West Van's Matheson Tops Field At RBC Canadian Open Regional Qualifier At Ledgeview

West Vancouver's Matt Matheson (L) And Langley's Khan Lee (R) Were Your Top Two Qualfiers At The RBC Canadian Open Regional Qualifier Held At Ledgeview GC In Abbotsford, BC - Image Credit Brad Ziemer

By Brad Ziemer, British Columbia Golf

ABBOTSFORD -- Matt Matheson tries to make sure he has fun every time he plays golf. Some days are easier than others. Take Tuesday, for example, when the 24-year-old West Vancouver amateur rolled in a 40-foot putt for eagle on the 18th green to shoot a five-under 65 and top the field at the RBC Canadian Open regional qualifier being held at Ledgeview Golf Course in Abbotsford.

Monday, mind you, wasn’t quite as much fun. Matheson travelled to the Seattle area and played in a U.S. Open local qualifier and shot a six-over 78. So he won’t be teeing it up this summer at Shinnecock Hills Golf Club.

But thanks to Tuesday’s round, Glen Abbey Golf Club remains a distinct possibility. The top six players and ties from Ledgeview’s 39-man field earned a spot in the Monday qualifier for this summer’s RBC Canadian Open.

It took a score of even-par 70 or better to make the cut. Also qualifying Tuesday were fellow amateur Khan Lee of Langley, Anton Frondelius of Sweden, Devin Carrey of Burnaby, Nigel Sinnott of Chilliwack, Kevin Stinson of Mission and Keith Martin of Kelowna.

“It would be a dream of mine to play in our national Open,” Matheson said after his round, which included four birdies and that eagle. “It would be really cool. I played in a Canadian Amateur and that was a cool, fun experience, but I feel like playing with the big guys would be awesome. It’s a learning process for me. Today was a good first step. We’ll see how I react to the pressure. It's all about consistency with me. I can go out and shoot a solid round like today and then go out the next day and shoot a 75. It is consistency. I have to get out and play more.”

Matheson, who graduated from the now defunct golf program at Camosun College in Victoria and now plays out of Seymour Golf & Country Club in North Vancouver, says he wants to see where his golf can take him this year. “I've been golfing ever since I was three,” he said. “I have never taken golf too seriously, I have always just enjoyed it. If you are not having fun, you might as well not play is what I say. Even if you are playing bad, it’s a nice walk.

“I grew up playing with some good junior players. I played with Adam Svensson before he got insanely good. And then I went to Camosun College and played a couple of years there. . .I am going to start playing more Vancouver Golf Tour events this year. This is the year I'm going to try and see if I can do something with golf. I want to see how I stack up against some really good local pros and see if I can make something out of this.”

Matheson finished two shots better than Lee, his Tuesday playing partner who shot a three-under 67. “We both had fun, there was lots of laughing,” Lee said. “At the end of the day golf is all about fun, right?” Lee, 18, just finished his freshman year at Washington State University.

Carrey, meanwhile, has had an interesting couple of days. On Monday, he grabbed one of six spots up for grabs at a U.S. Open local qualifier in Kent, Wash. So his U.S. Open-Canadian Open dream remains alive. “I had 17 pars and a birdie,” Carrey said of his one-under 69. “It was a pretty frustrating day. My only birdie came at No. 15, where I made about a 50-footer.”

Carrey, who played collegiately at the University of Louisiana-Lafayette, now lives near Houston, Tex. He played in last week’s Mackenzie Tour-PGA Tour Canada qualifying school at Crown Isle, where he earned conditional status. He does have a sponsor’s exemption into the season-opening Freedom 55 Financial Open, which goes May 31-June 3 at Point Grey Golf & Country Club in Vancouver. He’ll play his U.S. Open sectional qualifier June 4 in Portland, Ore.

Carrey, 30, has been chasing his pro golf dream for quite some time now. He described the experience this way; “Chaos. Absolute chaos. In 2016 I had conditional Web.com status and I played a whole bunch of Monday qualifiers. I just chased it. Last year I decided I wanted to try something different and played down in Latin America. I played 13 events there and struggled. I lost my bag five times in 13 events. I flew almost 95,000 miles last year just on that tour alone. It takes a lot out of you. It is a great tour. I just did’t have much success there.”

Martin, who grabbed one of the last spots Tuesday with an even-par 70, will be heading to the RBC Canadian Open Monday qualifier for the second straight year. He was the medalist at last year’s regional qualifier at Bear Mountain in Victoria. “I was really close,” Martin said. “I ended up missing by just a couple of shots. So it was a really cool experience and I thought 'let’s do it again.'”

Stinson, one of the top players on the VGT, earned his spot the hard way Tuesday. After firing a four-over 40 on the front nine, he rebounded with a 30 on the back side.

CHIP SHOT: Two more regional qualifiers are being held later this spring in Ontario and Quebec. The final qualifier goes July 23 at Heron Point Golf Links in Alberton, Ont.