Ziemer's B.C. Golf Notes: Allenby reflects on summer down south; du Toit wins on Mackenzie Tour; Svensson 51st in return to PGA TOUR; UBC men, women win season-debuts; UFV Cascades triumph in Alberta

Langley, BC's James Allenby - Image Credit Chuck Russell/Golf Canada

By Brad Ziemer, British Columbia Golf

James Allenby made seven of eight cuts on the recently concluded Forme Tour, so he certainly did not play badly. But as he reflects on his two-month adventure down south, Allenby has the bills to prove it was far from a rip-roaring success.

With purses set at $110,000 US each week, players pretty much had to finish inside the top 10 each week to cover expenses. Allenby’s best finish was a tie for 12th and the Langley resident made a grand total of $7,670. That didn’t come close to covering his expenses. “I didn’t go crazy adding everything up, but I estimated that I came out with about a $9,000 loss for the season,” he said.

“It was pointless to go down there for the money. It was all about trying to advance and also keeping my card at the very least. Now I at least have status.”

Allenby finished 44th on the Forme Tour points list, which at least gives him status on next year’s Mackenzie Tour. But he had much higher goals when he made the decision to head south. The top five players earned Korn Ferry Tour membership and that is the carrot Allenby and all the other players were chasing. “It’s not the worst season I could have had, but it’s not achieving any of my goals that I had set,” he said.

“So it’s a little bit disappointing. I did play fairly well, but that top gear level that I’ve got, I didn’t quite hit.” The Forme Tour came to fruition in a hurry when it became apparent American players were not going to be able to travel to Canada and compete on the Mackenzie Tour-PGA Tour Canada circuit this summer due to COVID-19 restrictions. And while the courses the Forme Tour played this summer were generally excellent, Allenby said there wasn’t much support for the players.

BC Golf File Photo

Allenby Shot A Fine Round At Kings Links 2 Years Ago In An RBC Canadian Open Qualifier

“The tour itself was pretty close to a mini-tour,” he said. “They didn’t really do anything for the players except put the tournaments on. Normally, the tournament directors in Canada have people organized to help with private housing, shuttles from hotels and all kinds of player services. This year on the Forme Tour there was basically none of that. As fas as accommodations, you had to do everything on your own, there wasn’t any billeting available unless you asked the head pro at the course for help.”

After a couple of weeks at home, Allenby is back on the road for two weeks. He has entered the final two events of the Mackenzie Tour season -- this week’s GolfBC Championship at Gallagher’s Canyon Golf Club in Kelowna and next week’s Reliance Properties DCBank Open presented by Times Colonist at Uplands Golf Club in Victoria.

With his Mackenzie Tour status confirmed for next year, Allenby now is playing just for the money. A couple of decent finishes would go a long way to paying off some of those Forme Tour debts.

DU TOIT A WINNER: Kimberley’s Jared du Toit did not play particularly well on the Forme Tour, but bounced back nicely to win the Mackenzie Tour’s ATB Financial Classic in Calgary on Sunday. Du Toit, who was born in Calgary, closed with a four-under 67 at Country Hills Golf Club to finish the event at 11-under par. That was one shot better than Calgary’s Wes Heffernan. The win was worth $18,000 to du Toit.

“It means a lot,” du Toit said in a phone interview. “It’s always nice to win and to get it done means a lot. I hadn’t played my best in the last couple of Forme Tour events, but things felt pretty close. To string a couple of nice rounds together definitely feels pretty good.”

Image Credit Bryan Outram/BC Golf

Jared du Toit

Du Toit will not be playing this week’s GolfBC Championship in Kelowna as he is attending the wedding of European Tour regular Aaron Cockerill in Winnipeg. Then he’s off to the first stage of the Korn Ferry Tour qualifying school. Victoria teen Jeevan Sihota had an impressive tournament in Calgary. The 17-year-old amateur, who plays out of Gorge Vale Golf Club, tied for sixth at seven-under par after closing with a two-under 69.

Sihota is in the field at Gallagher’s. There will be no charge for spectators at the GolfBC Championship, which runs Wednesday through Saturday. But spectators will be required to show proof of vaccination.

BACK IN THE BIGS: Surrey’s Adam Svensson tied for 51st in his return to the PGA TOUR at the Fortinet Championship in Napa, Calif. Svensson earned his promotion to the PGA TOUR after winning twice on the Korn Ferry Tour this year. He completed the Napa event at four-under par, 15 shots behind winner Max Homa. Abbotsford’s Nick Taylor tied for 64th at two-under. Merritt’s Roger Sloan and Abbotsford’s Adam Hadwin both missed the cut.

Ontario’s Taylor Pendrith was the top Canadian, tying for 36th at seven-under. With the Ryder Cup going this week, the PGA TOUR returns to action Sept. 30-Oct. 3 at the Sanderson Farms Championship in Jackson, Miss.

WIN-WIN: The UBC Thunderbirds men’s and women’s golf teams got their Cascade Collegiate Conference seasons off to winning starts. The men won the Thunderbird Invitational at Sudden Valley Golf Course in Bellingham by 10 shots over Lewis-Clark State. UBC’s Ethan De Graaf beat teammate John Paul Kahlert and Devon Caruso of Lewis-Clark State in a playoff to claim individual honours.

All three players had finished the 54-hole tournament at even-par. The UBC women won the Gail Moore Intercollegiate, which was also held at Sudden Valley, by 30 shots over Oregon Tech. UBC freshman Emily Li, who finished at eight-over 152, edged teammate Sonia Tang by one shot to claim the individual title.

CLOSE SECOND: Simon Fraser University’s women’s golf team opened its season with a second-place finish at the Saint Martin’s Invitational at The Home Course in DuPont, Wash. SFU finished with a 36-hole score of 41-over 617, just one shot behind the winning team from Western Washington University. Sophomore Shirin Anjarwalla led the way for SFU, tying for third at seven-over 151.

CASCADES CLEAN UP: The University of the Fraser Valley men’s golf team won its season debut, claiming the Alberta Bears and Pandas Invitational at Northern Bear Golf Course in Sherwood Park, Alta. The Cascades two-day total of 19-over was two shots better than the University of Manitoba. UFV’s Jackson Jacob won the individual title with a three-under total.

SUCCESSFUL START: Vancouver’s Victoria Liu made a nice impression in her collegiate debut with the Princeton University Tigers. Liu tied for second at Penn State’s Nittany Lion Invitational, helping the Tigers to a third-place finish. Liu, who was third at this summer’s B.C. Women’s Amateur Championship at Summerland Golf Club, shot two rounds in the 60s at the Penn State tourney to finish the 54-hole tourney at seven-under. 

The following week, another Vancouver player, Tiffany Kong, led the Tigers to a second-place finish at the William & Mary Invitational at the Kingsmill Resort in Williamsburg, Va. Kong, a junior at Princeton, finished second in the event at four-under par.