Two Island courses in spotlight for Canadian Men's Amateur Golf Championship

More than a century of history comes crashing into Duncan Meadows and Pheasant Glen in Qualicum Beach when they co-host host the 114th Canadian men’s amateur golf championship Aug. 4-9.

It is the third-oldest national amateur golf championship in the world.

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Past champions have included future pros such as Mackenzie Hughes, Nick Taylor, Albin Choi, Danny Mijovic, Richard Zokol, Rod Spittle, Jim Nelford and Moe Norman.

“We’re putting all our efforts into helping the next [PGA Tour player] Mackenzie Hughes take it to the next level,” said Bill Klein of Parksville, the 2018 tournament chairman for Golf Canada, during a news conference Monday at Duncan Meadows in North Duncan.

The field of 256 hopefuls will start out in the opening two rounds at both Duncan Meadows and Pheasant Glen, with the top-70, plus ties, advancing to the final two rounds at Duncan Meadows. The champion will earn an exemption into the PGA Tour’s 2019 RBC Canadian Open in Hamilton, Ont. The Canadian amateur is an open event. If the winner turns out to be an American, that golfer will earn an exemption into the 2019 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach.

The history of the Canadian amateur is rich and deep beyond just the future pros that have come through it. Doug Roxburgh, probably B.C.’s greatest amateur golfer, has won it four times. The 1904 Olympic gold-medallist, George Lyon, was eight-time Canadian amateur champion. Past winners such as Gary Cowan and Nick Weslock represented Canada in several amateur Commonwealth championships and Eisenhower tournaments.

Quebec will be looking to defend the Willingdon Cup, the historic team trophy which goes to the province whose three-member team tops the Canadian amateur leaderboard with the best combined score. Host B.C. will be looking to add to a recent run of success that includes titles in 2015, 2013 and 2010.

“The [Willingdon] Cup looks like the Stanley Cup, with all the dents it has on it,” quipped Klein.

Kevin Carrigan of Royal Colwood will be in the hunt for both the individual and Willingdon Cup titles after placing third in the recent B.C. amateur championship at Rivershore in Kamloops behind Chris Crisologo of Richmond and Caleb Gorbahn of Smithers. Those three will comprise the B.C. team for the 2018 Willingdon Cup competition.

The individual and Willingdon Cup contenders will be closing out in the final two rounds at a par-72 Duncan Meadows course that superintendent Dave Brummitt promises will be a “nice challenge” over 6,850 yards.

“It’s a placement, positional course, for sure,” said Brummitt, who has been at Duncan Meadows since 1996.

“The dry weather has been a factor, but the course will be firm and fast for the national championship. The greens are playing fast, but they will hold [approach] iron shots nicely.”

One key factor could be the wind.

“We’re on an Island in the Pacific,” added Brummitt.

“A plus-7 won it, because of the wind, when the Canadian women’s amateur championship was held here at Duncan Meadows in [2011].”

Duncan Meadows has reached out to not only Canada, but the world, say owners Ming and Grace Hui.

“Since 1998, we have wanted to host events, and are proud that players such as James Lepp, Nick Taylor and Paula Creamer [who shot a women’s course-record 67 in winning the 2002 Future Links championship at Duncan Meadows] have played our course,” said Ming Hui, who with Grace, rescued the course from bankruptcy in 1996.

That’s not to mention Canada’s current crop of top men’s amateur golfers headed the Huis’ way next month.

cdheensaw@timescolonist.com

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