Club Professional Championship Returns To Victoria Golf Club
- Category: Inside Golf
- Published: 2017-09-13
Final Event On PGA Of BC’s 2017 Competition Calendar Kicks Off On Monday, September 18.
RICHMOND, British Columbia (PGA of BC) — An exciting finish to the Association’s 2017 competition calendar is on tap for Victoria Golf Club next week when the iconic course welcomes the Cleveland Golf-Srixon Canada PGA of BC Club Professional Championship presented by Oakcreek Golf & Turf.
British Columbia’s oldest course was the site of last year’s PGA Championship of Canada, but will be hosting its first PGA of BC tournament since the Club Professional Championship was last held there in 2012.
With the club’s stunning seaside location, a magnificent history dating back to the 19th century and celebrated A.V. Macan design, dozens of Head, Executive and Head Teaching Professionals in the 36-hole championship’s field will be in for a treat on Monday and Tuesday.
“We’ve had a great summer here at the club and our course is in great shape,” said Victoria Golf Club Head Professional Lindsay Bernakevitch. “I think when we hosted the PGA of Canada last year, we proved that our course is definitely championship calibre. So I’m looking forward to having our fellow Professionals come here to see it.”
Among those coming is defending champion Dave Zibrik. Point Grey Golf & Country Club’s Head Professional dominated the 2016 event, setting tournament records for scoring (9-under-par and 137 total) and margin of victory (five strokes) at Quilchena Golf & Country Club.
Looking back on last year’s triumph, Zibrik said it was consistency of the tee that helped him leave the field in his wake.
“I drove it probably the best I’d ever driven it,” he said. “I had put a new driver in my bag about a month before and just hit it great and never really found myself in any sort of trouble. That always seems to be key to my game.”
Between a busy summer at his club and a new baby at home, Zibrik said there hasn’t been a ton of time for him to play golf this season, but a recent stretch of rounds could have him well prepared to hoist the Dick Munn Memorial Trophy for a second year in a row. The 33-year-old is coming off a third-place showing in last month’s PGA of BC Championship and spent early September leading a Point Grey members’ trip to Cabot Links, another of Canada’ renowned ocean-side facilities, albeit on the opposite coast.
“It’s always fun to play some tournament golf at this time of year and Victoria Golf Club is a pretty cool spot to be able to do it,” Zibrik said while still in Nova Scotia.
“I’ve been getting a bunch of reps in and we’ve been playing in just a ton of wind. It seems like when we get really windy conditions it takes me a couple of days to adjust, so hopefully I don’t forget it too quickly.”
Zibrik will be met in Victoria by a deep field that includes a number of Professionals who are newly eligible for this tournament, including Phil Jonas (Philip Jonas Golf Academy), Alec Hubert (Kamloops Golf & Country Club), Casey Johnson (Two Eagles Golf Course & Academy), Axle Riley (Ardmore Golf Course), Chris Wilson (Nanaimo Golf Club) and Winston Michell(Hirsch Creek Golf & Winter Club).
The intricacies of Victoria Golf Club could also give competitors who are more familiar with the layout a bit of an edge. That includes players like Bernakevitch, Executive Professional Scott Kolb, Professionals formerly affiliated with the club such as Michell and Jeremy Johnson (Fairmont Hot Springs Resort), and Andrew Smart (Nicklaus North Golf Course), who grew up playing at Victoria.
But knowing the ins and outs of the course can also have its pitfalls, said Bernakevitch.
“It’s one of those things that if you’re not playing well and you know the penalty for missing, sometimes that makes it scarier,” he said. “If you know the consequences, sometimes you play with a little too much fear.”
Ball placement will be crucial on the par-70 layout. Players finding themselves consistently above the hole aren’t likely to have much fun on Victoria’s tricky, sloped greens.
Bernakevitch won this tournament in 2015 at Richmond Country Club, but his title defence last year was derailed by a freak injury off the golf course between the first and second rounds.
“I hurt my hand to the point where I couldn’t grip the golf club, I ripped my nail off and was basically swinging it one-handed for the second day there,” he said. “So, I’d love to have a little better showing, one where I can actually hang onto the club.”
With a strong performance this week, the 37-year-old can also build on a unique distinction. In 2015, he became the first-ever individual to win the PGA of BC Tournament of Champions and Club Professional Championship in the same year. He’s halfway to repeating that feat this year, having captured another Tournament of Champions title back in May.
“I’d love to complete the double again, that would be great,” said Bernakevitch. “Let’s bring it on.”
Click here for full details on the Club Professional Championship, including the roster of registered competitors.
Club Professional Championship Fast Facts:
-Besides Zibrik and Bernakevitch, the other past champions expected to compete are Bill Kelly(2006, Glacier Greens Golf Club) and Rob Anderson (2007, Kelowna Golf & Country Club).
-Zibrik will try to become just the second player to win the Club Professional Championship back-to-back, and the third to win multiple times. Dan Swanson won consecutive titles in 2010 and 2011, while Dean Claggett (Two Eagles Golf Course & Academy, 2008 & 2012) is the event’s other two-time winner.
-Victoria Golf Club joins three other PGA of BC facilities – Vancouver Golf Club, Shaughnessy Golf & Country Club and Richmond Country Club – that have acted as the tournament venue twice.
-It has become the norm at this event recently to see one player distance themselves from the field at the top of the leaderboard. The average margin of victory over the past three Club Professional Championships has been four strokes.