JULY 19, 2021
KAMLOOPS, BC (PGA of British Columbia) – Christine Wong and Edd Boudreau hold one-stroke leads with 18 holes left to play in the PGA of BC Assistants’ & Seniors’ Championships presented by Natera Sport & Arbor Memorial at Kamloops Golf & Country Club.
Wong, the reigning PGA of BC Women’s Champion out of University Golf Club, made eight birdies and two bogeys to post a 6-under-par 66 and top the Assistants’ Championship leaderboard, taking advantage of a great day with the putter.
“I haven’t played in conditions like this in a long time and it helps,” said Wong. “The greens were really amazing. I don’t know that I would have made a lot of the putts I made if it wasn’t for the greens, because whatever read I had, it went in. That was awesome.”
One of just two females in the Assistants’ Championship field, the 29-year-old has the chance for a history-making finish in Tuesday’s final round. No woman has ever won an individual stroke-play championship with a co-ed field in the history of the PGA of BC. Wong said she’s trying not to look too far ahead, particularly with a talented group of Assistant Professionals who will be trying to chase her down over the final 18 holes.
“Of course, every tournament you enter, you try to win,” she said. “But there are some guys out there who shoot crazy low scores, so I just do the best I can to try and compete with that. You have to career-show it every single day against these guys.”
Plenty of players got into red figures on an ideal day for scoring at Kamloops Golf & Country Club despite a layer of smoke blanketing the course for much of the day. Twenty-three players finished at par or better, playing the club’s usual nines in reverse order by starting on the 10th hole.
Conner Kozak (The Okanagan Golf Club) sits alone in second place after a bogey-free 67, a score the 28-year-old was “pretty pleased” with considering how little competitive golf he’s been playing.
“I haven’t played a lot of golf this year in general. I’ve been doing a lot of coaching and teaching this year, which is great … but it’s taken me away from playing a bit this year,” said Kozak, who finished in a tie for third at the 2018 Assistants’ Championship. “There’s something about playing tournament golf that seems to get me going a little bit.
“There’s probably going to be a few nerves for me tomorrow … but I’ll just try to keep it simple and keep doing what I did today.”
Five players are positioned two shots back after turning in rounds of 68: Ethan Danish (Gallagher’s Canyon Golf Club), Max Cohen (Langley Golf Centre), Jake Scarrow (Chilliwack Golf Club), Zach Olson (Chilliwack Golf Club) and Brady Stead (Ledgeview Golf Club).
Danish was the first to reach the clubhouse at 4-under, starting with three birdies early on and making his lone bogey at the par-4 17th. He’ll join Wong and Kozak in the final group Tuesday.
Danish has been in the mix at several past PGA of BC championship events but is still seeking his first title. A win Tuesday would serve as a big moment for the 33-year-old.
“To get a provincial championship against some of the top-tier players in the country would mean a lot,” said Danish. “Just being in the mix is really nice, but if I could pull it off and maybe save a couple strokes tomorrow to be in the hunt would mean the world to me.”
Another talented group of players is lurking three strokes back, including a couple of recent PGA of BC Championship winners. Reigning Association champion Keith Martin (Tower Ranch Golf Club) and 2019 champ Kevin Stinson (Cheam Mountain Golf Course) both carded 69s and will aim for their first Assistants’ Championship titles on Tuesday. Cory Renfrew (Modern Golf Vancouver) and John Vu (Quilchena Golf & Country Club) also finished at 3-under and will look to make a charge up the leaderboard during the final round.
CLICK HERE to view complete Round 1 scoring for both the Assistants’ & Seniors’ Championships.
BOUDREAU BEATS BACK NERVES FOR SENIORS’ CHAMPIONSHIP LEAD
Boudreau (Gorge Vale Golf Club) grabbed the overnight lead in the Seniors’ Championship with a 3-under 69 that included five birdies. It also came as a bit of a pleasant surprise, given that the 55-year-old hasn’t spent as much time on the golf course recently as in past years.
“I kind of lost love for the game there for a while and I don’t know why, but this year I’ve been starting to feel it and wanting to compete again,” he said. “The goal has been to get ready for next year to play some of the bigger events … and to get the juices flowing again. It was good out there today to have that feeling again, because – I won’t lie – I was definitely nervous out there. It was fun.”
Boudreau won the PGA of BC Championship 15 years ago at Royal Colwood Golf Club and he said it would be “an honour” to have his name etched on the Ben Colk Trophy with a win Tuesday as well.
“Any time you get your name on a championship trophy, it’s a great feeling because you know you’re playing against some of the best players in our province,” he said. “You see how far some of these guys can still hit it … I keep thinking I’m still pretty long but I was hitting first from the fairway quite a bit today. Guys are keeping themselves in good shape and there are lots of good players here.”
Sitting alone in second place after a first-round 70 is Cam Code, the host venue’s lone representative in either field this week. The 60-year-old said it would be “the thrill of my career” if he were to play his way to the title.
“You earn respect in this business in many other ways besides just being a golfer, but to be able to answer the bell when you get up to be my age is pretty exciting,” he said.
Code spent more than 20 years as a Professional at Lower Mainland facilities before a stint in Alberta, but returned to the BC Zone last year to begin working at Kamloops Golf & Country Club. He said the Seniors’ Championship has been a great way to reconnect with some old friends following many years away.
“I’ve known these guys a long time and a lot of us broke into the business at the same time,” he said. “Here we are 30 years later and still meeting up at golf tournaments. It’s pretty neat.”
Two of the Association’s most consistent players of the past two decades are just two behind after shooting 71s in the opening round. Scott Rodgers (Morgan Creek Golf Course) and Rob Anderson (Kelowna Golf & Country Club), each of whom have victories in three of the PGA of BC’s championship events in their careers, are 1-under and aiming for their first Seniors’ Championship wins.
Three others finished at even-par, including two-time Seniors’ Champion Norm Jarvis (Delta Golf Centre), as well as Cory Draper (Capilano Golf & Country Club) and Jeff Buder (University Golf Club).
Tee times for Tuesday’s second round begin at 7:10 a.m. View the draws for both events by clicking here.
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