JULY 4, 2019
RICHMOND, BC (PGA of British Columbia) –- The Association is bringing a major event back to the Kootenays for the first time in many years next week, as the G&G Golf Company & Callaway Golf PGA of BC Pro-Assistant Championship is set for Monday and Tuesday at Copper Point Golf Club.
The Pro-Assistant hasn’t been held in the region since Golden Golf Club was the venue in 2000, which was also the last time the PGA of BC brought one of its active championships to the Kootenays.
Knowing that, Executive Professional Brian Schaal and the team at Copper Point are excited for the opportunity to play host to this year’s event and welcome colleagues from around the province.
“We’re thrilled to be hosting it, that’s for sure – not only Copper Point, but our area,” said Schaal. “We hope to bring more events to this area, after hosting this one, to other golf courses because we have so many great tracks to promote to the pros from around British Columbia. We’re excited for them to come down and see what we’ve got here.
“We’ve always said you’d have to travel a long ways to find the calibre of golf courses that we have in such close proximity in this valley here,” Schaal added. “So we’re excited to not only showcase us … but some of the facilities we have around here. Being sandwiched between the Rocky Mountains and Purcell Mountains is pretty special, too.”
The Pro-Assistant Championship is an annual favourite among PGA of BC members that allows a Club Professional (Head, Executive or Head Teaching Professional) to team up with an assistant from their facility to compete against their colleagues over 36 holes. Monday’s opening round will be played under a best-ball format, while Tuesday’s final round switches to scramble play. Twenty-nine teams will be participating this year, including two from the host club, as Schaal will partner with Dennis Bradley, while Head Professional Scott McClain will join forces with Dale Moore.
Last year’s tournament at Black Mountain Golf Club featured a thrilling finish, as the Shadow Ridge Golf Club team of James Presnail and Mark Kitts prevailed in a playoff over the 2016 winners from The Tour LAB @ Northview, Matthew Palsenbarg and John Shin, after both teams finished at 21-under-par.
“It was my first win ever, I think, so that was obviously very special to me,” said Presnail. “That was our first year with Mark and I together and we have good chemistry, in the office and outside of the office, and on a golf course we play really well together.”
Presnail and Kitts have managed to keep that team chemistry rolling along over the past year, continuing to play as a duo for team events in the Interior region. They’ll soon tee it up in the final of the Interior PGA Tour’s two-man match play bracket.
For Presnail, it’s the fact that he and Kitts bring “polar opposite” styles of play to team competitions that has allowed them to find success when pairing up.
“He’s Steady Eddy and super-conservative; I’m just dumb and aggressive. So he always backs it up with a par … I always know I can take huge risks and we’ll come out with a par at worst because Mark rarely makes mistakes,” said Presnail. “At the same time, we’re similar on the greens – very diligent in our green-reading and we feel really confident in our putters once we find the line, so we make a lot of putts.”
That putting prowess was certainly on display in last year’s final round, when the two poured in putt after putt en route to a 14-under-par 57, followed by Kitts rolling in a lengthy birdie on the first playoff hole to secure the win.
The Shadow Ridge duo will attempt to become the first back-to-back winners of this event in a decade, as the last duo to win in consecutive years was James Legault and Bryn Parry, who triumphed in both 2008 and 2009 representing Seymour Creek Golf Centre.
“We definitely want to pull one out of the hat again, but with all the great players in the province, it’s no shoo-in for anybody,” said Presnail.
One challenge facing their bid for a repeat title – as may be the case for many teams making the trek to Copper Point for the first time – will be unfamiliarity with the course. Schaal said it’s common for first-time visitors to his club to struggle with some of the nuances of the Point Course, so those Kootenay-based Professionals who have a few more rounds at Copper Point under their belts may benefit.
“It’s definitely playable for everybody but I’m thinking they are going to find it challenging,” said Schaal. “I think it’s going to come down to the greens. We have people come here all the time and make comments after the round that they had trouble reading the greens. But once you’ve played here a few times, it makes sense.”
As per tradition, the host team of Schaal and Bradley and the defending champs will tee off on No. 1 to begin play for Round 1’s shotgun start, but no other tee assignments will be known until Monday afternoon. Teams will be drawing lots for their starting holes upon check-in at the Invermere facility – a popular pairing format introduced in 2018. All other tournament details, including the list of confirmed competitors, are available on our Pro-Assistant Championship event page.
PRO-ASSISTANT CHAMPIONSHIP FAST FACTS
- Presnail and Kitts won’t be the only past champs in the field. Brian McDonald and Rob Tadey, the 2017 champions from Fairview Mountain Golf Club, will be back looking to improve upon last year’s T3 finish. Black Mountain Golf Club’s Russ Latimer and Tyrel Griffith will also try to put their names on the trophy a second time, having captured the event in 2014.
- No player has ever won multiple Pro-Assistant titles with different partners, but a few will have a chance next week. Past champs Rob Anderson (Kelowna Golf & Country Club, 2010 winner), Randy Smith (The Vancouver Golf Club, 2007 co-winner) and Legault are all in the field but competing with a different colleague than when they claimed their previous titles.
- 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 collected three wins between 2001 and 2005.
- Based on available scoring records, Presnail and Kitts matched the record for total score during last year’s win, as their 121 strokes matched the winning total posted by Anderson and Ryan Matiushyk in 2010. The scoring record relative to par belongs to McDonald and Tadey, who reached 22-under in their win two years ago.
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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