A September To Remember For Kevin Stinson
Kevin Stinson Tees Off During A VGT Event - Image Courtesy Vancouver Golf Tour
By Brad Ziemer, British Columbia Golf
Kevin Stinson has collected something much more valuable than a bunch of frequent-flier points the past three weeks. He has stored away some precious golfing memories that will last a lifetime.
It has been a September to remember for Stinson, a Mission resident who plays and teaches out of Cheam Mountain Golf Course in Chilliwack. He’ll never forget the camaraderie he had with his three teammates at the inaugural Four Nations Cup in South Africa and the immense pride he felt when they won the competition for Canada.
“Probably one of the coolest golf experiences I have ever had,” Stinson said in an interview.
He then followed that up by winning the PGA Assistants Championship of Canada in New Brunswick, sealing the victory with a kick-in eagle on the 17th hole at The Algonquin Golf Course.
The past three weeks have been something of a whirlwind for Stinson. After the event in South Africa, he flew back home so he could play in his good friend Nick Taylor’s charity pro-am at Cultus Lake Golf Course. He then hopped back on a plane and flew to New Brunswick.
“I had three or four days at home,” Stinson said. “Two days to recover, then I worked a day and then I played Nick’s tournament and then flew out the next morning. So it wasn’t too bad. Coming back out east was a little easier especially after being on South African time. That really helped out.”
That South African trip didn’t start so well as Stinson arrived on schedule in Johannesburg, but his golf clubs did not. “I got them the day I left,” he said. “I actually went to the airport and picked them up and re-checked them back in to come home. I had gloves, I had golf balls, I had the clothes from the team. I borrowed shoes from one of my teammates, Gord Burns, because we’re the same size and then the Titleist rep was there and he put a pretty good set together on short notice. They were at least the right kind of stiffness for shafts and what not which really helped.”
Stinson loved playing team golf again, something he had not done since his college days at Wayland Baptist University in Plainview, Tex. “I would say the highlight for me was the team golf,” he said. “You are not just playing for yourself, you are playing for teammates and for your country. And then playing the different formats was pretty cool, too. Playing four-balls and then playing a singles match is completely different than normal tournament play. So it was a really good experience.”
image courtesy PGA of Canada
Canada's Winning Four Nations Cup Team (BC's Kevin Stinson is 3rd from Left)
Stinson and teammates Gordon Burns (Above Left), Pierre-Alexandre Bédard (2nd From Left) and Branson Ferrier (3rd From Right) got off to a good start in the competition with South Africa, Australia and New Zealand. “The whole team felt if we are going to come all that way we should probably try to win because if would be a lot more fun to go home with a win than with nothing,” Stinson said. “Everyone played really great the last day which was fantastic.”
Canada won with 20 points, beating second-place Australia by four points. Stinson, who played the South African Sunshine Tour in 2012 and 2014, said former B.C. pro and now Saskatoon resident Phil Jonas gave the Canadians some helpful hints. Jonas, a South African native, grew up on the Johannesburg course where the Four Nations Cup was played. “It’s Phil’s old home course and he had a couple of little tips for us which really helped a lot,” Stinson said.
Fast forward to New Brunswick, where Stinson played some wonderful golf to win the Assistants title. He completed the 54-event at 17-under par to beat Wes Heffernan of Calgary and Mitchell Fox of Calgary by two shots. “It is some of the best ball-striking that I have ever had,” said Stinson, who collected $9,000 for the win.
He pretty much sealed the victory with an eagle on the par 5 17th hole after hitting his nine-iron approach to within a foot of the hole. “The tees were up and wind had kind of flipped and it was downwind,” Stinson said. “That made it quite a bit shorter. So I think I had 162 (yards) downwind and I hit an easy nine-iron.
image credit Brendan Stasiewich, PGA of Canada
Mission, BC's Kevin Stinson With The 2022 PGA of Canada Assistants Trophy
"Wes was ahead of me and probably had a pitching wedge in and I was like, well, you’ve got to go right at it and it came off perfect and was literally a foot from the hole. It was pretty sweet. He hit his in there about eight or nine feet and missed and I tapped mine in and I had a two-shot lead coming up the last which is nice.”
Stinson’s win in New Brunswick surprised absolutely no one. He has been one of Canada’s top club pros for some time and has been a dominant player on the Vancouver Golf Tour, where he has won the Order of Merit five times.
Stinson is highly appreciative of the opportunities the PGA of Canada provides him to play in events like the two he won this month. “It kind of felt like I was back out on tour again, with that much golf in such a short period,” he said. “They were just really good experiences and I’m very appreciative of the opportunities the PGA provides for us. It’s nice to be in an industry that has some of those perks and really helps out their players.”
The Assistants Championship win was made sweeter by the fact that Stinson’s father, Tom, was there to watch it. “We kind of made a father-son trip out of it and it has worked pretty well so far,” Stinson said.
That trip isn’t over yet. After collecting his trophy, Stinson and his dad hopped in their rental car and made the drive to Cabot Cape Breton, where they planned to play the Links and Cliffs courses and create even more memories of that September Kevin Stinson will never forget.