Ziemer's B.C. Golf Notes: Allenby Dominates At Morgan Creek; Arbutus Ridge Up For sale; ‘Nice guy’ Hadwin Returns To Action

Langley's James Allenby Took The Vancouver Golf Tour's JM Media Group Masters With Consecutive Rounds Of 64 This Past Week - Image Courtesy VGT/Fraser Mulholland

By Brad Ziemer, British Columbia Golf

James Allenby dominated the Vancouver Golf Tour in 2017 and the Langley pro has sent an early message that 2018 might be more of the same.

Allenby shot back-to-back rounds of eight-under 64 to win the JM Media Group VGT Masters at Morgan Creek Golf Club in Surrey. Allenby’s 36-hole total of 16-under 128 was seven shots better than Riley Wheeldon of Comox.

Allenby earned $3,000 for the win and now leads the VGT’s Order of Merit. Wheeldon, who is competing in this week’s Mackenzie Tour-PGA Tour Canada qualifying school at Crown Isle Golf Club in Courtenay, made $1,800 for his runner-up finish. Kevin Stinson of Mission finished third at four-under par and took home $1,200.

The VGT now has a new women’s division, sponsored by Maui Jim Sunglasses, and it produced some early fireworks. Karishma Thiagaraj of Meadow Gardens Golf Course, opened the event with an eight-under 64 that included a hole-in-one on Morgan Creek’s par 3 eighth hole.

That round gave her a share of the first-round lead, but she struggled to an 82 in the second round and finished tied for 10th overall. She won the women’s division by two shots over Christine Wong of Richmond.

FOR SALE: Arbutus Ridge Golf Club has been put up for sale by longtime owner GolfBC. The Cobble Hill course on Vancouver Island was designed by Bill Robinson and opened its first nine holes in 1988. GolfBC, the largest owner-operator of golf courses in Western Canada, acquired the course in 1992.

GolfBC said the planned sale of Arbutus Ridge follows a new strategic direction for its parent company, Vancouver-based Burrard International. That strategy calls for the company to focus on projects that are located within 20 kilometres of major metropolitan centres and resorts.

Arbutus Ridge will be the second course sold by GolfBC in the last year. The company sold Furry Creek Golf Course, located near Britannia Beach on the Sea-to-Sky Highway, last year to Chinese interests.

GolfBC’s remaining golf properties include Nicklaus North in Whistler, Mayfair Lakes in Richmond, Olympic View in Victoria, Gallagher’s Canyon and the Bear and Quail Courses at Okanagan Golf Club, all located in Kelowna, as well the Gold, Emerald and Blue courses at the Wailea Golf Club on the Hawaiian island of Maui. GolfBC also manages the Blue Ocean Golf Club in Sechelt.

MR. NICE GUY: This won’t come as a surprise to anyone who has met him, but Abbotsford’s Adam Hadwin has been named one of the PGA TOUR’s top 30 nice guys. That list was compiled by Golf Digest and includes the likes of Jordan Spieth, Justin Rose, Adam Scott, Rickie Fowler, Matt Kuchar and Rory McIlroy.

Hadwin, who has not played since tying for 24th at the Masters, returns to action at this week’s Wells Fargo Championship in Charlotte, N.C.

Fellow Abbotsford product Nick Taylor is also in the Wells Fargo field. Taylor is hoping to snap out of a slump that has seen him miss five straight cuts.

MOUNTAIN GOLF: Big Sky in Pemberton opened for play on April 26 and the three Whistler courses will soon be following suit. Chateau Whistler has set May 5 as its opening day, while Nicklaus North and Whistler Golf Course are both scheduled to begin their new seasons on May 11.

“Pre-season bookings are well ahead of pace,” said Whistler Golf Club general manager Alan Kristmanson. “The course wintered very well and our spring preparations find the course already in great shape. We look for a strong opening on May 11.

“We are adding a few new tee boxes to help with pace of play and to improve the teeing grounds on some holes. We’ve also changed our green fee structure to dynamic pricing. This will allow our guests to have greater rate flexibility and pick a time of day and rate that works for them. The earlier they book the better rate they will find.”

CUP OF TEE: The annual PNGA Cup competition goes May 3-4 at Seattle Golf Club. The Ryder Cup-style event features 12-person teams (eight men and four women) from the British Columbia, Washington, Oregon and Idaho golf associations.

B.C.’s team includes Kevin Carrigan of Victoria, Dan Brown of Victoria, Craig Doell of Victoria, Peter Jawl of Victoria, Sandy Harper of Nanaimo, Norm Bradley of Kelowna, Doug Roxburgh of Vancouver, Gudmund Lindbjerg of Port Moody, Christina Proteau of Port Albernia, Karen Kloske of Lake Cowichan, Josee Deslauriers of Parksville and Alison Murdoch of Victoria.

Idaho won last year’s competition at TimberStone Golf Course in Caldwell, Id. B.C. last won the event in 2014.

CLIMBING IVY: Vancouver’s Kevin Li ended his collegiate golf career on a high note, finishing fourth at the recent Ivy League Championship. That finish earned Li athlete of the week honours at Brown University, where he is majoring in computer science-economics.

THE TRADITION CONTINUES: Spots are still available for the annual Tradition Golf Classic, which supports the B.C. Golf House Society. This year’s tournament goes Monday, May 14 at University Golf Club in Vancouver and is a 1 p.m. shotgun start.

The entry fee is $200, which includes golf, lunch and dinner. Players who support this year’s event will have the first opportunity to play in the 2019 Tradition at Marine Drive Golf Club in Vancouver. To register call Mike Riste at the B.C. Golf Museum at 604-222-4653 or email office@bcgolfhouse.com

BIRDS FLY SOUTH: The men’s and women’s teams from the University of B.C. and the University of Victoria are competing this week at the Association of Independent Institutions Conference Championship at the Wigwam Resort in Phoenix.

The UBC women enter the event ranked third by the NAIA, while Victoria is ranked 14th. On the men’s side, the Thunderbirds are ranked ninth and Victoria is 10th.

Simon Fraser University men’s team, which won its conference championship last week in Coeur d’Alene, Id., has qualified for the NCAA Division II Super Regional. That event goes May 7-9 in Amarillo, Tex., where SFU will attempt to advance to the NCAA Division II Championship later this month.

CHIP SHOTS: West Vancouver’s Seann Harlingten made his third straight cut on the Web.com Tour, finishing tied for 42nd place at the United Leasing & Finance Championship in Newburgh, Ind. . . Kimberley’s Jared du Toit stands 37th on the money list through the first four events of the PGA Tour LatinoAmerica circuit. After back-to-back events in Argentina, the tour resumes this week in Montego Bay, Jamaica.