JUNE 29, 2020
RICHMOND, BC (PGA of British Columbia) -– Any team that gets off to a tough start at next week’s G&G Golf Company & Callaway Golf PGA of BC Pro-Assistant Championship can look to the event’s defending champs to find some inspiration to turn things around.
Kamloops Golf & Country Club’s Alec Hubert and Ian Henson managed to capture the 2019 title after a nightmare of an opening hole – carding a double-bogey to start the annual birdie-fest – but quickly followed it up with a dramatic reversal of fortune.
“We just went silent for two holes after making that double to start. Ian said to me: ‘I think we’re a really good team, and spotting the field two shots might just be what we had to do.’ Looking back, I think that calmed us down,” recalled Hubert.
“Then it was the next hole where I made the hole-in-one.”
Hubert’s ace on the par-3 17th hole on the Point Course at Copper Point Golf Club – his team’s fourth of the opening round – kickstarted a march to the title, as he and Henson wound up finishing the 36-hole event at 15-under-par to secure a one-stroke victory over Kelowna Golf & Country Club’s Rob Anderson and Jamie Stevens.
This year, the scene shifts to The Okanagan Golf Club for the Pro-Assistant Championship, which will once again feature Club Professionals (Head, Executive or Head Teaching Professionals) teaming up with another PGA of BC member at their facility to compete as two-person teams against colleagues from across the province. Twenty-nine teams are registered to compete in the event running July 6-7, with Round 1 to be played under best-ball format on the Bear Course and Round 2 conducted as a scramble on the Quail Course.
“There’s the potential to go low on either side,” said host Head Professional Lee Ranger.
“The Les Furber-designed Quail Course is built around the mountain with some really critical target shots – very fair, but very challenging. The Bear is a Jack Nicklaus design where you get to hit the driver around a little bit more.”
The Okanagan Golf Club last hosted a PGA of BC championship in 2016 when it welcomed the Tournament of Champions, but this will be the Kelowna facility’s first time as the venue for a Pro-Assistant. It’s a gathering that Ranger is excited to bring to the busy club.
“I’ve been wanting to get an event here for a couple of seasons now,” said Ranger. “We’re really happy to be hosting it, albeit with a different look than a normal tournament, but still a very competitive event and hosting our peers here is going to be great.”
That different look comes from amendments to the tournament’s traditional format in order to safeguard competitors, as well as staff and patrons at The Okanagan Golf Club, in the age of COVID-19. Among those changes, this year’s Pro-Assistant will start teams by tee times rather than by shotgun and will allow playing partners to take individual carts in the interest of physical distancing. The evening festivities following the first round of play, as well as the tournament’s closing ceremonies, will be limited in scale to adhere to health-authority guidelines on congregating. All of this comes in addition to the procedures that have become commonplace at all golf facilities such as eliminating touch points like flagsticks and bunker rakes, on-course distancing
COVID-19 has unfortunately reduced the number of playing opportunities for PGA of BC members, both in zone championship events and on regional tours, and added new layers of challenge to golf operations over the past several months. All things considered, Golf Professionals throughout the province are eager for the chance for some friendly competition and a midseason sojourn.
“We’ve only played a few tournament rounds and we’re really looking forward to seeing pros we haven’t seen from the coast or the Island making their way here and to have some fun for the few days we’re there,” said Hubert.
Hubert and Henson were a brand-new team for last year’s Pro-Assistant, as both had just moved into their roles as Executive and Head Professional at Kamloops Golf & Country Club. They’ve had a chance to play further events as a team over the past year and build upon the quick chemistry they found at Copper Point in 2019.
“Our games are kind of suited to that format,” said Hubert. “Ian’s a great player and will run off a few birdies in a row like it’s no big deal, while my game is a bit more steady-as-she-goes. I think that type of partnership lends itself well to that format.”
The field will be full of other past winners of the Pro-Assistant Championship. That includes 2018 winners James Presnail and Mark Kitts (Shadow Ridge Golf Club) and 2017 champs Brian McDonald and Rob Tadey (Fairview Mountain Golf Club).
Ranger, meanwhile, will be partnered with a past champion himself. Clay Stothers, who captured the 2015 title alongside Rick Crowson, will make up the other half of the Okanagan entry into the event.
“We’ve got him off the lesson tee for a couple of days,” Ranger said of Stothers, the PGA of BC’s 2014 Alvie Thompson Teacher of the Year Award recipient. “He’s a very busy man teaching his golf schools, junior camps and so on, but Clay is a great player in his own right and I’m glad to have him on my side.
“Hopefully I can get some birdies in the hole, too, and support the team.”
CLICK HERE to view the tournament page, which includes event details and a list of registered competitors.
PRO-ASSISTANT CHAMPIONSHIP FAST FACTS
- Other past champions in the field include Russ Latimer and Tyrel Griffith (Black Mountain Golf Club), who won the 2014 tournament. Kelowna’s Anderson (2010) and The Vancouver Golf Club’s Randy Smith (2007) have also won the event in the past and, along with Stothers, are looking to become the first players to win Pro-Assistant titles with different partners.
- Ranger and Stothers will hope that home-course advantage will come into play as it has in some recent editions of the Pro-Assistant. The teams from Fairview Mountain and Black Mountain both earned their titles while serving as tournament hosts.
- A pair of teams own the record for most Pro-Assistant titles overall with three apiece. Jeff Buder and Trevor Hay earned their trio of victories representing Point Grey Golf & Country Club in 2006, 2007 and 2011, while Daryl Stubbs and David Bolton (Pacific Golf Academy) collected three wins between 2001 and 2005. Nobody in this year’s field has an opportunity to achieve their third titles next week.
- McDonald and Tadey hold the event’s scoring record relative to par, as they reached 22-under during their 2017 triumph. The gross scoring record is 121, set by Anderson and Ryan Matiushyk at Big Horn Golf & Country Club in 2010 and matched by Presnail and Kitts at Black Mountain Golf Club two years ago.
- There are several new combinations playing the Pro-Assistant together for the first time this year capable of making an impact. Among them, Gallagher’s Canyon Golf Club Executive Professional Peter Hopley is teamed up with Ethan Danish, who had been a perennial factor in the event with Dean Claggett during his years at Two Eagles Golf Course & Academy. Two-time PGA of BC Class “A” Professional of the Year Greg Pool, now a Head Professional, and two-time Ontario Men’s Match Play Championship finalist Quinn Vilneff are both new to Northview Golf & Country Club's Professional staff this year and will pair together.
ABOUT G&G GOLF COMPANY
Since 1991, G&G Golf Company has provided custom logo accessories to golf facilities as a large part of its product mix. G&G Golf has an international sales force with representation covering over 1,500 accounts across North America. Backing up the sales team is a staff of 17 full-time employees based out of its Langley headquarters. Their products and services include a wide array of soft goods, hard goods, accessories and licensed merchandise, to name a few. For more information, visit www.gandg.ca.
ABOUT CALLAWAY GOLF
Through an unwavering commitment to innovation, Callaway Golf Company (NYSE:ELY) creates products designed to make every golfer a better golfer. Callaway Golf Company manufactures and sells golf clubs and golf balls, and sells bags, accessories and apparel in the golf and lifestyle categories, under the Callaway Golf®, Odyssey® and OGIO® brands worldwide. For more information please visit www.callawaygolf.ca and www.OGIO.com.
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