Jeevan Sihota, a 17-year-old amateur, will run with the pros in the final three events of the Mackenzie Tour-PGA Tour Canada season. He can’t collect a paycheque, which would negate his university U.S. NCAA Division 1 eligibility, but the experience will prove invaluable.
It begins this week with the ATB Financial Classic in Calgary, followed by the GolfBC Championship at Gallagher’s Canyon in Kelowna from Sept. 23 to 26 and capped by the hometown Reliance Properties DC Bank Victoria Open presented by the Times Colonist from Sept. 30 to Oct. 3 at Uplands.
Sihota won his way into the Victoria pro tournament by winning an Island qualifying tournament last week at Gorge Vale. He got into the Calgary and Kelowna tournaments on Golf Canada exemptions.
“I don’t know what to expect, but I’m really excited to get the opportunity,” said Sihota, who has been part of the Golf Canada Under-18 national team program based on Bear Mountain.
The Gorge Vale and Olympic View golfer is completing his Grade 12 online. The NCAA Div. 1 offers are piling up, but Sihota said he has yet to decide. He won the Island qualifier for the Reliance Properties DC Bank Victoria Open by shooting a 68 at Gorge Vale, four clear of runner-up Cody White.
“My hitting has been very solid and I’ve gained a lot of speed,” said Sihota, who has blasted a personal best of 335 yards off the tee. So much so that it even gained notice last year from the Golf Channel, which labelled his hit over the lake on the 18th hole at TPC Sawgrass in the 2020 AJGA Junior Players Championship as the “Sihota Line.”
“Bryson DeChambeau’s thought of driving it over the lake and into the ninth fairway while playing No. 18 this week at TPC Sawgrass isn’t unprecedented,” GolfChannel.com associate editor Brentley Romine wrote in March, during his coverage of The Players Championship. “The aggressive line is already known as ‘the Sihota Line.’ Jeevan Sihota, junior golf’s version of DeChambeau with 190-plus mph of ball speed, did go that route all three days at last summer’s AJGA Junior Players.”
Of his first three career tournaments playing against pros, Sihota said the Victoria stop will be most special because it’s in his hometown. “I’m just going to treat it like another golf tournament,” he said.
The top five in the Island qualifier advanced to play with the pros at Uplands with third-place Eric Wang (73) and fourth finishers Nate Ollis and Lachlan Tisma (both 74) joining Sihota and White.