AUGUST 13, 2019
RICHMOND, BC (PGA of British Columbia) – The TaylorMade & adidas Golf PGA of BC Championship presented by Axis Insurance Group returns to a popular spot next week, as a full field of 99 Golf Professionals from across the province will head to Whistler Golf Club to determine whose name will be etched on the William Thompson Trophy in 2019.
The Arnold Palmer-designed course will act as host of the PGA of BC Championship for the second time, the other coming back in 2010, and Executive Professional Alan Kristmanson and his staff are “really excited” to have the event back at their facility in the heart of Whistler Village.
“We always like to see how the golf course holds up to the best players, and we have a history of hosting these types of events,” said Kristmanson, whose club has hosted a number of elite amateur and professional stroke-play championships in its 36-year history. “The course is in great shape and obviously the views aren’t bad here either.”
Kristmanson, who has been stationed at Whistler Golf Club for more than 25 seasons since becoming a Golf Professional, has fond memories of the 2010 PGA of BC Championship being conducted at his club and anticipates another exciting event this year.
“We just had a blast hosting it,” he said. “I remember we had it firm and fast because we had the weather that allowed us to do that, so the field got separated pretty quickly … It really brought the ball-strikers to the top of the leaderboard.”
That year, Doug Morgan (Richmond Country Club) successfully defended his title with an 8-under-par total over 54 holes. Morgan remains the most recent Professional to capture back-to-back victories in the Championship, but Kevin Stinson (Cheam Mountain Golf Course) will hope to change that next week.
Stinson was the winner last August at Talking Rock Golf Course with a tremendous 36-hole performance, making five birdies on the closing nine to pull away from first-round leader Jonnie Motomochi (Morgan Creek Golf Course) and earn his first PGA of BC crown by three strokes at 9-under.
“It was a course that set up nicely for me and suited my game,” Stinson recalled of his 2018 win. “I’m looking forward (to Whistler), it should be a good tournament.”
Though Stinson has notched more impressive results this season, including a T2 finish at the PGA of BC Assistants’ Championship in June, the 33-year-old said working and teaching at his Chilliwack facility has taken priority over working on his game this year, but his competition schedule is starting to ramp up in preparation for his title defence.
“I’ve probably practiced the least I’ve ever practiced, but I’ve found a way to scrape it around most of the time,” he said. “I’ll get a couple of tournaments in a row here and hopefully I can find some game.”
Finding some game hasn’t been a problem for Stinson in PGA of BC-conducted championships since joining the Association three years ago. In five starts since his debut at the 2017 Assistants’ Championship, Stinson has never finished outside the top five in any event, has played every round under par except for one, and has a scoring average of 69.8.
Despite that success, Stinson said he’s not thinking too much about the potential of back-to-back titles, especially since it’s been a number of years since he’s had a chance to play Whistler Golf Club.
“I remember it being a ball-striker’s course, really tight with swirly winds. Any time you’re up in Whistler, that’s kind of the way it is,” he said.
“We’ve got so many good players in the PGA of BC that you can’t really think about winning. You’ve just gotta go out and do your thing, play the course and what it gives you and go from there.”
Stinson will indeed have to contend with a talented field at the event, one that includes a number of past champions and elite players capable of taking home the title. Among them will be three-time PGA of BC Champion Bryn Parry (Seymour Creek Golf Centre), who collected his titles in 2000, 2008 and 2015. Three-time Assistants’ Champion Oliver Tubb (University Golf Club) can never be overlooked, nor can current Order of Merit leader and 2003 PGA of BC Champion Philip Jonas (Philip Jonas Golf Academy). Andrew Rasmussen (Delta Golf Centre) broke through for his maiden victory at this year’s Assistants’ Championship and will look to factor in once more, while the field also includes perennial contenders like Brad Clapp (Cultus Lake Golf Club), Lindsay Bernakevitch (Victoria Golf Club) and Matthew Palsenbarg (The Tour LAB @ Northview) to name just a few.
“I think what you want from the biggest championship of the year is that the people playing the best rise to the top of the leaderboard, and I think the golf course will present that,” said Kristmanson. “You’re going to have to strike the ball well here. You’re going to have to keep the ball in the fairway to hit it close to pins here, and our greens have lots of slope in them.”
Any players who haven’t made a visit to Whistler Golf Club since the 2010 Championship will notice a few changes. The club made a switch from poa annua to bent-grass greens in 2012, made improvements to its practice areas and removed a number of trees in recent seasons to improve sightlines, daylight and conditioning the course itself. Kristmanson said those updated greens “love getting chopped down and rolled a bit” and expects that they’ll play quick but fair.
“We try not to make too many changes from what we show in general public play. We like to keep the course firm and fast and keep the rough down,” he added. “Just get the greens up to speed a little bit and that’s really all we need to do here.”
Kristmanson will be the lone Professional from the host club competing and is coming off his best finish ever in a PGA of BC event, a T2 result in this year’s Seniors’ Championship. He’ll hope to recapture some of that magic while welcoming his peers next week.
“It’s hard to play well at your own course,” he said. “I’m just going to go out and have a good time and enjoy it.”
Kristmanson also encouraged any competitors to contact him or Whistler Golf Club Sales Manager Ro Davies for any suggestions on how to get the most out of their Whistler experience while visiting the resort.
“It’s a pretty good place to hang out for a few days for sure,” said Kristmanson. “You can get your mind off golf a bit, get out and enjoy the mountains if you want to go up top, the mountain biking, lakes – there’s lot of things to do for the family or the players if they want to hang around.”
PGA of BC Championship Fast Facts:
- Stinson’s 9-under total of 134 last year set the new scoring records for the event, both in total strokes and score relative to par, since it switched to a 36-hole championship in 2013.
- In addition to Stinson, Morgan, Parry and Jonas, past champions in the field include Clapp (2012), Bernakevitch (2011), Mike Haraguchi (Capilano Golf & Country Club, 2005 winner), Eddward Boudreau (Gorge Vale Golf Club, 2006), and John Shin (The Tour LAB @ Northview, 2017).
- The field also includes nearly all current PGA of BC titleholders: reigning Women’s Champion Ashley Zibrik (Shaughnessy Golf & Country Club), Alec Hubert (Kamloops Golf & Country Club) of this year's winning Pro-Assistant Championship team, 2019 Tournament of Champions winner Palsenbarg, Assistants’ and Seniors’ Champions Rasmussen and Jonas, and 2018 Club Professional Champion Bernakevitch.
- Should Parry capture his fourth PGA of BC Championship crown next week, he will equal Scott Minni’s record four titles in the Association’s modern era. Minni won three straight from 1992-94, and added another in 1997. Parry was runner-up at the Championship in Whistler in 2010.
- In the six PGA of BC Championships held since it switched to a 36-hole tournament, a playoff has been needed to decide a winner three times. The most recent was Shin’s triumph at Capilano Golf & Country Club in 2017 over Brady Stead on the second extra hole.
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