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Beachlands Victoria Open gets $100,000 boost from province

PGA Tour Americas event goes June 20-23 at Uplands
Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture and Sport, Lana Popham, announces the Beachlands ­Victoria Open at Uplands Golf Club will receive $100,000. DARREN STONE, TIMES COLONIST

Provincial sport minister Lana Popham quipped she is a ­“terrible” golfer but covers that up by only entering scramble tournaments. But she is among the saviours of B.C.’s lone annual professional golf tournament as the province announced it is contributing $100,000 to hosting the 41st Beachlands Victoria Open, presented by the Times Colonist, from June 20-23 at Uplands.

“Sports events play an important role in the vibrancy of a community,” said Popham.

“Sport is a powerful motivator toward mental health and leads to physical activity which leads to positive outcomes. We know how much work goes into an event like this.”

The province will contribute next year, also, said Keith Dagg of the organizing committee, although the total for 2025 has yet to be determined.

The Victoria Open will offer a purse of $225,000 US this year with the winner taking home $40,000 U.S. It is part of the PGA Tour Americas, from which the top golfers advance to the Korn Ferry Tour, which is one step from the PGA Tour in the pro golf ladder.

PGA Tour Canada and PGA Tour Latinoamérica merged into a single entity to form PGA Tour Americas, beginning play this year. The new combined PGA Tour Americas features 16 tournaments, six in Latin America and 10 in North America, the latter beginning with the Beachlands Victoria Open. The 16 tournaments each offer purses of $225,000 US for a total of $3.6-million US.

“This Tour is a super important stepping stone on the pro ladder,” said player Jeevan Sihota, 20, of Victoria, who hopes to make his way up it.

“People don’t realize the guys on this tour are not far off from making it to the next levels [Korn Ferry and PGA Tour].”

Many have, as the former Canadian Tour became PGA Tour Canada in 2013, with 65 PGA Tour Canada alumni, of all nationalities, having advanced to play on the PGA Tour over the past decade with 26 PGA Tour victories between them. More than 300 PGA Tour Canada alumni have gone on to play on the Korn Ferry Tour since 2013 with more than 50 victories between them.

“We are proud of our legacy,” said Beachlands Victoria Open tournament president Bruce Hallsor.

“For four decades, this tournament has brought excellence to our community, and that inspires us all.”

PGA Tour Canada and PGA Tour Latinoamérica previously each offered five spots into the following season’s Korn Ferry Tour. Those berths will be amalgamated with the new PGA Tour Americas offering a combined 10 spots into the following year’s Korn Ferry Tour.

Sihota will be teeing up at Uplands after competing in the first six PGA Tour Americas events in Brazil, Ecuador, Colombia and two in Mexico.

“The best word to describe it [playing in Latin America] is that it’s different,” said Sihota.

“I am looking forward to the Canadian portion of the tour. Especially this Victoria tournament because I live 15 minutes away. This one is close to the heart,” added the Saanich resident, who will take part in ­Monday qualifying next week for the RBC Canadian Open at TPC Toronto.

“As a kid, I used to watch the pros playing here at Uplands and I would love to win here one day.”

During the current four-week break between the Latin American and North American portions of the Tour, six qualifying tournaments throughout North America will be conducted. One of them will be held at Crown Isle in Courtenay the week before the Beachlands ­Victoria Open.

The North America portion of the PGA Tour Americas goes from Victoria to the ATB Classic the following week at Northern Bear Golf Course near Edmonton. The Canadian portion of the Tour runs through Aug. 25 at the Explore New Brunswick Open, Quebec Open at Bromont, Commissionaires Ottawa Open, Windsor, Ont., Championship, Saskatchewan Open at Waskesiu Lake and Manitoba Open in ­Winnipeg.

The Tour heads to Brainerd, Minnesota, from Aug. 29-Sept. 1 for the CRMC Championship.

The top 120 players from the Tour’s Fortinet Cup season standings will earn spots into the season-concluding Fortinet Cup Championship at TPC Toronto. The top 10 players on the final Fortinet Cup season standings will earn 2025 Korn Ferry Tour memberships and will be one step away from the PGA Tour.

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