Ziemer's B.C. Golf Notes: Lots of memories as Taylor prepares to defend at Pebble Beach; Hadwin closes strong in Phoenix; U.S. Amateur & Women’s Amateur qualifiers set for B.C.

By Brad Ziemer, British Columbia Golf

The memories figure to last a lifetime, so one year after the biggest win of his professional career Nick Taylor has no difficulty recalling some of the most special moments of that magical week on the Monterey Peninsula.

One of the best was having his wife Andie and their young son Charlie waiting for him behind the 18th green at Pebble Beach Golf Links after he won the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am.

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BONUS BUCKS: Taylor earned $1.4 million for that win at Pebble, his biggest payday on Tour. His second biggest came just a few months later, but not many people heard about it. Taylor won the PGA Tour’s Aon Risk Reward Challenge for the 2019-20 PGA Tour season.

That paid him a cool $1 million. The funny thing is Taylor didn’t realize he was in the hunt for the big cheque until the final few weeks of the season. Taylor got a text from a friend informing him that he was in the lead just before he returned from the COVID-19 break the PGA TOUR took in mid-season. “A lot of guys didn’t even know it was going on, I think I got informed when I started later in July when one of my buddies texted me.”

The risk reward challenge is based on results on one hole each week at PGA TOUR events. Those holes are usually either short par 4s or par 5s. Scores on those holes on Thursdays and Fridays count. Heading into last summer’s second-to-last regular season event, the World Golf Championships-FedEx St. Jude Invitational in Memphis, Taylor had the lead. He knew if he birdied that week’s hole twice he would not be able to be caught at the season’s final event, the Wyndham Championship.

“At Memphis I knew where I stood and I was probably as nervous on the tee box on that hole as I’ve ever been,” he says. “I knew if i birdied it a couple of times I’d be in a good spot.” The hole in Memphis was the par 5 16th and Taylor did birdie it both days to lock up his $1-million payday. He didn’t even have to play in the Wyndham. “I think there were a couple of guys if they made an albatross and an eagle or something at the Wyndham they could have made things interesting,” Taylor says.

“So it wasn’t official until after that event. “It was an interesting thing to be playing for in the middle of tournaments. It added a new element to that summer. Obviously it was amazing to turn out like that. It was a very pleasant surprise.”

STRONG FINISH: Taylor missed the cut by one shot at the Waste Management Phoenix Open. Fellow Abbotsford product Adam Hadwin closed nicely with a four-under 67 and tied for 50th at seven-under par. That was 12 shots behind winner Brooks Koepka. Hadwin, who earned $18,323, is taking this week off and will not play at Pebble Beach. Merritt’s Roger Sloan, who did not play in Phoenix, will join Taylor in the field this week at Pebble Beach.

AMATEUR HOUR: Two British Columbia golf clubs will play host to U.S. Amateur and U.S. Women’s Amateur qualifiers this summer. Victoria Golf Club will be the site of a U.S. Amateur qualifier on July 5. The next day, Seymour Golf & Country Club in North Vancouver will play host to a U.S. Women’s Amateur qualifier. The U.S. Amateur goes Aug. 9-15 at Oakmont Country Club in Oakmont, Pa. The U.S. Women’s Amateur is scheduled for Aug. 2-8 at Westchester Country Club in Rye, NY.

ROUTE 66: Richmond Country Club’s Ziggy Nathu shot a five-under 66 to win a Vancouver Golf Tour one-day event at Mayfair Lakes. Nathu, a former UBC Thunderbird, edged Chris Crisologo of Richmond Country Club by two shots. Scott Kerr of Marine Drive shot a two-under 69 to finish third. Nathan Szpakowicz of Point Grey shot a two-under 69 to win the amateur division.

CHIP SHOTS: Golf Canada’s recently announced 2021 Team Canada Young Pro squad includes British Columbians Chris Crisologo of Richmond, Jared du Toit of Kimberley and Stuart Macdonald of Vancouver. . .Victoria Golf Club had 201 players tee it up on Friday (Feb. 5), a record number for a February day.