Ziemer's B.C. Golf Notes: Macdonald ties for third in Guadalajara; Lauren Kim heads to Augusta; Clara Ding earns first AJGA win; Carswell solid for SFU; Spots still available for U.S. Women’s Open qualifier

BC's Stuart Macdonald - Image Credit Bernard Brault/Golf Canada

By Brad Ziemer, British Columbia Golf

It was a great day to be a Purdue Boilermaker. That included the guys who bounce an orange ball around a basketball court and another who chases a little white ball around a golf course.

On the day the Purdue Boilermakers advanced to their first Final Four appearance at the NCAA basketball tourney in nearly half a century, one of the university’s alma mater was having himself a nice day on the links.

Vancouver’s Stuart Macdonald, who played his collegiate golf at Purdue, closed with a four-under 67 to finish tied for third at the PGA Tour Americas’ Totalplay Championship at Atlas Country Club in Guadalajara, Mexico.

Macdonald completed the tournament — the second event on the new PGA Tour Americas circuit — at 12-under par. That was just two shots behind winner Jose de Jesus Rodriguez of Mexico.

It was a nice bounce back for Macdonald, who has had an up and down start to his season. Back in late February, he Monday qualified his way into the PGA TOUR’s Mexico Open at Vidanta and earned $61,000 for his tie for 24th finish. But he failed to take advantage of getting two recent starts on the Korn Ferry Tour in South America. He missed both cuts and failed to improve his conditional status on that tour.

“It was a solid week,” Macdonald said of the Guadalajara tourney. “I had to give myself a little pep talk to get out of a mental funk I was in. After having a solid week at the PGA TOUR event and then missing the cut in both of my only Korn Ferry Tour starts was pretty devastating.

“But I was able to focus and turn the week around. I’m happy with the start to this season and very fired up about my Boilermakers!” It was a crowded leaderboard. Macdonald ended up in a seven-way tie for third. He earned $9,305 US.

The next PGA Tour Americas event, the 69th ECP Brazil Open, will be played April 18-21 in Rio de Janeiro.

ON TO AUGUSTA: This is a big week for Surrey’s Lauren Kim, who will be the lone Canadian competing in the Augusta National Women’s Amateur. The first two rounds of the 54-hole competition will be played Wednesday and Thursday (April 3 and 4) on the Island and Bluff nines at Champions Retreat Golf Club in Augusta, Ga. The entire 72-player field will then play a practice round on Friday at Augusta National Golf Club.

The top 30 players and ties after the first two rounds will play the final round Saturday at Augusta National. Kim, the reigning Canadian Women’s Amateur champion, is finishing her freshman year at the University of Texas. She competed with her team this past weekend at the PING/ASU Invitational in Phoenix, where she tied for 49th.

WELL RESTED: The Masters goes the following week at Augusta National and that is top of mind for British Columbians Nick Taylor and Adam Hadwin, who both have spots in the field. The two Abbotsford products should be well rested for the Masters as both will be arriving at Augusta National after having taken two weeks off. Neither played in last week’s Texas Children’s Houston Open and are both also skipping this week’s Valero Texas Open in San Antonio.

Roger Sloan of Merritt and Surrey’s Adam Svensson both played in Houston. Sloan tied for 45th at two-under par, 10 shots behind winner Stephan Jaeger, and Svensson tied for 57th at even-par. Sloan made $25,503, while Svensson took home $20,475. Svensson and Sloan are both playing this week in San Antonio.

DING DING DING: White Rock’s Clara Ding served notice last October she was a junior player to watch when she captured the NextGen Fall Series West Championship at the age of 12. Ding notched another significant win this past weekend when she captured her first American Junior Golf Association event, the Lake Charles Junior Championship in Louisiana. Ding closed the 54-hole event with a five-under 67 that included birdies on her final two holes to force a playoff.

She won that playoff with Maye Huang of Katy, Tex., on the second extra hole with another birdie. Both players had finished at three-under par. “I was four back coming into today, so I tried to play shot by shot and make as many putts as I could,” Ding said. “This win feels really good. It’s going to give me a lot of confidence going forward.”

CARSWELL CLUTCH: SFU redshirt freshman Denby Carswell closed with a six-under 66 and finished solo seventh at the Harry Stanislaus Invitational in Turlock, Calif. The Burnaby native completed the 54-hole event at six-under par, five shots behind winner Tyler Ashman of Chico State. The SFU men’s team tied for seventh in the 15-team event at three-over par.

HOWLETT HOT: Delta’s Russell Howlett is having a terrific spring season playing for Cal State Fullerton. Howlett has led his team to two straight victories and finished second overall at the recent GCU Invitational in Phoenix with a 54-hole score of nine-under par. Howlett transferred to Fullerton in the fall of 2022 after playing one season for the UBC Thunderbirds.

OPEN SEASON: Vancouver Golf Club is playing host to a 36-hole U.S. Women’s Open qualifier on April 15 and as of April 1st, 29 spots are still open to the 78-player field. This is the second straight year Vancouver Golf Club has been selected to play host to a U.S. Women’s Open qualifier. Last year, Surrey’s Lauren Kim and Australian Gabriela Ruffels played their way into the tournament. This year’s U.S, Women’s Open is being played May 30-June 2 at Lancaster Country Club in Pennsylvania.

CHIP SHOTS: Kimberley’s Jared du Toit has a spot in this week’s Club Car Championship at The Landings Golf & Athletic Club in Savannah, Ga., on the Korn Ferry Tour. Du Toit gained entry into the event after tying for eighth at the tour’s last tournament in Chile. . .Vernon’s Bruce Barker tied for 16th at the Asher Tour’s Soboba Springs Classic in California. Kelowna’s Justin Towill tied for 25th.