Ziemer's B.C. Golf Notes: Coach’s Cousin Leads Cascades To Season-Opening Win; Sloan Closer To PGA TOUR Return; Henry Lee Survives 1st Stage Of DP World Tour Q-school; UBC Men, Women Open With Big Wins; BC's Boydell Close At All-Abilities

Lucas O'Dell Led The UFV Cascades To A Win In Their Season Opener At Okanagan GC’s Bear Course

By Brad Ziemer, British Columbia Golf

One of the first things Connor O’Dell did when he was appointed the new golf coach at the University of the Fraser Valley was convince his cousin, Lucas O’Dell, to return home and play for the Cascades.

That decision paid early dividends when Lucas won the individual title and helped the Cascades capture the team event at the season-opening Battle of the Bear tourney in Kelowna.

Lucas, a Maple Ridge native, transferred to UFV after spending his freshman year at The Master’s University, a NAIA school in Santa Clara, Calif. He fired rounds of 67 and 68 at Okanagan Golf Club’s Bear course to win the individual competition by six shots over teammates Jackson Jacob and Eli Greene.

The Cascades won the men’s team title by 28 shots over the University of Victoria.

“It was kind of my first look, being the new coach this year,” said Connor O’Dell, who was a member of UFV’s national championship team in 2018. “It was a great start to the season.”

The Cascades have a deep men’s team, one that could challenge for another national title next spring. “I think we have an excellent team this year,” said Connor O’Dell. “We have two or three guys we will be losing at the end of this year, so I feel like this year is a kind of a big one for us.”

Coach O’Dell said he didn’t have to use anything more than some gentle persuasion to convince his cousin to return home to play for him. “He played one year in California and when I became coach he was inclined to come back and play here through some slight persuasion,” Connor O’Dell said. “Obviously, it was a great start for him.”

The Cascades are the host team for this fall’s Canada West Championship, which goes Oct. 1-3 at Ledgeview Golf Club in Abbotsford. And while Chilliwack Golf Club is UFV’s home course, the Cascades also play lots of practice rounds at Ledgeview.

“That will be our biggest event of the fall season,” Connor O’Dell said. “Hopefully there’s a little home-course advantage for us at Ledgeview.”

GETTING CLOSER: Merritt’s Roger Sloan is creeping closer to that magic 30 mark on the Korn Ferry Tour points list. Sloan tied for 22nd at the Simmons Bank Open for the Snedeker Foundation in College Grove, Tenn. That finish moved him up two spots to 33rd on the points list. With two playoff events remaining, Sloan needs to move inside the top 30 to earn 2024 PGA TOUR playing privileges.

T-BIRDS SOAR: The University of B.C.’s men’s and women’s golf teams got their new seasons off to impressive starts in southern Oregon. The T-Bird men swept the top three positions and won the Oregon Tech Invitational at the Running Y Ranch Resort in Klamath Falls by 37 shots. Mackenzie Bickell beat teammate Dylan MacDonald in a playoff to earn medallist honours. Both players finished the 54-hole event at nine-under par.

Freshman Manu Gandhi tied for third at four-under par. The UBC women also won in dominant fashion, beating the field by 41 shots. Una Chow led a top four sweep by UBC. Chow closed with a Cascade Conference record six-under 66 to finish the 36-hole event at three-under par, two shots clear of teammate Jessica Ng. Grace Bell and Elizabeth Labbe tied for third at three-over par to complete a top-four sweep by the T-Birds. UBC’s team score of two-over 578 set a Cascade Conference record.

CLOSE CALL: Chilliwack’s Dustin Boydell lost in a playoff to Chris Willis of Aurora, Ont., in the men’s gross stroke play division at the Canadian All Abilities Championship played at Kamloops Golf & Country Cub. Both players had finished the 36-hole event at two-over par. Craig Dowling of Vancouver was third at four-over par. Walter Vanderrijst of Victoria was third in the men’s net Stableford division, while Dowling finished fourth.

PASSING GRADE: Coquitlam’s Henry Lee has advanced to the second stage of the DP World Tour qualifying school. Lee tied for third at 15-under par at a first-stage site last week in Ebreichsdorf, Austria. Jared du Toit of Kimberley, Kaleb Gorbahn of Smithers and Stephen Thomas of Vancouver are scheduled to compete at a first stage site this week (Sept. 19-22) in Bogogno, Italy. The second stage of Q-school goes Nov. 2-5 at four different sites in Spain. The final stage will be played Nov. 10-15 in Tarragona, Spain.

REPEAT PERFORMANCE: Princeton University junior Victoria Liu of Vancouver shared medalist honours at her school’s Princeton Invitational. Liu, who also won the tournament last year, shot rounds of 72, 71 and 68 to finish in a three-way tie for the lead two-under par.

BIRDIE BOOKENDS: Surrey’s Lauren Kim began her collegiate golf career with a birdie on the first hole and finished the final round of the Annika Intercollegiate in Lake Elmo, Minn., with birdies on the 17th and 18th holes. Kim, who is just beginning her freshman year at the University of Texas, completed the 54-hole event at even-par and tied for 25th place.

She and her Longhorn teammates finished sixth overall. Surrey’s Rebecca Kim also made her collegiate debut last week. The Oregon State University freshman tied for 70th at 13-over par at the Branch Law Form/Dick McGuire Invitational in Albuqeurque, N.M.

TAKING A BREAK: It’s been unusual the past few years to see a PGA TOUR event played without some British Columbia content, but that’s what happened at last week’s Fortinet Championship in Napa, Calif. Surrey’s Adam Svensson and the Abbotsford duo of Nick Taylor and Adam Hadwin are taking some well-earned time off after a successful 2022-23 campaign. All three players finished inside the top 50 on the FedEx Cup points list and are exempt into all of this season’s lucrative ‘signature’ events.

Mackenzie Hughes of Hamilton, Taylor Pendrith of Richmond Hill, Ont., and Michael Gligic of Burlington, Ont., carried Canada’s colours at the Fortinet Championship, which was won by Sahith Theegala. Pendrith and Gligic both missed the cut, while Hughes tied for 52nd.
The next full-field PGA TOUR event is the Sanderson Farms Championship, which goes Oct. 5-8 in Jackson, Miss.

SENIOR SHOWING: Neil McLeod of Burnaby and Mike Kennedy of North Vancouver tied for third at the 58th PNGA Senior Men’s Championship played at Canterwood Golf & Country Club in Gig Harbor, Wash. McLeod and Kennedy completed the 54-hole event at nine-over par, four shots behind winner Brian Leff of Happy Valley, Ore.

Kelowna’s Norm Bradley finished second in the Super Senior Championship for players aged 65 and older. Bradley’s 12-over total was three shots behind that of winner Jim McNelis of Gig Harbor. Gary Heselton of Surrey and John Gallacher of Burnaby tied for fourth at 17-over.

ON SALE NOW: Tickets to the 2023 Golf Hall of Fame of B.C. induction ceremony are now on sale. That ceremony, to mark the inductions of Brain De Biasio, Craig Doell, Shelly Stouffer and Ron Willey, goes Oct. 23 at Marine Drive Golf Club in Vancouver. Tickets are $125 per person or $900 for a table of eight, and are available by contacting the B.C. Golf House Society at 604-222-4653.

CHIP SHOTS: Nanoose Bay’s Shelly Stouffer advanced to match play, but lost her Round of 64 match at the U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur Championship in Elverson, Pa. . .Cheam Mountain’s Kevin Stinson will defend his title at this week’s PGA of Canada Assistants Championship in Acheson, Alta. . .The PGA of BC Club Professional Championship goes this week at Point Grey Golf & Country Club in Vancouver. Mark Kitts of Shadow Ridge Golf Club in Kelowna is the defending champion.