Ziemer's B.C. Golf Notes: Golf a big winner at Sport BC awards; Hadwin, Svensson show well at Players Championship; Angela Arora collects first college win in just her third start

Shelly Stouffer Was Recongized For Her Tremendous 2022 Season At The Sport BC AOY Dinner - Image Credit BBrault/Golf Canada

By Brad Ziemer, British Columbia Golf

Nanoose Bay’s Shelly Stouffer, UBC coach Chris Macdonald, the UBC women’s golf team and Debbie Pyne, the longtime managing director of player development at British Columbia Golf, were all recognized at Sport BC’s 55th annual athlete of the year awards ceremony.

Stouffer was selected master athlete of the year after an incredible 2022 season that saw the 53-year-old become the first British Columbian to win a United States Golf Association championship when she captured the U.S. Senior Women’s Amateur in Alaska.

Stouffer won lots of other events last summer, including the B.C. Senior and Mid-Master titles, the Canadian Senior, Mid-Amateur and Mid-Master crowns and the Pacific Northwest Golf Association’s Senior Women’s Championship. “I guess I was lucky I wasn’t up against Connor Bedard,” Stouffer said with a laugh about her Sport BC award.

“It was awesome and really exciting to be recognized by Sport BC.” When she reflects on her summer of ’22, Stouffer is understandably most proud of her U.S. Senior Amateur win. “It still blows my mind that I am the first B.C. person to ever win a USGA event,” she said. In an interview from her Nanoose Bay home, Stouffer said she hopes she deliver a solid encore performance this summer.

“I am going to play in a lot of events. I am going to play in the U.S. Women’s Amateur and I am thinking I might go overseas to play in the British Senior Women’s Amateur. I have kind of laid out my schedule and it’s a lot.”

Her schedule includes both the B.C. Women’s Mid-Amateur Championship at Sandpiper Golf Course in Harrison Mills and the B.C. Senior Women’s Championship at Christina Lake Golf Club, where she will attempt to win her fourth straight title. Stouffer has continued to work on her game over the winter. “I have worked hard on my body this winter and I am really excited about where my game is going to. I’m hitting the ball farther than I have in the last five years. I feel like there’s more great things to come this year.”

Macdonald, the coach of the men’s and women’s golf teams at UBC, was named male coach of the year. He also coached B.C.’s teams at the Canada Summer Games to gold medal performances. Macdonald was especially pleased to see the 2022 UBC women’s team win the team of the year award.

That team, consisting of Grace Bell, Elizabeth Labbé, Sonja Tang, Emily Li and Shania Remandaban, went undefeated in the 2021-22 season and won both the NAIA and Canadian University/College Championships. “It was just a really special group,” Macdonald said of the women’s team.

“Right from the start there was a really special chemistry with the girls. They pushed each other and they pushed us as coaches and they really wanted to do something special because I think they felt it was a really unique group. They all really got along and had different skill sets. They gave each other permission to play well, which was really cool.”

Pyne and Sue Griffin, the former CEO of the BC Sports Hall of Fame and Museum, both received Sport BC’s In Her Footsteps . . .Celebrating Women in Sport award that goes to individuals who have demonstrated their commitment to being role models and mentors of young women.

ADAMS FAMILY: Abbotsford’s Adam Hadwin and Adam Svensson of Surrey both tied for 13th at the Players Championship to earn big paydays. They finished the $25-million event at seven-under par, 10 shots behind runaway winner Scottie Scheffler, and each took home $447,916. Svensson, who led the tournament after 36 holes, birdied his final hole while Hadwin bogeyed the 18th on Sunday. Both shot final rounds of one-under 71.

Hadwin kept an interesting streak intact at the Players Championship. He has never put a ball in the water on the treacherous par 3 17th hole at TPC Sawgrass and his ‘dry’ streak is now at 28 straight rounds. Hadwin and Abbotsford’s Nick Taylor, who missed the cut at the Players, are both in the field for this week’s Valspar Championship in Palm Harbor, Fla. Hadwin earned his lone PGA TOUR win at the 2017 Valspar. Svensson is taking the week off and plans to visit Augusta National to prepare for his first Masters appearance next month.

MESA MAGIC: As first impressions go, Surrey’s Angela Arora is making a very nice one at the University of Tennessee. Playing in just her third collegiate event, Arora won the Clover Cup played at Longbow Golf Club in Mesa, Ariz. The former B.C. Junior Girls champion fired a four-under 68 to finish the 54-hole event at 11-under par. That was one shot better than Clemson’s Annabelle Pancake.

Arora joined Tennessee in January. She registered a top-10 finish in her first event last month in Guadalajara, Mexico. “This week was great,” Arora said. “I hit the ball really well and made a lot of putts. The adrenaline was very high throughout the round today. I came out here this week wanting to win and I am so happy I did.”

ROCKY MOUNTAIN HIGH: The University of B.C, UBC-Okanagan and the University of Victoria all left the recent Rocky Mountain Intercollegiate tournament in Las Vegas with something to brag about. The UBC women’s team captured their sixth tournament title of the season, while Sukriti Harjai of the University of Victoria won the individual title with a score of 10-over par. On the men’s side, Justin Towill of UBC-Okanagan won the individual title by two shots with a 54-hole total of seven-under par. The UBC men’s team finished second to Lewis-Clark State, while the University of Victoria was third.

PRO PLANS: Coquitlam’s A.J. Ewart finished fifth at the Las Vegas Desert Classic in Boulder City, Nev. Ewart, a senior at Barry University in south Florida, completed the 54-event at two-under par. That was 10 shots behind winner Beck Burnette of Lee University. Ewart, meanwhile is already making plans for his professional career. He has signed up for this spring’s PGA Tour Canada qualifying school at Crown Isle Golf Resort in Courtenay.

Ewart, last year’s NCAA Division II player of the year, will have plenty of B.C. company at the Crown Isle Q-school, which goes June 6-9. Vancouver Open champion Ilirian Zalli of Vancouver, Jeevan Sihota of Victoria, Bryce Barker of Vernon, Ziggy Nathu of Richmond, Lawren Rowe of Squamish, Eugene Wong of North Vancouver and Trevor Yu of Vancouver are among other British Columbians registered for the Crown Isle Q-school. Ryan Ames, son of PGA Champions member Stephen Ames, also signed up to play at Crown Isle.

TOP-10 FINISHES: Richmond’s Ziggy Nathu finished eighth at the Asher Tour’s Soboba Springs Classic San Jacinto, Calif. The event was shortened to 54 holes due to weather and Nathu finished at 10-under par. That was 10 shots behind winner Illinois native Patrick Flavin, who won by five shots. . .Delta’s Mary Parsons finished seventh at a Cactus Tour event in Beaumont, Calif. Fellow Canadians Sarah-Eve Rheaume and Brigitte Thibault were first and second, respectively.

CHIP SHOTS: The City of Vancouver has re-opened the Stanley Park and Rupert Park pitch-and-putt courses. Its Queen Elizabeth Park pitch and putt will re-open later this spring. . .Carnoustie Golf Course in Port Coquitlam, which closes every winter, is scheduled to re-open on March 24.