Ziemer's B.C. Golf Notes: Storey Creek welcomes B.C. Amateur Championship for second time; Svensson officially clinches his PGA TOUR card; Hadwin in Open Championship field at Royal St. George’s; Christof Appel wins Chilliwack Open on Vancouver Golf Tour

By Brad Ziemer, British Columbia Golf

The 119th B.C. Amateur Championship goes this week at Storey Creek Golf Club, the highly regarded Campbell River course that is playing host to the event for the second time. 

Brad Newman-Bennett remembers the first one very well, but has trouble coming to grips with the fact it was 22 years ago. Newman-Bennett rolled in a 12-foot birdie putt on the 72nd hole to beat Surrey’s Dan Swanson by one shot and win the 1999 championship. “Made that putt to win it on the 18th hole,” Newman-Bennett said. “That was a good time. But it’s almost like half a lifetime ago. It’s nuts.

“I remember I was playing really, really well going into it. Whenever I have played tournament golf it seems like my first round is always my worst one and I just slowly get into the right mode. Momentum grew during the week and it kind of all came together. I made a couple of timely putts and at the end of the day I was the last man standing. It was awesome.”

Newman-Bennett’s win was not a big surprise. A decade earlier he won both the Canadian Junior and B.C. Junior titles and had played collegiate golf at Northwestern University in Illinois. The longtime Marine Drive Golf Club member turned pro briefly three years later but regained his amateur status. Now 50, Newman-Bennett is vice president of capital markets and investment sales with Cushman & Wakefield in Vancouver.

FOR SALE: One of Newman-Bennett’s feature listings is Peace Portal Golf Course in Surrey, which recently went on the market. The course has been owned for many years by a number of different families and Newman-Bennett said they had been approached recently by a few different groups interested in purchasing it.

“They just really wanted more of a formal process to see who’s out there and make sure that anybody that is interested has an opportunity to take a look at it at least,” Newman-Bennett said. “The intention is that nothing is going to change. They are very adamant about that. They are not looking to sell it to anyone who is going to blow this thing up. They are very cognizant of their employees and all that good will.

“There is a lot of opportunity there for a new operator to come in and tidy it up a little bit. At this point we have received a couple letters of interest already and I am drafting another one.” Newman-Bennett said there is no listing price per se, but added that, “We are giving people guidance in the $30-million range. I think we’ll get really close to it based on what we are seeing so far.”

BACK TO THE BIGS: It’s now official. Surrey’s Adam Svensson is heading back for his second crack at the PGA TOUR. Svensson tied for seventh at the Korn Ferry Tour’s TPC Colorado Championship at Heron Lakes. He moved up one spot to 10th on the Korn Ferry points list, but more importantly cracked the 1,700-point mark which the tour uses as its ‘fail-safe threshold’ for securing a PGA TOUR card. Svensson played the PGA TOUR full-time in 2019, but failed to keep his exempt status.

OPEN SEASON: Abbotsford’s Adam Hadwin returns to action this week at the Open Championship at Royal St. George’s in southern England. Hadwin has made two of three cuts in his previous Open Championship appearances. His best finish came in 2018 when he tied for 35th at Carnoustie. 

Fellow Abbotsford product Nick Taylor tied for 28th at the John Deere Classic in Silvis, Ill. Taylor finished the event at 11-under par, eight shots behind winner Lucas Glover. He moved up one spot to 141st on the FedEx Cup points list. Merritt’s Roger Sloan tied for 71st at one-over par and fell three spots to 145th on the points list. Sloan and Taylor are both playing in this week’s Barbasol Championship in Nicholasville, Ky.

THE BIG APPEL: South African Christof Appel topped a crowded leaderboard at the Vancouver Golf Tour’s Chilliwack Men’s Open. Appel fired rounds of 69 and 68 at Chilliwack Golf Club to finish the 36-hole event at seven-under par. He earned $3,500 for his one-shot win over Kevin Stinson of Cheam Mountain Golf Course, Cole Wilson of Kelowna and the Chilliwack Golf Club duo of Jake Scarrow and Zach Olson. They each took home $1,687.

RETURN VISIT: Victoria’s Craig Doell will be getting his second taste of Oakmont Country Club when he plays the legendary course in next month’s U.S. Amateur Championship. Twenty years ago, Doell was on a PNGA Centennial Cup team that played a match against the Western Pennsylvania Golf Association. “After our morning round at one of the other courses nearby, the club champion invited me out with my partner from Oregon to play Oakmont with him and one of the assistant pros,” Doell said. “So I got to play it before they cut down all of the trees. It was amazing. They were the fastest greens I have ever putted on. They said they stimp faster for regular member play than they do for the U.S. Open.” Doell, along with fellow Victoria residents Jack Rothwell and James Swan, earned spots in the U.S. Amateur at a qualifier at Victoria Golf Club last week.

GOOD LUCK CHARM: Rothwell was the medalist at the Victoria qualifier, where he had his dad, Alex, on his bag as caddy. His dad also caddied for him when the won the 2019 B.C. Amateur Championship at Big Sky Golf Club in Pemberton. “I think I will be taking him to Oakmont,” Rothwell said. “He seems to have treated me well so far.”

CHIP SHOTS: Victoria’s Keaton Gudz and Dustin Franko of Delta both shot three-under 69s to lead Sunday’s supplemental qualifier for this week’s B.C. Amateur Championship. Duncan’s Tristan Mandur is defending the championship he won last summer at the Okanagan Golf Club’s Bear Course in Kelowna. . .Victoria’s Jeevan Sihota is the lone Canadian in the field at this week’s Boys Junior PGA Championship being played at Kearney Hill Golf Links in Lexington, Ky. . .Lauren Kim of Surrey, Erin Lee of Langley and Anna Huang of Vancouver all have spots in the field at this week’s U.S. Junior Girls Championship at Columbia Country Club in Chevy Chase, Md.