Opportunities can arise in adversity.
Callum Davison of Duncan found it in the pandemic-shortened Mackenzie Tour-PGA Tour Canada Pro golf season 2021 and won his second tournament that year by finishing Saturday’s GolfBC championship at Gallagher’s Canyon in Kelowna with 14 under 270 and won two-stroke victory. The aspiring third-year islander and pro also won the Brudenell River Classic Tour stop on Prince Edward Island this month.
Americans were only recently allowed to take the tour across the border, so this year has delivered something of a revelation – previously unearthed Canadian gems that took this chance to shine. Davison has become a figurehead.
The season of eight tournaments ends with the Reliance Properties DCBank Victoria Open, which will be presented by the Times Colonist in Uplands next week. The formalities begin on Tuesday with the training round, followed by the Pro-Am on Wednesday and then the tournament runs from Thursday to Sunday.
At the Victoria Open, things continued as usual when it stopped in Uplands in the summer of 2019. Winner Paul Barjon and runner-up Doc Redman both went on the PGA Tour. There is nothing unusual about that. Future PGA players from Steve Stricker to Tony Finau to Mackenzie Hughes have survived the Victoria tournament.
The Mackenzie Tour-PGA Tour Canada leads to the Korn Ferry Tour, which in turn is the start of the PGA Tour. The Mackenzie Tour-PGA Tour Canada since 2013 has produced 56 PGA Tour players who have won 11 PGA tournaments and more than 300 players for the Korn Ferry Tour who have 47 wins on this gateway to the PGA level.
But of course nothing has happened since the last stop in Uplands.
The Mackenzie Tour-PGA Tour Canada 2020 has been reduced to four events due to the pandemic, two of them at Bear Mountain. The 2021 tour has created more of a semblance of normalcy and Davison isn’t the only Canadian player to take advantage of this and show up.
The amateur Noah Steele from Kingston, Ontario is second behind Davison in the 2021 season standings of the Mackenzie Tour-PGA Tour Canada. Royal Colwood member Max Sear, from the NCAA Div. 1 University of West Virginia Mountaineers, who tied the lead in the Prince Edward Island Open last month – the first of two Mackenzie Tour-PGA Tour Canada tournaments to be held in the province – before moving from the winner to second place Michael Blair was banned from Ancaster, Ontario, and NCAA Eastern Michigan University on the first playoff hole.
Up-and-coming 17-year-old amateur Jeevan Sihota of Victoria took advantage of his Golf Canada exception last week to finish sixth at the ATB Financial Classic tour stop in Calgary and was in his first two career tournaments against pro golfers in his first two career tournaments in Kelowna among the top 30. Steele and Sihota are members of Canadian national teams.
“We are delighted that a new breed of Canadian golfers took this opportunity to introduce themselves to fans across the country,” said Scott Pritchard, executive director of the Mackenzie Tour-PGA Tour Canada.
“That made it a valuable year.”
Not that it was easy.
“We had to pan and adjust quickly in some cases,” said Pritchard.
“One thing we have been insistent on is a solid health and safety plan. Some health dishes are more lenient than others. But we were very careful wherever our tournaments took place because we didn’t want to disrupt the season. And we achieved what we set out to do this year, to give Canadian golfers the opportunity to play on tour. “
Due to the pandemic, this is the last date the Victoria Open has been held since its inception in 1981. It will return to its regular window in the first week of June in 2022. The prize pool this week is $ 100,000. It will return to its normal level of $ 200,000 in the next year.
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