Ziemer's B.C. Golf Notes: Zokol proud to get call from the Hall; Kim leads Canada at World Amateur Team Championship; Macdonald wins again in Arizona; PGA of BC hands out its annual awards

Once Dubbed 'Disco Dick' For Wearing A Sony Walkman While Playing On The PGA TOUR, Richard Zokol Was Inducted Into The BC Sports Hall of Fame As Part Of The Class of 2024 - Image Credit Bryan Outram/BC Golf

By Brad Ziemer, British Columbia Golf

Perseverance has always been one of Richard Zokol’s biggest assets. Zokol made his childhood dreams of becoming a professional golfer come true through a lot of hard work and self-belief.

He was inspired as a junior golfer at Marine Drive Golf Club by the likes of Stan Leonard, Johnny Johnston, Alvie Thompson and a young Doug Roxburgh. “The club had a spirit of champions and it just seemed so appealing to me,” Zokol says. “I wanted to follow in that path and fill those shoes.”

Zokol found himself doing lots of reflecting on his golf journey when he got the news that became official last week. He is being inducted into the British Columbia Sports Hall of Fame.

“I was shocked,” Zokol said of learning he was part of the Hall’s Class of 2024. “These things aren’t top of mind. I didn’t know what to say. It’s something you don’t pursue purposely and it causes you to start reflecting back.”

Zokol thought about making the Brigham Young University golf team as a walk-on, later becoming captain and leading that team to a NCAA national championship. He thought about representing Canada on the world stage at the World Cup and Dunhill Cup.

And of course he reflected on his PGA TOUR journey that included one official win, the 1992 Greater Milwaukee Open, and one unofficial victory at the 1992 Deposit Guaranty Classic.

Zokol played 22 years on the PGA TOUR and it wasn’t always easy. He missed as many cuts as he made, but he persevered. “Looking back, a lot of water has gone under the bridge and I am very proud to have had the tenacity, the perseverance to not take no for an answer, to persevere and plow through it.

“That is just my nature. I learned that tenacity from my parents and that’s the greatest strength I have, just to keep on pushing.”

In addition to his on-course success, Zokol was the driving force behind the creation of Sagebrush Golf Club near Merritt. He now works as a real estate specialist at Predator Ridge Golf Resort in Vernon. Zokol lives in Kelowna and he and his wife Joanie have three grown children.

Zokol and other Class of 2024 members will be officially inducted into the B.C. Sports Hall of Fame at a ceremony in Vancouver next spring.

NEW ADDITIONS: Marine Drive Golf Club did a wonderful job of playing host to the British Columbia Golf Hall of Fame’s 11th induction ceremony, where Craig Doell, Brian De Biasio, Shelly Stouffer and Ron Willey (posthumously) joined the Hall’s impressive roster of honoured members.

KIM LEADS WAY: Canada finished eighth among 36 countries competing at the Women’s World Amateur Team Championships in Abu Dhabi. The Canadian team of Lauren Kim of Surrey, Monet Chun of Richmond Hill, Ont., and Katie Cranston of Oakville, Ont., finished the 72-hole event at 12-under par, 10 shots behind the winning team from South Korea. Kim was Canada’s top player. She tied for eighth in the individual competition at eight-under par. That was five shots behind the winner, Chinese Taipei’s Cindy Hsu, who just happens to be a teammate of Kim’s at the University of Texas.

TEAM TAYLOR: Canadian Open champion Nick Taylor of Abbotsford will be paired with 2023 Women’s PGA Champion Ruoning Yin of China in the inaugural Grant Thornton Invitational, which will be played Dec. 8-10 at Tiburon Golf Club in Naples, Fla. Taylor and Yin are one of 16 teams comprised of PGA and LPGA Tour members that will compete in the $4-million, 54-hole event. It will include Scramble, Foursomes and Modified Four-ball formats. Two other Canadians are in the 32-player field. Ontario natives Corey Conners and Brooke Henderson will play together as a team.

MAC ATTACK: Vancouver’s Stu Macdonald has enjoyed quite the past month on the Asher Tour in Arizona. He won the Southern Dunes Classic in late September and last week captured the Sedona Open. Macdonald had identical 54-hole scores of 20-under par in both events and took home $18,000 for each win. He also earned an interesting bonus that gives him an exemption into the final stage of the Asian Tour qualifying school. That goes Jan. 16-20 in Thailand and whether Macdonald makes the long trip will depend on how he fares at Korn Ferry Tour qualifying school. Macdonald will play the second stage of the KFT Q-school in mid-November.

B.C. CONTENT: The Asian Tour is holding one of its six first-stage qualifying school sites Nov. 7-10 at Soboba Springs Golf Club in San Jacinto, Calif. Several British Columbians have registered to play in the event, including Jared du Toit of Kimberley, Trevor Yu of Vancouver, Khan Lee of Langley, Jake Lane of Charlie Lake and Bryce Barker of Vernon.

HAWAII 5-0: Langley’s Chaewon (Carys) Baek, a junior at Gonzaga University, recorded her second top-five finish of the fall season at the University of Hawaii’s Rainbow Wahine Invitational. Baek completed the 54-hole event at five-under par to finish solo fifth, two shots behind co-medallists Davina Xanh of Cal State Fullerton and Rosie Belsham of Baylor. Baylor ran away with the team title, winning by 19 strokes with a score of 20-under par. The University of B.C. finished 12th at 35-over par. Bo Brown was the low Thunderbird, tying for 33rd at seven-over par.

SMITH SHINES: Simon Fraser University freshman Dana Smith followed up two top-five finishes with a tie for 11th at the Dennis Rose Invitational in Waimea, Hawaii. Smith fired rounds of 70 and 75 to help the Red Leafs earn a seventh-place finish at the event. Earlier last week, Smith finished fourth at the Hawaii Pacific Sharks Shootout at the Waikoloa Beach Resort. Smith completed that 36-hole event at three-over 143. In her collegiate debut in early October, Smith tied for third at the Western Washington Women’s Invitational in Bellingham.

SECOND STAGE: Coquitlam’s Henry Lee will tee it up this week at one of four DP World Tour second-stage qualifying school sites in Spain. The Marine Drive Golf Club member is playing the second stage at Desert Springs Golf Club in Almeria, Spain and hoping to advance to the final stage of Q-school, which goes Nov.10-15 in Tarragona, Spain.

AWARD WINNERS: Cheam Mountain’s Kevin Stinson received the Stan Leonard Player of the Year award at the PGA of BC’s annual award ceremony held at Richmond’s River Rock Casino. Other winners included: Lindsay Bernakevitch, Victoria Golf Club (Dick Munn Golf Professional of the Year); Brian McDonald, Fairview Mountain, (Cec Ferguson Executive Professional of the Year); Derek Orr, Iron & Wood Golf Simulators, (Fred Wood Class A Professional of the Year); Curtis Baldwin, Meadow Gardens, (Jock McKinnon Apprentice Professional of the Year); Kyla Inaba, Predator Ridge, (Alvie Thompson Teacher of the Year); Tyler Roope, Langley Golf Academy, (Jack McLaughlin Junior Golf Leader of the Year); Keri Moffat, Mayfair Lakes, (Jack Westover Coach of the Year); Callum Ashby, Highland Pacific (Davie Black Professional Development Award); Jared Siminoff, Haus of Golf, (Dunc Sutherland Distinguished Service Award); Tom Doull, Morgan Creek, (Jeff Ciecko Fore Season Golf Professional Award).

Vince Trama of Osoyoos Golf Club received the Jim Gibson Scholarship. Brady Stead of Ledgeview Golf Club received a Community Leadership Bursary. Wendy Toyer of the ALS Society of BC/PROJECT HOPE was named Jim Gibson Patron of the Year. Jon Kadin of Nielsen Agencies was selected Herb Paterson Sales Representative of the Year. Par Six Golf Media Inc. received the Arv Olson Media Personnel of the Year Award. Point Grey Golf & Country Club was named Golf Facility of the Year and Predator Ridge Resort received the Ben Colk Golf Shop of the Year Award.