Oregon golfers reunite at Bayview Place Island Savings Open

Why wait 10 or 25 years for a reunion when you can have one right now?

That is the case for former Oregon Ducks teammates Eugene Wong, Andrew Vijarro and Daniel Miernicki.

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The trio will be reunited at PGA Tour Canada’s Bayview Place Island Savings Open presented by the Times Colonist this week at Uplands Golf Club. There will be more than a few stories told during the course of the event.

“We had two really good chances to win a national championship,” said Miernicki, recalling his NCAA days as a Duck. “Unfortunately, we didn’t get it done. We lost to Texas, who eventually won [in their senior year], and Oklahoma State [the year previous], which was a loaded team.

“But we had a great team, a great four years and I always root for those guys. They will always be brothers to me,” added Miernicki, who won the PGA Tour Canada qualifying school in California earlier this year to earn his playing card up north.

Miernicki opted to play the PGA Tour Latinoamerica last season, while Wong and Vijarro played across Canada. Vijarro lost his card following the season and is now a conditional player who Monday qualified at Gorge Vale Golf Club with a 3-under 69.

“Hopefully, I can get back on here full time and all three of us can get reunited again,” said Vijarro, who played a practice round with Miernicki on Tuesday. “Eugene and I roomed together a lot throughout those years. There were some great performances in there.”

Wong was also looking forward to the reunion.

“I’m proud that he made it through,” he said of Vijarro. “We all came in together at the same time at Oregon. We had lots of success, going to nationals three out of four times and twice making semifinals. There are a lot of great memories.”

Among them was his personal 1-up match play win over Texas’s Jordan Spieth in that NCAA semifinal matchup. Oregon lost the team event 3-2.

Spieth has obviously gone on to bigger and better outcomes on the PGA, but Wong, of North Vancouver, has collected numerous accolades, including twice being named an All-American; winning the 2010 Jack Nicklaus Award as the nation’s top player; and he was Pac-10 Player of the Year in 2010 and 2012.

Last week Wong — who won twice on the Canadian tour in 2012 — finished second at the PC Financial Open at Point Grey, where Miernicki missed the cut by a stroke.

“I didn’t get it done, but I’ll take the positives out of it and hopefully I can continue that momentum into this week,” said Wong, who finished tied for 42nd in Victoria last year.

“I was right there after two rounds last year, faltered in the third and got it back again. I know the course well and hopefully I can improve on that,” he said of this year’s event, which begins Thursday.

Vijarro missed the cut here last year.

“It will be fun to see them. Obviously, I saw Eugene last week and he played great. I was hoping he could have won, but he’s a great player who will have a good year,” said Miernicki. “Andrew Monday qualified. I’ve seen him a bit and was happy he got in.”

Now the three Amigos are back together.

“I talked to Eugene and he spoke highly of it,” Miernicki said of joining PGA Tour Canada. “This is a great opportunity.”

One they will take together this week, along with another Oregon alumnus, seven-year Canadian tour veteran John Ellis.

And as Wong put it: “So, Go Ducks.”

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