AUGUST 20, 2018
CHASE, BC (PGA of British Columbia) – Jonnie Motomochi’s PGA of BC tournament debut couldn’t have gone much better than it did Monday at Talking Rock Golf Course.
Motomochi holds a two-stroke lead with 18 holes to go in the TaylorMade & adidas Golf PGA of BC Championship presented by Axis Insurance Group after opening the tournament with a 5-under-par 67. His round included six birdies over his first 11 holes, while his lone bogey of the day came on No. 18.
The 27-year-old, who became a Candidate for Membership at Morgan Creek Golf Course back in March, said he was “grateful and thankful” to be taking part in his first PGA of BC competition more than anything. Grabbing the overnight lead was a bonus.
“I’m just really happy to be out here. I think that was part of the reason why I played well,” said Motomochi, who has best friend Paul Hacker on his bag this week. “I told Paul that whether I shot 80 or 60, it was going to be fun no matter what.”
Motomochi is two strokes ahead of Kevin Stinson (Cheam Mountain Golf Course), whose round of 69 left him alone in second place. Brad Clapp (Chilliwack Golf Club) and Mark Bicknell (Victoria Golf Club) both posted 70 to sit three behind, while three-time PGA of BC Champion Bryn Parry (Point Grey Golf & Country Club) is lurking at 1-under. Five players will start the final round six strokes back, including 2003 winner and reigning PGA of BC Player of the Year Philip Jonas (Philip Jonas Golf Academy).
CLICK HERE to view full Round 1 scores.
Motomochi was an accomplished junior player, notably qualifying for the 2003 Canadian Amateur Championship at 12 years old, before moving on to an impressive four-year career with the Oregon State University Beavers. He spent four more years at OSU as an assistant coach before returning to his native British Columbia last year.
“It’s been a really long time since I’ve been in any sort of position like this … I’ve played 20 rounds this year and one tournament in the past five years,” said Motomochi, adding that he quickly regained his competitive streak after teeing it up at Talking Rock. “The desire to grind out practice is definitely not quite there … but once you’re out there you obviously want to do well, and that doesn’t change.”
Stinson similarly had a clean card going until an 18th-hole bogey brought him back to 3-under.
“I just kept it in play,” said of the key to his round. “If you get off line on this course it’ll eat you up, so you’ve gotta hit a lot of fairways and try to keep it under the hole, because they’re pretty quick downhill and down-grain.
“(Talking Rock) is a really good test for us, it’s set up really well and in great condition,” Stinson continued. “It’s awesome.”
Stinson has been a regular on the leaderboards at PGA of BC tournaments over the past couple of years, playing his way into the final group at the Assistants’ Championship two years running but coming up just short both times. The 32-year-old didn’t hesitate when asked what a victory Tuesday would mean for him.
“It would be huge,” said Stinson. “It would be good for our course, too, to kind of put us on the map. Cheam Mountain Golf Course isn’t really known for having good players coming out, but our junior program is taking off and in a few years you’ll see some of our juniors doing really well.”
Motomochi and Stinson will be joined in Tuesday’s final group by Bicknell, who played in the first group of the day Monday. He assembled a hot start with three birdies in his first three holes and said the early tee time wound up being a benefit.
“It was certainly an advantage. The (grounds crew) in front of us were literally rolling the greens when we were on the tees … so it was helpful,” said Bicknell, who could have gone even lower early on if not for lip-outs at Nos. 3 and 4.
“This has been a good year for me. I don’t know what’s turned it around, but I’ve started to post some numbers, played some good events and won some tournaments on the Island. Let’s just hope tomorrow’s one of those days and I can pull it out in a PGA of BC event. It would be a great honour to play well tomorrow and be up there.”
Final-round tee times begin at 8 a.m. Tuesday, with the final group heading out at 12:10 p.m. Competitors finishing in the top half of the field will earn a piece of the $34,000 purse, with $6,200 and the William Thompson Trophy going to the champion.
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