4 11th tops out at 457 yards.

“It is going to be a good test for them,” Vollmer says of Morgan Creek. “They are going to enjoy it. It is fun. If you start playing well, you can make a lot of birdies. But you better be golfing your ball.”

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CHIP SHOTS: The course record at Morgan Creek is held by PGA TOUR regular Adam Hadwin, who fired a 10-under 62 there about three years ago. . .the final spots into the B.C. Amateur field will be filled at a supplemental qualifier Sunday, July 16 at Northview Golf Club’s Canal course in Surrey.